Starting a new school is a significant event in a child’s life and can raise a mixture of emotions, from excitement about making new friends, to apprehension about leaving old friends and established routines. In this blog, Derby Grammar School’s Registrar, Sarah Green, and Head of Year 7, Vicky Charnock give advice on how you can help your child prepare for a new school.

Derby Grammar School - Mrs Charnock and Miss Green
Mrs Charnock, Head of Year 7 and Miss Green, Registrar

It’s not uncommon for children to fret about seemingly small issues and concerns as they get closer to starting their new school. As parents, you naturally want to make the transition as smooth as possible for your child. But you can also rely on the support and experience of the school who will be familiar with and skilled at handling this transition.

Five ways to help you prepare

So, how can you help your child prepare for a new school? Here are five ways you can help your child start to imagine a future that encompasses their new school:

  1. Visit as often as possible. By attending an open day and other school events you are ‘setting the scene’ for your child. They’ll become familiar with the layout of the school, start to recognise teachers and pupils and before you know it, will be leading you to their classroom! 
  2. Encourage your child to take up the offer of a Taster Day. Meeting the teacher and making friends with new classmates before starting at the school helps enormously. At Derby Grammar School we like to think of it as a jolly day out at another school – each child is ‘buddied’ up with a current pupil who shows them around for the day, introducing them to the other pupils, showing them where the coat pegs are, how to find the toilet and how we order lunch. This means that on their first day they are already familiar with our routine.  
  3. Read the school newsletter and other publications with your child, so they get a sense of what happens. At Derby Grammar School we include our new parents on the mailing list for the school’s weekly newsletter so children can see what we get up to each week. 
  4. Be prepared – make sure you have uniform, school bag and kit ready before the first day. Have a practise run in the car, so you know how long the journey will take.  
  5. Attend the school’s Induction Day where your child will get to meet their new classmates and you’ll get lots of practical advice and information about the upcoming new term and your child gets to know their new classmates and teachers.

How the school prepares for your child joining

At Derby Grammar School we feel it is vital that staff are prepared for your child before he  starts as well. We have close ties with feeder schools and are guided by their report to place him in sets for core curricular subjects.

We consider each pupil’s interests when deciding on Forms and have in place all the necessary resources if a child has medical or other needs that we need to be aware of.

What happens once school starts?

At Derby Grammar School we have a committed and experienced pastoral team of Heads of Year and Form Tutors who work to ensure that each child who joins us makes the transition as smoothly as possible.

Once term has started pupils see their tutors twice a day where they have time to cover some PSHE and pastoral topics. Heads of Year see their year group on a regular basis which further cements the strong pastoral foundations.

Subject teachers support each pupil with the curriculum and any gaps in knowledge can be addressed quickly. By working together as a team – tutors, teachers and parents – we ensure each pupil settles in quickly and is supported throughout the year.

It’s true that starting a new school is a significant event in a child’s life, but at Derby Grammar School we use our experience and knowledge to ensure it’s a smooth and exciting event in their life.