The Big Guide on Moving Schools

Hi guys!

With the new school year I expect some of you are moving up from Primary school to High school, or from First school to Middle school or Middle school to High school. Perhaps you’re just moving up a year in your school. Maybe some of you are even moving schools, alone, not with the rest of your class or year group, not even with friends.  But alone.  Maybe you’re moving across country to move schools.  Whatever you’re doing, I’ve done it.  I can promise you that I have done pretty much every type of school move you can imagine.  This means I know how terribly nerve wreaking it can be, how exciting but scary it is to head somewhere totally unfamiliar.   And today, I’m creating The Big Guide On Moving Schools (which also covers everything about moving schools that I’ve mentioned previously) just so that you know everything you can know, and you can be as totally prepared as possible and your transition can be as smooth and easy for you to adapt to.

I guess I’ll start on a small-scale and work my way up all the moves possible, everything I’ve experienced in hope that I’ll help you!

Moving Within Your School

This move is probably the easiest.  Not only are you staying in one place, but you’re moving up a year in school with everyone you’ve been able to get to know over the past years. The thought of it tends to be quite scary, because maybe you’re moving into a different section of the school that you don’t know much of.  Maybe you have a new teacher which you’ve heard all the nasty rumors about (in year 4, I had a teacher who was very tall – I was very small, and everyone in the school would send little whispers around about him ‘he is so big and scary!’ etc.  Turned out to be the nicest teacher I’ve ever had).  The best thing you can do for this type of move is to not think much about it. Enjoy the time before you head up a year in school and cherish the fact that you’ll at least know everyone.

I guess my tip for this would be make sure you’re prepared.  Depending on what year you’re moving into, you’ll need some different supplies or maybe your uniform requires you to change ties.  Whatever it requires, then you need to know about that and buy it in good timing – there is nothing worse than having a meltdown because you uniform isn’t available two days before you’re due to start school again.

Transitioning Between Schools

I didn’t really know what to call this, but what I mean is moving from Primary School to High School or First School to Middle School or Middle School to High School.  Those sorts of moves.  The moves where its a huge, massive change yet you’re going to have people you know by the side of you.  Even if it’s just one or two people, you still know them.  I’ve done this.  I moved from my Primary school in year five to a school which was a Middle School transitioning itself into a High School.  I went with my three best friends at the time, and some boys from our school who were also moving to this school.  We were reasonably young, moving from year five to year six (the last year of primary school ro second year of middle school) and because I was youngest in my year (August birthdays for you here guys!) I was about ten.  It was scary, but exciting.  I didn’t have too much to worry about and I also had my friends by my side.

I’d make sure to discuss this type of move with your parents really well, because it’s a big transition.  The move to a new school signifies new things to study and many changes.  Make sure you read into schools available to move to and make the right choice, it is really important to choose a school you want to go to, whether that means you’ll be following your friends and others you know or taking the leap by yourself.

If you are moving with friends, often when moving from school to school traditionally (eg at the start of a new year when a whole new year group is joining as they transition from an old school), your new school will give you a forum in which to fill out stating which person you want in your form the most. You can only choose one, most of the time, which is good and bad.  Good because you don’t have to create an order of which friend you like the most, but bad because not all your friends will end up in your form with you.  Now, there is a way which sometimes works for this – say there is four of you in your friendship group, we’ll call you A, B, C and D.  Friend A will write friend B on their forum, friend B will write friend C, friend C will write friend D and friend D will write down friend A.  This way you’re in some sort of friendship loop that can’t be gotten past without either splitting you all up and putting you into different classes or getting you all in the same class.  Notice I did say sometimes, and it may not always work (it worked for me I think but this was four years ago now I can hardly remember).  Also, when moving up to a new school there are so many new people coming into the school from different schools, just like you have.  Maybe you’ll want to not be in a form with your friends, it will give you opportunities to make new friends. I wish I had done that, and made new friends right from the start.

