Celebrity tips for starting secondary school

This film was recorded before the Covid-19 pandemic

Starting secondary school this year? Celebs from the world of music, TV and sport give their advice on how to prepare for the move.

Talk to new people

For legendary guitarist and music producer Nile Rodgers, talking to new people is something that always came naturally.

‘I think the greatest gift I had was the gift of gab – I loved to talk to new people.’

For Nile, good times come from starting a conversation with people you don’t know.

‘It’s nice to just reach out to people… you’ll probably wind up having a great time.’

Strictly Come Dancing star Oti Mabuse agrees with Nile, and she believes it helps make friends for life.

‘Make as many friends as you can, because those are the friends who are going to stay with you for the rest of your life.’

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself

‘Don’t stress, just do your best’ says singer-songwriter and television presenter Olly Murs.

The X Factor finalist reckons if you are finding everything a bit tough then think about yourself first.

‘Don’t worry about anyone else but yourself. Just concentrate on you and have a great time at school’.

Radio 2 DJ and presenter Sara Cox, who has three children, knows it can be tough. But, it’s worth remembering that teachers are there to help.

‘Just relax, the teachers will go so easy on you for the first couple of weeks until you find your feet.’

Join a sports team / extra-curricular club

Do you have a sporty streak or a hobby you’re obsessed with? Maybe there’s something you’ve always wanted to try, but never had the opportunity to in primary school.

‘Try and do as much as you can and try out doing different sports or different clubs and chat to everybody’.

That’s the advice from DJ Nick Grimshaw.

Teams and clubs are also a great way of meeting new people and making friends. European champion sprinter Dina Asher-Smith, who was part of her school’s running club says:

‘Just go out there and join sports clubs and be as social as possible, because with a lot of the fear and anticipation of school you’re thinking ‘how am I going to make new friends, how am I going to adapt to the new environment?’’

And Jamal Edwards, who created the SBTV YouTube channel believes that following what you love will help you make the best kind of friends.

‘Focus on your passion and your real friends will always be there at the end.’

Have a plan

It helps to be organised for lots of things in life, and starting secondary school is just the same.

BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker has a daughter who is about to make the move, and he believes being prepared will really help.

‘If there is something particular that you’re concerned about, then plan it, think it through’.

‘If you’re worried about how you’re going to get to school… then practise the trip.’

Don’t panic!

There might be lots to think about with starting secondary school, and at times it can seem a bit overwhelming, so just remember:

‘Do not worry! Because it’s not going to be half as challenging, half as worrying, half as difficult as you think right now’.

That’s what Mr Burton, star of Channel 4’s Educating Yorkshire says. And he should know – he’s a head teacher now!

‘If you’re not happy about something in particular at school, just open your mouth and tell people… people want to make it better, people want to make those troubles and worries go away.’

And always remember that you’re in the same position as everyone else starting high school.

Kate Silverton, who is a BBC News presenter, says:

‘Everybody is as nervous as you are… they might not look like it, but they definitely are.’

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