If you are thinking of moving your child to a new school, you’re bound to be feeling anxious about how they’ll settle in. However, schools are generally very good at making new starters feel welcome and children are very adaptable, so - with some advance preparation - being the ‘new boy’ or ‘new girl’ won’t last long! Here are our Top 10 Tips to help you smooth the transition for both you and your child.
Preparing for the school move
- Try to involve your child as much as possible ahead of the move. Here at Gateway we prepare a transfer day for new pupils, where the children will spend the day at the school. This will involve meeting their teachers, touring the School and spending the day with their peers. Knowing where things are in advance of starting should help to alleviate some of their fears. You will also be invited to school events, like the Summer Fun Day, to meet other staff and pupils and help them get used to the new surroundings.
- Be positive about the move and talk to your child about all the great opportunities they will have at their new school. Look on the school website together and seek out extracurricular activities you know they’ll be excited about, such as the range of sports they can try or the opportunities to take part in concerts and performances.
- Keep talking to your child and answer any questions they have about the school. Younger children in particular may worry about the practical details like where they leave their bags, what happens if they need to go to the toilet and when break times are, so finding this information out in advance should help address their concerns. At Gateway, parents are invited to a ‘New Parents Evening’, as well as a ‘Year Ahead Meeting’ for the whole year group. Accompanying booklets are also provided for parents to refer to.
- Make sure your child has the right uniform or kit for their first day. The school will provide you with information about which days they will need special items for lessons such as PE, Swimming or Forest School, but if not, please ask!
Saying ‘goodbye’ to the old school
- Whatever the circumstance for moving schools, it is important for children to say ‘goodbye’ to their old school properly. You could take in cards for their teachers and friends and make plans to stay in touch, even if that is just electronically.
Starting the new school
- Here at Gateway we give new starters a special friend or ‘buddy’, as well as encouraging their classmates to help look after them. The teachers, too, are often on lookout for new children at play time to help them join in with games. You shouldn’t worry too much though; new starters often have ‘celebrity status’, and children will be flocking to play with them at break times!
- The school will have undertaken a short assessment of your child’s academic needs before entry and will work closely with parents to help children feel like they are making progress. At Gateway, ‘Meet the Teacher’ evenings are also arranged for the beginning of the Autumn Term.
- Some children will make friends straight away, while others can take longer to come out of their shells. Encouraging your child to take part in activities and clubs can help them make friends more quickly and form an attachment to their new school. From sports clubs to the choir to book clubs, most schools will offer something that children can join to have a little extra fun.
- Get involved with school life yourself. If you’re able to volunteer on the school’s Friends Committee or Parents’ Association, you’ll quickly get to know other staff and parents. You could also ask your child if they want to invite a couple of children over for playdates to help them (and you!) make friends. At Gateway, our Friends of Gateway Committee (FOG) Year Group Reps are also in contact with new parents to invite them to social gatherings and to help with any practical questions that they may have.
- Give it time. Even parents with the best of intentions may not be able to make their child’s transition to a new school totally seamless. If you are worried about how your child is settling in, don’t hesitate to talk to your child’s teacher. If you are all on the same page about your child’s transition, you can work together to give your child whatever they need for the best integration possible.
We hope you found these Top Tips useful. If you have any further queries or would like to book a visit, please call 01494 862 407 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Rob Grosse, Deputy Headteacher