Hello. My name is Jo Marston and I am Assistant Headteacher and Head of Lower School here at Thirsk. You can read more general information about me and Lower School here.

A huge part of my role as Head Of Lower School is connected with the planning and implementation of the Transition and Induction Programmes we run here as part of our ongoing commitment to our feeder Primary Schools and their young people and parents.

Here at Thirsk we believe strongly that a smooth transition from primary school to secondary is vitally important to students’ well-being and progress going forward, and as such we need and want to get it right.  Having a child start secondary school can be a particularly stressful and worrying time for parents (often more so for you than for your kids) and this is why it can be very reassuring to talk to others in the same situation, take advice from seasoned travellers down this particular route, or just simply ask us!

I tend to find that every parent who rings or emails in the run upto this time of year will start off by apologising. I think it is very important to realise that having sleepless nights, mild panic attacks and feeling sick with nerves are all very normal. This is your most precious possession and as such your happiness and well-being are usually inextricably linked to theirs. Please feel free to contact us with anything that is bothering you,however trivial you might feel it is, as it might save you and your child a summer holiday of worry just by picking up the phone or sending an email.Contact details are listed at the close of this section.

At the end of Year 6, parents and children tend to be concerned about very similar sorts of things including:homework, the new routine, bullying and friendships. The differences between children and parents are probably due to parents’ greater life experience, and their adult perspective. For example, even though getting lost is always one of the things that children are most concerned about, their parents realise that they will quickly learn to find their way around their new school, whatever the size.

Top 5 most popular concerns for young people:                                                                     

  1. Getting lost
  2. Losing old friends
  3. Homework
  4. Discipline and detentions
  5. Being bullied

Top 5 most popular concerns for parents/carers:

  1. Bullying
  2. Safety
  3. The amount of homework
  4. Adjusting to having lots of teachers
  5. Making new friends

The good news however, is that within a short time, the majority of children’s and parents’ concerns tend to reduce.Young peoples’ concerns about getting lost and being bullied usually disappear very quickly, within the first term at secondary school; their worries about losing old friends, homework and about discipline and detentions are also usually non-existent by the end of Year 7.

In the same way that children’s concerns reduce once they start at secondary school, so do parents. At the end of their child’s first year at secondary school, most parents tell us that they have settled in well in all of the following areas:

  •  Academically
  • Socially, with teachers and peers
  • Coping with new routines

Whilst some students find it remarkably easy, we do recognise and acknowledge that others do not. However, whatever the situation, you as parents/carers need to know that your child will receive a huge amount of support, guidance and encouragement from everyone in the Lower School Pastoral Team to ensure their individual journey is both a fulfilling and enjoyable one.

The Transition Journey

Our transition journey actually begins in years 3 & 4 with a varied programme of primary school sport competitions delivered through the vehicle of the School Games. This is organized and managed by our on-site School Games Organiser Duncan Burgess. As part of this programme, your child will be given plenty of opportunities to participate in sporting events at Thirsk School & Sixth Form College, allowing them to become familiar with the school environment to help build confidence and a sense of belonging.Competitions are officiated and managed by a successful team of Young Leaders from the secondary school providing positive role models for your children and fostering a real team ethos.

For more information on Primary School Sport contact our SGO Duncan Burgess:

Year 5 Enrichment

During Year 5 we also provide 2 Enrichment Days for all our feeder primaries, where the children are invited to spend the day in school participating in a range of taster activities such as Drama, Food Technology, Music and Team Building. This allows them to meet a range of key staff and experience a ‘day in the life’ of a Thirsk School & Sixth Form College student.


Prior to our full week of Induction, I will visit every Year 6 pupil in their own school around Easter time and provide an introductory session on what to expect from their induction process. This will be followed up with an information gathering session from our SENDCO and a talk from the Head of Year. M will also arrange for any additional visits/transition activities at parents’ request.

In July the Year 6 pupils join us for an action packed and fun week where they meet their form tutor and participate in a typical secondary school timetable, helping to further prepare them for their new start in September. We find that this week is invaluable in helping to allay any worries or anxiety they might have at this pivotal point in their education.

The amount of time energy and effort we invest in your child is deliberate. We think it is imperative that they are familiar with the school and its environment and have met the staff,as that can lift barriers and help them to feel settled and at home here as quickly as possible.

I always think that there is no better testament to offer than the students’ views. We always make a point of gaining feedback from each Induction Week and this is the part that really makes my job worthwhile when I read the comments!

I hope you enjoy reading their comments and they help to reassure you and your child that making the choice to be part of the Thirsk family is the right one.

Transition Information & Documents

Letter to Parents April 2024

School Uniform and PE Kit Requirements

Uniform Letter

Year 6 WIMT Leaflet

Click the here to access more information including FAQs and general advice on how to cope with starting secondary school.

For further general information regarding Transition and Induction please contact the Head of Lower School Miss J Marston:

Alternatively contact us by telephone on: 01845 522024

01845 522024