Making the transition to secondary school


This page is for year 6 and P7 primary school pupils (and their parents, carers and families) who are going to secondary school in the autumn term.

Pupils in year 6 and P7 will be starting to think about how they will travel to their new secondary school after the summer holidays. Our journey planning activity sheet encourages pupils to consider the different ways they could travel to their new school. The activity can be completed by pupils at home or in school as part of their ‘transitions’ preparation. 

We know that a lot more people have been out walking as part of their daily exercise during lockdown. As we move out of lockdown let’s make sure we continue to see the improvements in air quality, the reduction in congestion, as well as the physical and mental health benefits walking provides.

At the current time, you may also need to refer to government, local authority and school guidance when selecting the most suitable route and mode of transport to secondary school. Living Streets has put together some useful information and advice for schools and families. 

For parents

Starting secondary school is a big event in an 11-year old’s life – and that of their parents or carers. It signals the start of a new chapter and one that generally comes with newly-gained independence and longer journeys.

To help make the transition to secondary school easier, here are some things to consider about your child’s journey to their new school. You can also work through our printable Planning your journey to Secondary School activity sheet with your child. 


1. Map it out

Before your child starts secondary school, map out their route. If they can, travelling on foot or by bike is a great way to help your child be more physically active every day. Google Maps is an easy and convenient way to map out routes, so watch our handy how-to video below to help you map out your new route.

Cycle Streets’ journey planner helps find quieter routes for cycling. City Mapper is another option if you live in a city.

2. Try it out

If you can, make a practice journey to school. How long does it take? Is there a nicer or safer route that you can find? Consider all options and make a decision about which route your child wants to take.

3. Talk about it

Remind your child about the key elements of road safety; waiting for the green man to cross the road, using crossings to cross the road, where pedestrians/cyclists have the right of way. If in doubt use Highway Code guidance on the website. Encourage your child to talk to you about any issues on their journey and discuss what they should do if something unexpected happens. 


4. Prepare for it

If you and your child are keen to be active on the route to school, make sure they are prepared for their chosen way of travelling. Remember, it’s not about the weather, it’s about what you wear! Ensure your child has a waterproof or umbrella to hand for those rainy days and sunscreen and bottle of water for those warmer ones. If your child is travelling by bike, they might need a helmet, lock, lights and suitable clothing.

5. Improve it

If you consider your child’s journey to school to be unsafe or unattractive, why not join us to campaign for better streets? Our local groups have experience success all over the UK in improving theirs – you can too.


Children walking from school