At a glance
How to provide practical and learning support for your child at secondary school.
The beginning and end of the school day
The beginning of the school day can be a rush for everyone. Your child will need to be far more organized at secondary school than he or she was at primary school. Establishing a routine in the morning and evening will help the day start smoothly and with minimum stress.
Tips for a positive start to the school day:
- encourage your child to pack their school bag and lay out their uniform before going to bed each evening
- try to make sure your child eats breakfast - this provides essential energy and will help him or her perform better at school
- allow plenty of time for your child to get to school - build extra time into your morning routine so that if there are transport or other problems he or she won’t be late for registration
- check each evening for letters home or permission forms or homework diaries to sign as this will help avoid early morning panic and items being forgotten
Helping with homework
Your child will need to work more independently at secondary school than at primary school. But your interest and input will still be important and will help your child to do well.
Look for opportunities to talk to your child about schoolwork - children enjoy sharing what they are learning. Try to find topics you’re both interested in so it's more of a conversation than an interrogation.
Ask your child if there's anything you can do to help with homework. Discuss the organisation of the work. If your child has several assignments due in on the same day, suggest they space the work out rather than leave it all until the night before.
The following is a rough guide to how long your child should be spending on homework at secondary school:
|Years 7 and 8||Years 7 and 8 - 45 to 90 minutes a day|
|Year 9||Year 9 - 60 to 120 minutes a day|
|Years 10 and 11||Years 10 and 11 - 90 to 150 minutes a day|
Other ways to support your child's learning
You may not be reading with your child as you did at primary school but you can still support good reading habits. Talk to your child about the books you're both reading. Ask what books your child would like for birthday and Christmas presents. Go to the library together - if your child is stuck for a new author, ask the librarian for guidance or look online at book reviews.
Keeping up-to-date with the news helps with schoolwork. Try to encourage your child to read a newspaper at least once or twice a week. Find news stories that connect to lesson topics. If your child is researching a subject, suggest the online archives of a good newspaper or the BBC website.
If you’re planning a day out, visit a museum or gallery that will tie in with work your child is doing in subjects such as Art, English, History, Geography or Science - this can be a fun way to add depth and interest to your child's learning.