Sunday 13 September 2015


Reader Heather gives the inside story on how to survive secondary school - and come through with flying colours!

Heather says:
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: I remember going into Year Seven… it was an adventure, and I was scared but optimistic too. You have to find people in your lessons to buddy up with - that's what I did and the girl I spoke to on that very first day is my best friend now! Although it may take a while to settle in and get used to your surroundings, you will settle eventually. My tips for Year Seven would be to work hard and build yourself a good reputation. Stick with people who bring out the best in you and make you happy! Try not to go 'off task' in class - concentrate, answer questions and get involved. Teachers like students who are dedicated and passionate about a subject!

HANDLING PEOPLE: You may get days where school is the last place you want to be, but always try your best - it will be worth it in the end. Never feel you have to impress your classmates by wearing the latest fashions or caking on the make-up. You don't - just be you! Be friendly  to everyone - if someone is on their own, try to include them if you can. Settling in on your own is hard, so be a friend and give them a helping hand. If you are being bullied at any point, tell a teacher. You do NOT deserve to be treated badly - tackle the problem quickly and don't let it escalate.

SUBJECTS: Time will fly past, and in Year Ten you will have to pick your GCSE options… the subjects you will take as exams at the end of Year Eleven. It can seem a daunting process, but the previous three years will have helped you to sort out which subjects you like and which you don't. English, maths and science are compulsory (at my school, anyway!) but other than that you get to choose. Pick subjects you enjoy and are good at and try not to be pressured by others into taking options you know you may regret.

TEACHERS: Some of the kindest people I know are teachers. They put in so much hard work behind closed doors to make your lesson - and your school career - a success. Respect your teachers and try to learn from them as a person as well as learning the subject. If you clash with a teacher, try to avoid arguments and feuds… teachers are only human and we won't get on with them all, but they don't have to be enemies. A pleasant smile and a polite comment or two will go a long way.

LOOKING BACK: I'm now in my final year of secondary - Year Eleven - wow! I wish I could turn time back and be that little eleven year old in the photo with shiny shoes and two neat plaits, but I have learned so much. I've discovered my potential and know I would like to be a writer or an English/Drama teacher in the future. I have GCSEs in seven months, so this next year will be non stop study for me. I've come this far because of good friends and great teachers - I've been pushed to the limit, but with very good reason! High school is not as scary as it seems… you just need to take each day as it comes and work hard. It really is that simple!

Cathy says:
I love Heather's top tips on secondary school… I wish I'd known them back when I was eleven! Have YOU just started Year Seven? Are you struggling to find your feet? Or are you older now, and wiser? COMMENT BELOW to share your views!


  1. Like Heather I wish I could go back to Year Seven! Year Eleven is SO stressful. I can't believe there are only a few months till exams! But I have grown so much as a person since Year Seven... I've learnt so much!

  2. I am now in Year Eight and school has been a rollercoaster ride for me... Back in primary school, everything was so simple: I had a best friend and no enemies. However, since high school, everything has changed! I had trouble fitting in since my first day of Year Seven, becoming close to a lot of people who would eventually either turn on me or apparently get bored! It's been a tough time for me but I have recently started home education and even though I don't see other children my age as much, I am ten times happier than I was before! Things don't always go the way we want but that's okay: there's always an alternative and nobody deserves to be alone. We're all special in our own ways, and we need to do what makes us happiest! Xx<3

  3. This is soon helpful! I wish I'd known this back in my first week of secondary...But reading Cathy C already teaches a lot about coping at school, especially in Sweet Honey



Reader Emily, aged ten, explains how a Cathy Cassidy book inspired her to raise money for a refugee charity... Emily says: The Cathy Cassidy...