Voices: How 11-year-old girls really feel about the future

“It’s very different at high school compared to primary school and I’m not sure if I like it”  (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
“It’s very different at high school compared to primary school and I’m not sure if I like it” (Getty Images/iStockphoto)


I am 11 and have just started high school, last week, but I don’t have any of my close friends from my primary school in my class. One of my best friends has just moved away and I don’t get to see her very often.

It’s very different at high school compared to primary school and I’m not sure if I like it. It’s a massive change. It is hard because the amount of people in my new school has doubled – from 700 to 1500 – and it can be stressful getting to classes on time. The building is so much bigger.

I sometimes feel sad because I didn’t get as much time in primary school because of strikes and Covid. Also, during lockdown, I wasn’t allowed to see anyone and had to keep a distance of two metres – even from my grandparents. We couldn’t see anyone at Christmas and I still think about that. My nanny and grandad had to drop presents off at the doorstep and then stand at the end of the path waving at us.

All of my friends are on social media and I’m not allowed, so I sometimes I wonder what it would be like. My tummy always hurts when I am anxious and it hurt a lot during year 6 SATs because I found it hard to memorise the information and my head used to hurt too. I also found it hard when my parents were splitting up and moving because I had to travel between their two houses a lot.


Recently, after personal experience, I have feared bullies more than ever. For example: if you are proud of your school work, you’re called a “nerd” – but if you’re ashamed of it, you have a “negative mindset”. It’s very confusing. It can make you feel like you don’t know how you’re supposed to be.

To me, school is 70 per cent learning and 30 per cent socialising, so I would love to be able to express myself the way that I want without being afraid that I will bullied for it!

We’re at high school now – but that can be intimidating, too. Being told off by teachers and having it written on your permanent record is constantly talked about – so it’s very scary.

It’s not just stuff about me and my life that worries me. I’m also scared about climate change and the fact that thousands of animals die every day!


I know I’ve only just started high school but I’m already worried about doing my GCSEs – because people have started talking about it. I also have an older sister who’s been through that. I don’t know how I’m supposed to be choosing what I’m interested in for future jobs and careers – it feels like we are meant to focus on it now, and it’s too soon!

It makes me worried about all the responsibilities we have to take on as we grow up – to me, that means: finding my way around different places alone; protecting myself on social media and even in public; periods and puberty; figuring out money; relationships; looking after my skin and body.

I recently moved house and live about an hour away and am “finding myself” again. I find myself worrying about what others think of me, especially now I’ve started at a new school. Do they think I’m rude or annoying? Am I too clingy?


It’s been hard to make the transition to high school, but it’s not just that... it’s the practical things, like making your way to and from school and even around the building. I find that difficult. I keep getting lost!

Then, separate to that, a lot of us worry about what we look like (feeling insecure about our looks or looking different to other people).

I also worry about puberty; starting my periods and when it will happen. And what happens if it starts at school and I need to go to the bathroom – how do I explain that to the teacher?