A survival guide to secondary school

A survival guide to secondary school

Remember that you are not the only person who is starting secondary school and that nearly every student starting, is feeling just like you. Here are some tips to help you in the move from primary to secondary school:

  • Be yourself and don’t show off - there is no need to try to impress other students
  • Treat all students the way that you would like to be treated.
  • Try to make friend with a variety of people.
  • Remember that all of the other new students have similar feelings about starting a new school – whether they show it or not.
  • Try and make some contact with older students that you know in the school
  • Remember teachers are there to help you. Make contact with those you feel comfortable with and share your worries, concerns and strengths with them.
  • Do find out and get involved in extra-curricular activities.
  • Get a good balance between work and play and enjoy your new school.

Health and Safety

Healthy Eating

If you want to look and feel your best, think about having a balanced, nutritious diet based on fruit, vegetables, protein and carbohydrates. Snacking and grazing on crisps and chocolate bars is great but if that's all your system is getting, it'll be running on heavily leaded two-star!

Take a look at the list of nutritious foods below. These are divided into the different food groups. You should mix n' match items from each group to make your diet as balanced as possible.


Bread roll; Pita Bread; Bap or Bagel; Scone; Fruit Brack; Sliced Bread; Soda Bread; Pasta salad; Rice salad; Cream Crackers; Crisp bread.


Breast of chicken/turkey; Slices of cooked meat, e.g. beef, ham, lamb; Frankfurter sausages; Salami; Portion of tuna or salmon.


Fresh fruit: Apple, banana, satsuma, pear, plum, kiwi, strawberries, slice of melon, nectarine, peach, small bunch of seedless grapes. Dried Fruit: raisins, prunes, apricots.

Juice: Carton of unsweetened juice.


Sandwiches: Lettuce, cucumber, tomato, coleslaw, sweet corn.

On the side: Sticks of raw vegetables: carrots, peppers, broccoli, cucumber; Cherry tomatoes; Potato salad; Vegetable soup.


Fromage frais; Yoghurt; Cheese - triangles, sticks or slices; Yoghurt drink; Small carton of milk.


Muffins; Cereal bars; Rice crispie buns; Slice of cake/fruit brack; Popcorn.

Heavy School Bags

When starting secondary school you will be working from several different textbooks, and will have to carry several note books / folders around with you. Although this may seem exciting, you should realise that these books are heavy and when you are walking to, from and around school you may be doing damage to your back with all this extra weight.

A survey conducted by the National Back Pain Association in Britain suggests that 80 per cent of school children surveyed carry badly designed bags or are wearing them incorrectly, proving that the correct design of school bag is important. There are three common school bag designs, namely the rucksack, shoulder strap bag and the sports bag. The rucksack design is the most efficient when it is worn correctly on the back and not over one shoulder. It is important that the straps are a good fit.

Schools are encouraged to make efforts to alleviate the problem of heavy school bags. Actions such as the provision of lockers, the co-ordination of timetabling and of homework can help. Pupils should also be reminded that it is not necessary to bring all books for all subjects every day and they should be encouraged to plan their requirements for each day.

When carrying a schoolbag you should remember to:

  1. Strap both handles of the bag on your shoulders if possible.
  2. Stand and walk with a straight back.
  3. If your back is not straight, your school bag is too heavy and you could be doing damage to your back.
  4. Take care when removing your school bag from your back.
  5. Don’t stand for long periods with your school bag on your back.

Adult back pain and spinal disorders can stem from childhood activities including carrying a heavily overloaded school bag for 12 years or more of schooling, so it is important to carry your schoolbag correctly.

Safety on the Road

Going to and coming from school can be a dangerous venture and accidents do happen. Everyone wants you to stay safe so stay alert –even when you are having fun with your friends. You need to remember the rules of the road at all times. Always remember to be safe on the road.

  • Look left-right-left before crossing streets or roads.
  • Cross only at designated crossings.
  • Never dart out into traffic.

Your school will outline further how to behave on the road.

If you travel to school on a bus you should remember the rules of the bus:

  • When waiting for the bus, stay away from traffic.
  • Never get out of your seat while the bus is moving.
  • Do not speak to the driver while the bus is moving.
  • Don’t throw things or shout across the bus.
  • Get off the bus in a safe manner and do not run.

You school will outline further rules and conduct on buses.

It is critical that you know how to behave on the road, for your safety and the safety of others.

Guidance A survival guide to secondary school