I seem to have spent a lot of time talking to children about going back to school this week. My daughter, 9, has been sorting out her school uniform. My younger niece is starting junior school, my older niece is going to start secondary. Also, a few of my readers have been emailing about what they are looking forward to. And not.
One of the things that I think schools do well now is they start the transition process before the summer holidays. In June and July I worked with several schools on transition days, where year sixes
went to their new high school for days of activities and overcoming worries and preconceptions.
I even worked with some secondary schools during the summer, where they hosted large groups of year sixes in their school without all the older children around. Summer School. My older niece did this and is very much looking forward to high school now.
Even within junior and primary schools children spend a day or a week with their teacher for the next year. My daughter did this. So did my younger niece. As a result they are both looking forward to next year too.
Changing schools and years is traumatic for children. And I am sure it is for teachers too. I tried to capture this is my new book, Secret FC.
Secret FC is about a primary school with a new headmaster for the school year. But Mr Edwards does not enamour himself with the children. He bans football. His argument is that, with only one small playground for children aged 5 to 11, football is too dangerous a game to play. As a result the children find a place to play football secretly. And it goes well, until Mr Edwards discovers their furtive footballing.
I was trying to write about how things will always change in a new school year and that it is important for people to talk about that change to each other. And that that is the best way of making sure change makes things even better.