10 Differences between Primary and Secondary School

10 differences between primary and secondary school

I’m sure we all have memories of our time at secondary school, but it’s probably more of our dodgy haircuts or break-time antics than the practical things. If you’re one of the many parents preparing for your child to make the move to ‘big school’ then you may want to take a look at our list of 10 differences that parents and teachers have identified between primary and secondary.

  1. For most, the secondary-school day will be longer. Earlier start times and later finishes, along with longer journeys and extra-curricular activities, mean fuller days.


  1. Children will go from being the oldest in the school to the youngest. However, most high schools have a programme in place whereby older pupils are assigned to help with the transition.


  1. While the majority of primary schools have a uniform, there may be stricter rules at secondary and extra items for things like PE kits.


  1. A timetable will need to be followed and all the correct books and equipment brought to each lesson. A list should be available before the start of term.


  1. Keeping and organising a homework diary will be part of the more independent learning that secondary schools develop.


  1. There will be more pupils and more than likely larger class sizes. For some subjects children may be split into groups according to ability, although this might not happen straight away.


  1. Children will be assigned a form tutor, whom they will probably see every day for things like registration, but they will be taught by many teachers. This might mean parents don’t get to know all their child’s teachers well, though there are often opportunities to meet them, whether at parents’ evenings or other events.


  1. Along the same lines, you will probably have known most of their primary-school friends quite well – maybe even their entire class – but it’s normal not to meet some of the high-school classmates they talk about for years.


  1. While secondaries have adopted a more healthy-eating approach, children’s lunch-time choices generally aren’t monitored as parents may have been used to at primary.


  1. One word, money. Prepare to be pestered for change for extra snacks etc., although it’s worth noting that lots of secondary schools now operate a cashless system where pre-loaded cards are used.

It may seem a bit daunting (and that’s just for the parents), but in writing this blog I came across a lot of comments from students who stressed that it wouldn’t be long before newbies would get into the swing of things and know the place like the back of their hand.

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