10 tips for starting at a new school


Changing schools can be both an exciting as well as a challenging time for students and their families. 

Students change schools for a variety of reasons including moving from Primary School to Secondary School, changes in parents’ work, because of a lack of enjoyment at their previous school, to have ‘fresh start’ and because of changes in family circumstances.

Some students seem to breeze through the transition and others take their time. Fortunately, most schools both welcome and encourage new students. 

Tips on fitting in

The list below provides some general tips on fitting in and making your transition as easy as possible:
  1. Utilise the services of your Year Master/Team Leader and Mentor/Tutor. These staff have been placed in these positions because of their pastoral skills and professionalism and will do all they can to help you.
  2. Use your buddy. These students are usually some of the best around and can be a great asset. If you do not believe that you and your buddy are well matched, please let your Mentor know; they will not be offended.
  3. Get involved. Schools such as Knox are vibrant places offering a myriad of activities. Participation (irrespective of your skill level) is a great way to get to know others.
  4. Don’t feel a need to stay with the first group you meet. Mixing with different groups will give you an opportunity to find out where you best fit in.
  5. Avoid trying to rush getting a ‘new best friend’. Strong friendships take time and these will develop. It is important not to try to replace your best friend from your old school with a new one and possibly be disappointed with the comparison. All friendships are different and all should be valued for what they are.
  6. If you are shy, it is still worth approaching other students. A simple introductory line might be “Excuse me but I am new here, do you mind if I join you?” Conversation openers can include asking others about where they live, how long they have been at the School, their hobbies and interests. People like those who take an interest in them. 
  7. Avoid trying to compare yourself to other students who you think may be fitting in more easily and more quickly than you. Everyone is different and will adjust at their own pace.
  8. Explore the school grounds with other students. Knowing where everything is will give you a greater feeling of control over your environment.
  9. Utilise the pastoral system. You can always talk with the School Counsellors, your Year Master/Team Leader and your Mentor/Tutor – everyone understands what you are experiencing.
  10.  Keep on top of your work and ask for help. 
For most students changing school is an exciting time that can come with some normal anxieties. Given time, students who make the transition come and enjoy their time at a new school. 

It is really important that if you are confused, upset or concerned about anything that you tell your parents/guardians or a staff member. 

If we do not know about it, we cannot help – and we really want you to be happy!