Starting secondary school
Members of the ISPCC’s Children’s Advisory Committee, Cork, share their tips.

A mix of emotions

Before starting secondary school, it’s normal to experience different feelings. You feel excited, or you might be nervous, have negative feelings, feel scared, anxious or even terrified. 

New adventure

It can help to approach the move into secondary school in a positive way if you can. Starting secondary school is an exciting new adventure and an opportunity to learn lots along the way. 

Is there an older sibling, a cousin or a friend who can support you, or show you around? Or perhaps even a teacher you trust? Childline is always here to listen to you too. 

You might find that the best thing to do is ‘jump in at the deep end’ and embrace the change.

Remember, everyone is in the same position as you – you might even find you bond over that.

Top tips

  • Try not to be afraid to introduce yourself to new people.
  • If there's anything you're unsure about, you can always ask questions.
  • It can be easy to get lost in a new school or to forget where you are supposed to be going. Ask for directions if you need them - everyone was in your shoes at one point. 
  • It can be helpful to label your things like your jacket, your jumper, etc, so they don't go missing. 
  • Remember, you don't have to know everything. School is for learning!

What our Children's Advisory Committee members said:

“I fell in the door on my first day of first year because my bag was so big – but I was ok and now I can laugh about it.”

“In my first few weeks of first year I sat through the wrong class for the entire hour.”

“In first year I got my class mixed up with a 5th year class and I sat there until I realized… I felt very embarrassed then having to get up and leave.”

“I just kept forgetting everyone’s name on the first day because you meet so many people – but then you get to know them and the first day is a distant memory.”

Talking Makes Us Stronger

  • When experiencing a change like moving into secondary school, it can always be helpful to talk about how you are feeling.
  • Is there a trusted adult you can talk with – perhaps a parent, a sibling, an aunt or uncle, a coach or something else?
  • Childline is always here to listen to you and support you. You can contact Childline for free at any time by calling, chatting online or texting. 

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