Fun tips for children starting secondary school

Published on: 21 August 2022

Starting secondary school is a big step - but author Henry White, who writes the Little Badman books with Humza Arshad, has all the tips you'll need to make it as fun and easy as possible!

So, you’re starting big school? I started big school once. Then I started it again somewhere else. So I’ve done it twice, which I reckon makes me an expert. I’m also an expert bee dentist, but you’re not here for advice on bee dentistry, so I’ll keep that to myself.

Anyway, here are my top five tips for making the most out of your transition to big school:


Have you always been known by the same boring name? Are you tired of being called Tim, or Ahmed, or Lisa, or Charmaine? Well, now’s the best time ever to change your entire identity! When you start your new school, you can be whoever you want to be. So why not go with something new and exciting, like Shadow-Dog or Ghost-Horse or Laser-Face? Because who wants to be called Megan when you can be called Captain-Magnet-Teeth!?


For the first few weeks, teachers will be getting to know all the new faces. You can use this to your advantage! If anything goes wrong, you can get yourself a free do-over with the cunning deployment of a fake moustache. Simply carry one in your back pocket at all times, and when you answer a question wrong in maths, or call the teacher ‘Mum’ by mistake, or kick a big kid’s ball over the school wall, nip behind a tree and whip out your fake moustache. Bingo! You’re a whole new person who never did any of that stuff (see above for some excellent name options). And if you’re caught short without a fake moustache in your pocket, never fear, a suitably large caterpillar will do a most satisfactory job. Just make sure he’s had a wee and some exercise before you pop him on your top lip, or he might spoil the illusion.

3) TIES!

For many people, big school is the first time in their life they’ve had to wear a tie. If you’re going to be wearing a tie from September, get a head start on your knot-tying skills by tying knots in everything you see. Spot a pair of cats? Tie those tails together! Sister’s hair getting long? Tie it up in a double Windsor! Spaghetti for lunch again? You know what to do! One spaghetti cardigan coming right up! Pretty soon, you’ll be an expert like me (I’m wearing a spaghetti cardigan as I type this).


Big school is big. Not as big as, say, Australia, but definitely bigger than a Nando’s. And trust me when I tell you that you can get lost in anything bigger than a Nando’s. So when you get to your new school, there’s a fair chance that at some point or other you’ll find yourself feeling lost. My advice to you is just shout ‘AAARRRRRRRGGGGHHHHHHH!’ for as long as you can. Sooner or later, someone is bound to ask you if you’re all right. At which point, tell them you’re lost. Sorted.


The thing to remember about big kids is that their vision is movement based. So if you stand perfectly still while the big kids are hunting, they won’t be able to see you. Once they’ve passed, run for your lives! Oh wait, sorry, no, that’s T-Rexes. Disregard that one.

So to summarise: Big school’s going to be fine. It’s actually pretty fun.

It’ll carry you right into your teenage years, which are some of the most exciting and weird and unforgettable years of them all. And, sure, you might not enjoy every second of it, but that’s true of anything. Like the time I was enjoying a delicious sandwich and accidentally ate a sizeable portion of my left arm. Swings and roundabouts. Focus on the sandwich too much and you might find you’ve eaten your arm, but if all you dwell on is the arm you’ve accidentally eaten, you’ll never get to truly enjoy the sandwich. Now that’s what I call a metaphor! Heck, that’s a metafive! Enjoy big school!

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