Obviously if you’re not moving with friends, or even people you know, you wont have these troubles.  Keep in mind that these forums are not always given out to you and you most likely wont have to fill them in if you don’t want to.  Not all schools will do this.  You will go for taster days, where you will meet people from all the other schools who are joining – smile and talk to them.  They will be as nervous as you, I promise.  It’s horrible starting new schools, but it’s easier done when there are lots of you, and more people to talk to.  Even something as simple as asking what school they came from previously can spark up a conversation and while it may be awkward at first, things will get a little more bearable soon!  Chat to people you’re sat next to in lessons – even if you’re awfully shy, people are waiting for you to make the first move, so just go for it and chances are someone will want to talk to you.  And if not, if someone is obscenely rude to you, don’t go and tell it to a teacher (unless it is constant and you’re being bullied, of course), because it isn’t Primary School anymore and teachers are a lot harsher, they don’t have time for whining children – believe me, I’ve been there done that worn that T-shirt.

Having done the whole moving school thing multiple times at multiple ages, the younger you are, the easier it is.  People, especially teenage girls, grow judgemental in high school – it’s a reasonably well-known fact.  Have you seen the movie Mean Girls (if not do go watch, five stars out of five amazing).  Younger people have a better time accepting you for who you are, and they generally don’t care about too much.

When transitioning schools like this, be friendly and confident, spread your wings and make friends outside people you already know (you’re going to have to if you’re moving up alone) and have fun in your first couple of weeks.  The workload isn’t going to be too frustratingly hard, and you’ll more than likely slot right in.  I know it sounds cheesy, but if people don’t like you for who you are, then don’t try to change just so you can fit in with them.  You may think it’s fun to be one of the ‘popular girls’ and that changing yourself to be one is a good idea, but it really isn’t – speaking from experience, you’re going to realise that mean girls are exactly that, mean.  They’re mean to others and to their friends their mean to everyone but themselves.  And there will always be the queen bee who is bossing everyone around, she isn’t the nicest person to be around.  Be you and someone, even if its only one person, will like you for it.

P.S – reading wiki how articles on any of this stuff is completely scary and useless.  It gives the biggest false representation and will make you so scared and smiling everywhere you go is not the answer, seriously, unless you want to give out the wrong impressions take my advice and don’t read heaps of wiki how articles on ‘How To Smile Nicely At A New School’ or ‘How To Join School Confidently’.  Lies, scary ones too.

New School Moves

This is the one where you’re leaving your school, lets say you’re in High School, to move to a totally new High School. It’s still near where you live, and you’re not moving houses or anything because of it, but you’re moving schools and it is happening.  You don’t have anyone at this new school who you know, or even if you do they’re distant nursery friends and there is no point in contacting them – if you do, be careful because you don’t know what they’ll be like and while it may be helpful to have them as an ally when you join a new school, it may not always work out in the long run.  The not working our part of that happened to me, and I wish I had gone into my school a fresh person that is not connected to anyone (I’m not going to explain this in too much detail as it is a long story, however if you want to know a bit more about it then ask me things in the comments and I’ll be sure to answer you, as detailed as you’d like!).  Nevertheless, I still had the joining a new school unknown experience, and I’m going to share everything with you here, what I did that helped me and more.

I moved to a new school in the January of 2015, Year 8, my old high school was not working out for me.  I made the choice to leave it, and it was to this day the best choice I ever made.  I didn’t like who I was there – I had fallen into a stigma of a nerd (I’ll admit to being a little nerdy, and I have nothing wrong with nerds – you do you and if you’re a nice person, I don’t care about your interests!), and being a nerdy type in said school was not something you wanted to be, at all.  Not only that, but the people I was hanging around with were not at all like me, I didn’t fit in with them – they were more reserved and I am quite a bold person, yet very few people realised because I spent most of my time in the library, or helping out with clubs and things with my so-called ‘friends’.  The inability to spread my wings was killing me, I’m a social person and having just one fixed set of friends isn’t my thing.  The school was a bad school anyway, certain people were giving me grief and the fact that I wasn’t doing there what I wanted to do wasn’t working for me.  I moved, and it was amazing.  If you want to make a change because something isn’t working for you, go for it.  Do not be nervous or scared, just take the leap.  You will end up happier.  Here, let Kevin from mean girls inspire you to move on with certain people.


