Families across the UK are breathing a sigh of relief. July means another education milestone has been successfully navigated. Senior school entry exams are done and dusted for another year and places for September are confirmed. On the flip-side, the summer holiday now looms with the challenge of settling into a new school environment at the end.
Here are 10 tips to prepare your child over the summer, so they are ready to hit the ground running in the larger, more independent, hectic environment at senior school.
Keep their brain ticking over with reading books from the local library, visits to art galleries and museums, doing puzzles, playing scrabble, subscribing to online maths programmes etc.
Review joining information now. Return forms in plenty of time. There may be first-come-first-served timetabling choices to make, such as which extra language or musical instrument to take up, or booking in a mouthguard fitting.
Run through the pupil handbook together to establish daily routine and rules. Getting into trouble in the first few weeks will be a set-back in the settling in process.
Look over the extra-curricular programme, discussing which have most appeal. Planning school runs and other family commitments will be easier if you have an idea of when school commitments might be.
Request email and phone numbers are circulated amongst form or house groups. Make contact with other families to arrange joint activities over the summer.
Starting a new school alongside familiar faces is far less daunting.
Gradually increase independence, for example catching the bus to the local shopping centre to meet friends for a couple of hours.
Be firm on time-keeping and give advice about keeping themselves and valuables safe. Encourage your child to act responsibly and solve problems themselves.
If boarding for the first time, practise housekeeping skills such as keeping a tidy bedroom, keeping track of possessions, changing a duvet cover and putting clothes into the laundry daily.
Buy new uniform as soon as is practical, bearing in mind summer growth spurts. Leaving this until the last week of the holiday means items are more likely to be out of stock and the shops will be insanely busy with those doing everything at the last-minute. Name everything clearly and securely, including techy gadgets, chargers, trainers and in particular sports kit, which often tends to disappear.
If starting a new sport such as lacrosse, hockey or rugby, book a pre-season summer course to get to grips with some of the skills before term starts. This will boost confidence and give them a head-start in September.