How to get the most of out of secondary school taster days

We’re getting towards the end of the 2021/22 academic year, and children in Year 6 will soon be embarking on their next adventure – secondary school! Before the end of the school year, if you have children in Year 6, they’ll be invited to a taster or induction day to their chosen secondary school. Here’s our guide to what to expect and how to prepare them ahead of the next academic year.

Secondary school can be quite different to primary school – your kids are going from being the oldest and biggest in school to being the youngest and likely the smallest. They’ll also be meeting new children from other primary schools and it’s a time when friendship groups will inevitably change.

Induction days are there to help children prepare for all the changes and different routines secondary school brings and to get them look forward to it too rather than finding it overwhelming.


What to expect on induction day


All schools are different, but they’ll probably start off with an assembly for new starters. Your kids will get to meet their new classmates and get a taster of the new lessons they’ll be studying in the next school year. There might also be team-building activities such as a quiz, some academic activity such as writing or maths, and some physical activity like a PE lesson.

They’ll also get a tour of the school to find out where all their lessons will take place, and where such things as toilets, changing rooms, the cafeteria and teachers’ offices are.

They’ll meet their new form teacher, head teacher, head of year and possibly some subject teachers. Some older students will probably take part in the school tours and answer questions that the younger questions might have about secondary school experience that they might not want to ask an adult.


What should they wear and bring?

Children will normally be asked to wear their current primary school uniform for the induction day. They also might be asked to bring PE kit if they take part in some physical activity. A notepad and pen will also be helpful for children wanting to take down any notes or for any quizzes or writing activities.


Relieving anxiety

Schools put a lot of effort into making induction days enjoyable for their new pupils to help to ease children’s nerves about starting secondary school.

If they’re feeling nervous about it, reassure them that it’s most likely they’ll be with some of their friends from their current class but it’s really nice to meet other children from other schools who they might make best of friends with in the future.

If you feel your child does need extra support, you can always give the new school a call and ask to speak to their head of year or form teacher about their concerns. Schools will be very accommodating to children who have some extra needs.


What to do in between induction and starting secondary school

There’s quite a big gap between taster days and starting secondary school in September, so it’s important to keep talking to your child about it.

After the taster day, plan a day to go shopping together to get their new school uniform, and plan how they want to get to school in autumn. Will they want to take the bus, walk or will you be dropping them off? Try doing a dry run of the route so they’re not so nervous when it comes to the day.

If you’ve already got older children at secondary school, have a chat with them to make sure they keep an eye out for their younger siblings.

If you’re looking for some extra info, BBC Bitesize has some great advice for parents and kids on embarking on their secondary school adventure.