BBC Bitesize launches new campaign to support pupils preparing for secondary school

BBC Bitesize, working with the charity YoungMinds, has announced its new campaign Starting Secondary School. The campaign is aimed at 10 to 12 year olds, parents and teachers and designed to help support the critical step of beginning secondary school. Packed with videos, interactive games, and tips and advice, Starting Secondary School will help children across the UK during their last term in primary school and through their critical first weeks at secondary school.

In September 2019, 752,528 children will move up to secondary school across the UK. Moving from primary to secondary school is an exciting time for many young people, but it can also be a daunting prospect. Research shows that, for some young people, it can negatively affect their social, emotional and academic outcomes leading to less engagement, lower attainment, reduced confidence, increased anxiety, loneliness and behaviour issues.

Helen Foulkes, Senior Head of Content Production, BBC Education said “Beginning secondary school is a huge milestone for children and research repeatedly shows that if it goes badly there can be long term consequences. The BBC is working in partnership with YoungMinds to help support children directly, but also provide advice for parents and resources for teachers. We hope this will further support the schools and charities working hard to ease transition at such an important time in children’s lives.”

Starting Secondary School has lots of content hosted on the ever-popular BBC Bitesize including:

· Peer-to-peer advice from the stars of CBBC series Our School who have first-hand experience of making the move to secondary school

· Practical tips for parents on how to prepare their child for secondary school

· Bespoke classroom clips and resources for teachers on BBC Teach, to help start discussions around transition, produced in partnership with YoungMinds

More content will be added each week at www.bbc.com/startingsecondaryschool

Deirdre Kehoe, Director of Training and Services, YoungMinds said “Starting secondary school can be a daunting and stressful experience for children, and, in some cases, it can coincide with the emergence of underlying mental health problems. That’s why we’re delighted to be working with BBC Education to make sure that children, parents and teachers are as well prepared as possible to cope with the change. We hope that as many teachers as possible will use our Find Your Feet lesson plans and resources, as a way of helping children to face their worries, talk about how they feel and gain the skills to manage these challenges.”

Mr Burton, Headteacher, and star of Channel 4’s Educating Yorkshire is supporting Starting Secondary School and said: “Children’s biggest fears when they start school can range from losing contact with their old friends, to coping with the extra demands of daily homework, to getting lost in a much bigger building. Starting Secondary School addresses these issues, and others, in the rich variety of content that will appeal to young people. These are important and useful resources that will help students and teachers.”

Dr Anna Colton, child and adolescent psychologist welcomed the new BBC campaign and said: “Primary school is nurturing, familiar and comfortable. Some children can’t wait to move to secondary, having outgrown it and others will feel scared and wish they could stay for longer. Whichever is the case, a successful transition will provide challenges to which they will rise and thus give a child new skills, confidence and resilience, teaching them that they can cope and survive.

“Addressing children’s worries throughout the process and giving them opportunities to experience and talk about the next steps will help prepare them for what lies ahead and how they might handle it. Poor transition can have a detrimental impact to children’s well being, mental health and attainment, so equipping children with the tools to cope with the unfamiliar and with challenges and changes should be welcomed and shared widely. I am delighted to support and help shine a light on this important campaign.”

For more information on Starting Secondary School, head to www.bbc.co.uk/startingsecondaryschool

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