With just weeks to go before the end of the school year there’s a newbie in BB’s reception year at school. I have to say I winced when I heard – I don’t know the circumstances but I do know what it’s like being moved to a brand new school at the end of a school year.

As a forces child I went to three different primary schools – two at opposite ends of the country and one in another country entirely – and two different secondary schools.

To the newbie at school

I haven’t been able to help myself thinking about this late starter to BB’s school and wondering how they’re getting on, so I thought I’d write them a little letter.

To the newbie at school

In the beginning the first day and the first week seem the hardest. It’s a lot to take in: new faces, new teachers, new smells and new ways of doing things which everyone else seems to know except you. It’s not surprising you feel overwhelmed. Watch and listen and you’ll soon learn. And above all smile.

With a bit of luck the teacher will ask someone to look after you and take you under their wing, and with a bit more luck they’ll turn into a friend. But they might not. Just remember to smile.

Once you’ve got the first day and the first week out of the way you’ll realise what’s actually the hardest is penetrating the friendship groups which were formed when it was everyone else’s first week and first day. That’s the tricky bit, but you know what I’m going to say – smile.

I don’t know where you’ve come from but I do know you’re only in reception, so the chances are when mufti day comes round and you have to wear your own clothes the chances are your new classmates won’t notice if your outfit is wildly different to theirs. Be grateful for small mercies. Children can be so mean.

The upshot of all this is that moving to a new school in the middle of the school year is character building – what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and all that. You’ll be excellent in social situations as an adult, putting on a smile and introducing yourself to strangers even if you’d far rather run and hide, and you’ll go out of your way to make people feel welcome and part of the gang because you know what it feels like not to, and you don’t want anyone else to feel like that. Which ought to mean you’ll be a good person.

Of course I’m probably over-thinking it. You might not move schools ever again, which means before long all this will be a distant memory. I do hope so.

With very best wishes, from one newbie to another.

Did you ever have to move schools when you were little?

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