Derbyshire Healthcare has teamed up with First News, the award-winning newspaper for children and young people, to offer advice to students on how to 'keep cool' when starting at a new school.
Laurence Baldwin, a consultant nurse in our Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) team, has written a full-page feature offering tips on how to stay calm and who to turn to if you are struggling. The feature, entitled 'finding your feet at a new school', appears in a special issue of First News (issue 430) being sent to every school in the country.
According to research by School Stickers, reported in First News in July, as many as 65% of 11 year-olds worry about moving from primary school to secondary school. For young people who are going to a different school from all their friends, perhaps because they’ve moved house, it can be an especially anxious time, with fears about loneliness and ‘fitting in’.
In the feature, Laurence explains why a big change, or transition, like starting at a new school can be emotionally difficult. He also encourages young people to tell themselves four simple things as they step through the school gates:
Everyone is in the same boat – all the other new students will be nervous too
It’s OK to ask for help – you’re not expected to know everything straight away, and most people will be happy to lend a hand – even the oldest students will remember how they felt on their first day
It’s OK to make mistakes – no one is going to judge you
The ‘strangeness’ will soon disappear – in a few days or weeks, walking into your new school will feel like the most ordinary thing in the world.
If anyone is struggling, Laurence suggests contacting either:
Local young people who have survived a few school moves also give their advice in the article:
Leanne: ‘Everybody’s in the same situation and wants to make friends, get involved and meet new people'
Jen: ‘Take one day at a time, and keep calm’
Hannah: ‘Be prepared to minimise stress’
Kelly: ‘It’s never as bad as what it is in your head’
Amy: ‘Don’t make mountains out of molehills’.
View 'finding your feet at a new school' as a PDF, published courtesy of First News. The feature appears in a special schools issue (Issue 430, on sale 12 to 18 September 2014), a copy of which has been sent to every school in the country.