High school transition days: the good, the bad and the ugly!

The high school transition days are pretty much all over now so it’s time for me to share some thoughts on the whole process. We do our best to prepare our kids for these days and there’s a few common experiences that they all share. Here’s my somewhat tongue in cheek summary of what all 11-year-olds should know!

High school transition

What you need to know about high school transition days


  1. They are going to feel small. Nothing prepares kids for the physical difference between high school kids and primary school kids. Think about how you felt when you last started a new job and then imagine you were in an office full of giants. That’s how it feels for a Year 7 kid. Those who, like my daughter, have older siblings will be used to getting shoulder barged in the corridor and having food thrown at them (yes, my house is that bad!) Other kids may not. This can come as a bit of a shock.
  2. The other kids don’t look like them. It’s not just the size that is astonishing. The kids in Year 10 and beyond have adult bodies. They are not just bigger versions of Year 7s, they are like a different species. As puberty is located right in the middle of the high school years, kids come out looking very different to how they went in!
  3. Being separated from their friends is not a bad thing. This can seem like an utter catastrophe to an 11-year-old but it truly is not. Both my elder daughters were separated from primary school friends and is was a wholly positive thing. They mixed with a whole range of other children that they may not have even spoken to if they had been huddled with their familiar group.
  4. The school puts on a good show. We all know that high schools do their best to make the new kids feel welcome and impress them. The best equipment is brought out and the most engaging activities are organised. Everyone smiles and is on their best behaviour. Think of it as the same as your house when your great aunt comes to stay. It scrubs up pretty well but you know damn well that it’s not always like that!
  5. They won’t know where they are going. High schools are, on the whole, bigger than primary schools and this is one of the things that scares the life out of kids. Getting lost is a real concern. I was pleasantly surprised to see that my daughter’s new school now provide a map so at least the kids have something to look at over the holidays! It’s amazing how quickly they become familiar with the layout and will soon be showing others around.

High school transition days are a part of growing up. They’ll survive them the same as everything else!

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  14 comments for “High school transition days: the good, the bad and the ugly!

  1. July 16, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    I remember when my youngest son went on a taster day to his new school, I worried that he may be concerned about getting lost, instead when he came home and I asked how it went, great, he told me, I am a babe magnetic there!
    Karen, the next best thing to mummy recently posted…Sharing child care between a child minder and familyMy Profile

  2. July 18, 2017 at 8:59 am

    So true about the friends! My son was the only kid from his primary school to go to his secondary school and most of the others were in the same boat. He very quickly made lots of good friends. My daughter has only one child from her school going to the new school, and she is in a different class. She can’t wait to make new friends! And she loved her transition day! 🙂
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  3. July 18, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    Another thing is that although you’ll promise faithfully to keep in touch with your friends from primary who go elsewhere, you don’t unless you see them at something like Guides or Church. Secondary is so full on, there simply isn’t time.
    Tubbs recently posted…Travelling With KidsMy Profile

  4. July 18, 2017 at 7:06 pm

    Totally agree with the concept of separating them from existing friends. They can always meet up at lunchtime, if at the same school, but it does make them make new friends more easily. Older siblings really help too. I’ve one more child left to go through the process. It will be us next year! #TweensTeensBeyond
    Cheryl | TimeToCraft recently posted…When a girl designs her own dressMy Profile

  5. July 18, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    I swear that when they return home after that first day, they’re a little bit shorter! It’s easier in New Zealand as we have the intermediate school, so they don’t actually go until they are 14.
    Great points here to remember! Thanks Sharon x

  6. July 19, 2017 at 9:27 am

    I think the transition to senior school is one of the biggest steps for children through their school life. You’re so right about the children not looking like children – those just a couple of years older than them look like adults. It’s a scary time for sure. I love your closing line – they will survive them – tough journey some times but a huge part of obtaining life skills #TweensTeensBeyond
    justsayingmum recently posted…Have I Been Enough?My Profile

  7. Dani
    July 19, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    So true! as my son starts college it’s the same sorts of changes again. This is a great blog post for parents with kids moving up to the next school!

  8. July 20, 2017 at 7:47 am

    Mark and I were laughing about the transition day as we had nothing of the sort. We trucked up on our first day, got herded into a hall and distributed into classes from there! So very different to now. All positive from our end thus far, all friends separated in the main. Fresh air is always good. Definitely not a true picture of how each day will evolve going forward. But it was exciting for them. And off we go Sharon!! #tweensteensbeyond
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  9. July 20, 2017 at 9:18 am

    We were very fortunate as our secondary school is next door to the primary school. Both my teens were very sporty, so were constantly going over to the secondary to take part in sports competitions and events. Going over there on taster days didn’t feel strange for them at all. #TweensTeensBeyond
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  10. July 20, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    The size of the kids is the most startling thing to me — especially the boys! My 14yo is in the middle of the pack as an entering freshman. He’s there with boys who still look as though they are 10 and boys who are full-grown men with beards!


  11. July 20, 2017 at 8:13 pm

    When my youngest moved from ‘little’ school to ‘big’, the preparation days were brilliant. There were after-school clubs once a week for a month, then three days in the new school. I just wish she could have started THEN, when she’d got to know new friends, and her way around school, rather than six weeks later when they were half-forgotten #tweensteensbeyond
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  12. July 21, 2017 at 6:20 am

    Last year my twins made the transition from Primary to Secondary school and becoming the youngest of the lot (after being the oldest) was quite a shock to them. They hated the way the older kids talked. High school kids have a whole new vocabulary and the first few days the twins were ever so reluctant to get on that bus. Of course now they’re just one of the gang.
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  13. July 24, 2017 at 9:02 am

    Aawww this made me all nostalgic!!! It’s such a scary day (for us too) but transition day always was a positive day for my lot!! #tweensteensbeyond
    daydreams of a mum recently posted…When the ice queen becomes the cry baby…My Profile

  14. July 24, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    It is horrid going down to the bottom of the pile again and being the youngest at the school but it is not for long. My daughter always comes back now saying how cute the Year 7’s are like she can’t remember having been one herself! It is a new and refreshing journey and I think it is great if they are removed from their old friends so they can embrace everything with an open mind. Here’s looking forward to September. #TweensTeensBeyond
    Jo (MotherofTeenagers) recently posted…The Value Of A Shared Interest Between Parent & ChildMy Profile

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