It’s that time of year again when the school summer holidays are on the horizon. Some children will be leaving school to go onto further education or join the workforce, others will be preparing to move from nursery to primary or making the transition from primary to “the big school”, whilst some may be facing the prospect of joining an entirely new school due to moving home. No matter the situation, each scenario presents its own set of unique challenges for your child and the family as a whole, so it’s wise to start preparing as early as you can to ensure as smooth a transition as possible.
Finding a new school
When you have found your new home, you can start investigating the various schools in the catchment area and make a shortlist of the most suitable ones. Education Scotland will tell you what schools are available near to your new home. You can also search reports and statistics here to compare schools in terms of performance and academic results, helping you to make a more informed decision. If you’re unsure about anything, including designated schools in your area, you can contact your local Council for help and advice.
Before choosing a school, try to visit your preferred school(s) with your child to meet the headteacher and the class your child would be joining to determine whether it’s the right fit. This is also an opportunity to discuss any special arrangements you may be require and find out important things about the school, such as:
- Typical school day
- Holiday dates
- Dress code and where to buy any mandatory uniforms
- After-school activities
- Homework clubs
- Buddy programmes
- Transport, school meals, accommodating dietary requirements, etc.
- Support for additional learning needs
- If you choose to send your child to local school designated by the Council, your child can start at any time during the year if space is available. If the school is already full, the Council will arrange an alternative school until there is space. For this reason, it is important to let the Council know as soon as possible that you are moving to a certain catchment area, that way they can reserve a space for your child in anticipation of your move.
If you would prefer that your child attends a different school to the designated one, and it’s in the middle of a school year, you must make a written request to the Council – most Councils have placing request application forms that you can use. Once submitted, they have 2 months to consider your request.
Starting a new school
As all parents are more than aware, the way a child copes with change depends very much on the support he or she receives. Moving home, changing schools and making new friends is a lot to deal with, so it’s important to have a clear plan of how you will help your child cope with these changes and any potential issues that may arise. In most cases, the initial anxiety of starting a new school will be short-lived because children and resilient little creatures who normally adapt quickly and form new friendships in the blink of an eye. Oh to be so young and carefree again!
Things you can do to prepare your child for moving to a new school include:
- Talking to them about what’s happening, why it’s happening and what to expect at a new school – focussing on the exciting new adventure that lies ahead.
- Acknowledging their concerns, all the while remaining calm, cheerful and positive throughout the entire process, sharing reassuring words of wisdom like “It’s completely natural to feel this way”.
- Involve them in the decision-making process when choosing a school.
- Arrange for you and your child to visit the school and meet his or her new teacher(s) and classmates. It won’t be so unfamiliar and scary on their first day if they have had an opportunity to explore the school and meet everyone.
- Make sure your child’s teacher is aware of any considerations or additional support that may be required, as well as any subject your child struggles with.
- Go on a fun shopping trip for new shoes and school supplies to establish a positive association with the change ahead.
- Go over the school handbook and class timetable before your child’s first day to make them aware of the important things they need to know.
No matter the time of year your child changes schools—whether mid-term or at the start of the new school year after the summer holidays—it’s incredible worthwhile signing your child up for local summer camps, sports classes, after-school clubs, and other extracurricular activities that their future classmates may attend. This will allow them to make new friends and feel more confident in the classroom. Also, remind them of times in the past when they overcame their fear when doing something for the first time, and share your own experiences about when you were scared about something that all worked out well in the end.
Clyde Property is a leading independent, multiple award winning estate and letting agent with 30 years’ experience in selling and letting property in Scotland. Just call your local Clyde Property branch today, for friendly, impartial advice on finding your next dream home.