Let’s be honest, it’s tough starting a new school. Whilst many children will be getting excited about the start of term, there will be possibly a little trepidation too for what lies ahead. Getting it right, trying not to stand out and making a good first impression will be all too important. We speak to the HSMs (House Parents) of Bryanston School for their top tips for new pupils, to make the settling in and the first few weeks run as smoothly as possible.
What to do
- Try something new in your first term – anything will do. You’ll surprise yourself at how well you’ll do and how much you’ll learn.
- You won’t be the only one who is finding it hard, so it is ok to share your feelings with your new friends. This counts for boys and girls.
- Ask your house parent for help if you’re not sure about something, or, better still, ask an older pupil who’s been assigned to help you – there are no stupid questions.
- Be brave – ask a question in class. One will do. You will feel better, and your teacher will reward you.
- Try not show off. This is easy to do when you’re anxious or over-excited.
- Be resilient – don’t be put off if you don’t make it into a sports team in the first few weeks. Keep trying, listen to your coaches.
- Don’t just stay with the pupils who you arrived with from your prep school.
- You’ll be exhausted at the end of your first day, and more so at the end of your first week. Sleep is your best friend.
- Get to know the lingo of your new school.
- If you can be, be kind and compassionate to others, some of whom may be struggling or will be feeling the same as you are. Overseas pupils or first time boarders will need your help more than others.
- Be optimistic: link the change of schools with hope – new friends / new experiences / new teachers.
Be authentic and have the courage to tread your own path: don’t be afraid to be yourself rather than a clone of others who you might think are in the ‘cool gang’.
- Look after yourself both physically and mentally.
- Make the most of the opportunities to be a bit more independent and to make your own decisions and choices.
- Think big – you’ll arrive as a child and leave as a young adult.
- Don’t think about what you want to be, think about who you want to be.
- Above all, make sure you have fun.
What to take – (this is not an exhaustive list!)
- Duvet and pillow! Surprisingly the most often forgotten items because they’re the last to go in the car. Covers to match of course, x 2.
- Photos of family, friends, and pets. Blue Tac/drawing pins for those photos
- Worn-in shoes (if possible). Newly bought/too shiny shoes can make the first week pretty uncomfortable.
- Blister plasters (‘Compede’) for new school and sports shoes.
- Phone & laptop chargers – in good condition otherwise they can be removed by ‘health & safety’! Make sure they are clearly labelled.
- Portable speaker (if allowed), headphones.
- A favourite dressing gown.
- Favoured tuck products can be useful: a mug for tea plus suitable tea bags, jam or spreads for breaktime or post-prep toast.
- A Teddy bear – an old and constant friend!
- Casual clothes for those times when school dress can be discarded.
- A half-read good book – i.e. something that’s been started and enjoyed this summer.
- Postage stamps and some cards – yes, they’re still useful.
- Playing cards – a great way to make new friends.
- Pens and highlighter markers.
- Name tapes/stickers for some of the above items.
- A padlock for a lockable cupboard.
And it’s not just about the kids, check out our Top Tips for Parents starting a new school