Are Year 6 Secondary School Ready?

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Hollie Anderton

Hollie is currently an English teacher and Head of Year in North Wales with a degree in Theatre. She trained in Bath Spa University to gain her PGCE and is currently a Network Leader for WomenEd Wales Hollie is the author of the Teacher Toolkit...
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Are your Year 6 ready to move up?

This blog was going to be to give advice on how to prepare your children for leaving primary school but the honest truth is that they are ready, they always have been. It might not look as natural to some children as it does to others but they are ready in their own way.

I want to break free

These immortal words of Queen’s resonate at this time of year.

This half term I was hard at work typing up this years reports.

I am working through General Comments first, ensuring that they don’t become generic and unfounded when my mind drifts back to September when I met my incredibly talented, if not slightly dysfunctional, new family.

Their eager, yet not entirely sure, eyes scanning the playground and their inner monologue spilling the thought:

“Yep, I am definitely one of the biggest kids here!”

It’s almost like they don’t believe they’re ever going to be those big kids whose bags don’t drown them, who might be trusted to walk to school on their own, and be given jobs to help the running of the school.

Push And Pull Transitions

It comes with it’s highlights and downfalls, this insecurity.

They will push the boundaries in Year 6, knowing that they will not be returning next year and for some children, this boundary pushing is a positive thing. I had a relatively shy Year 6 join Drama this year and saw it all the way through. For some, it is a pushing of the boundaries in a more negative light:

“How much can I do wrong before I really step over the line?”

Now, I don’t mind that too much – at the end of the day, I would rather them do it with me rather than in secondary school where they don’t have the support network that they have had all the way through primary school.

Yes, thinking back to September has just made me realise how much a year can do to a person. My little ones, my 30 children, are now ready to go:

  • They look as though they’re already in secondary school.
  • They act as though they’re already in secondary school.
  • They smell as though they’re already in secondary school!

And the way that I find myself looking at them now is very different. I look at them and I fill with pride. They’re 12 years younger than me yet the gap feels monumentally more than that.

But, every now and then, my children will wobble and falter. And I’m there for that. I’m there to reinstate their newfound confidence, to build them up to how they felt before they saw the colossus that was their secondary school.

Serve And Protect

It’s natural for me to feel like I want to protect my children. In primary school, we try our best not to wrap our children in cotton wool but they seem to do a pretty good job of making it impossible to avoid.

We are with them for 30 hours a week at a minimum. The same kids, day in and day out – it’s the reason that I got into primary teaching! But they are ready.

The real issue for me is how am I meant to prepare to lose 30 children who I have had the company of for the past two years? You grow attached to people, to places, to memories and then apparently in the blink of an eye, you’re only left with the latter.

Ready For Anything?

I know that my children will go on to achieve great things, and I have every faith in their secondary school teachers to help them on their journey through life.

I will leave with a message for those secondary school teachers:

They are capable of far more than you think, don’t think you’re starting with a blank canvas – you’ll be doing them an injustice. Love them, nurture them and watch them grow as I have done because the memories that you’re left with will far exceed the short time that you’ll have with them.

Where does Queen come in?

“I Want to Break Free” is an expression of wanting more, of wanting to spread your wings.

Teachers and pupils alike, let’s be more.

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