Anyway, I did know one girl who I contacted before I moved schools.  It wasn’t the worst decision I’d made, but then again it wasn’t the best.  This person was more popular than I was in my old school, which wasn’t something I was used to.  I wouldn’t say I ever grew to a certiain popularity, and it was always very outsider-ish if I was ever doing anything with said person.  Generally, I’d say go in and start a fresh.  It’s going to be harder if you move schools later, but you can make it easier by not making mistakes (such as going out with some weird boy in your first couple of months at a new school and not living it down until you left – even if it was only eighteen hours of going out with him which really can’t be classed as going out with someone and you did nothing.  Prepare for songs and weird comments coming your way).  So yes, don’t make mistakes like I did.  One thing you’ll need is a thick skin, people might make remarks about you, mostly boys actually, and there will be a lot of rumors about people being attracted to you, even if you’re not the sort of person (cough cough moi) that people should be attracted to.  These rumors more than likely mean nothing and you just need to have a thick skin, look past them and pull a nice sarcastic smile when they come your way.  Try not to go in with a constant resting bitch face (Fun Fact: I did, and most of my closest friends from that school though I was a bitch before they became friends with me!).  Smile and say hi to people, and if introduced to someone, try talk to them, don’t just go mute and smile a good old sarcastic smile to them (that’s only for the afore-mentioned rumours!).  And if you’re not too happy with your past, you don’t have to reveal it to everyone – sure, you can be truthful but if people are bombarding you with intrusive questions, a few white lies don’t hurt!

Starting a new school is nerve wreaking as hell.  You’re going to be very nervous. Make sure the morning before you start, you actually have things planned out.  I’d recommend getting a parent to drive you there, at least for your first morning.  I took the bus home and there every day after and on the afternoon of my first day, but just so I wasn’t late by getting confused with bus routes, I got a lift from my Dad on the first day.  It’s also more encouraging to be wished well by a parent before you step out into the unknown!  Make sure you have the right uniform.  Some uniforms have different ties for different year groups, make sure you have the right one, others give you the option to not wear ties and wear a shirt with the schools logo instead.  Jumpers under blazers are optional sometimes, and sometimes polo shirts are worn in the summer.  Stalk your new schools website and twitter for uniform photos, and even go lurk around the school (without your parents, ideally, to minimise embarrassment) when it finishes to see what uniform choices are being worn.  You want to turn up looking good, and although you do want to showcase your unique personality and be you blah blah etc etc, you also don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb and for people to straight away know that you are the ‘new person’.

You’re probably going to be assigned a person, or a few people, with similar lessons to you, to show you around the school and take you to lessons.  If you’ve already been assigned one, great.  If not, all the girls and some of the boys in your form will start begging to look at your time-table and want to compare theirs, and take you places. Just accept their offers – new friends and you’re going to find your way about easier.  Seriously, they may seem unhelpful but don’t be ignorant, you will get lost it will happen, they’re a big help to you. Getting lost is not good – I didn’t get lost until my second week at this school, where I appeared twenty minutes late to my RS lesson because it was in a different room to usual (we shared teachers, it rotated every two weeks) and I went to drama, then my usual RS room and had to go ask what lesson someone I knew was in so I could go locate the room – embarrassing, I nearly just thought about hiding in the toilets until that period was over.

You’ll be fine after about four weeks, you’ll know all your teachers and hopefully a good few people and everything will soon feel normal and you’ll start to love it, or hate it (if you hate it there is no maximum times you can make a change in your school life, remember that!)

The School Move Which Also Entails A Move Away From Everything You Know And Love

Shortly abbreviated to: The Worst.

The worst move of all time, the most horrific, scariest and nerve wreaking thing I have ever done.  Moving six hours away from Yorkshire, where I’d spent all nearly fourteen years of my life, to Wiltshire, where I’d never been and didn’t know a soul, not even family.  Where I was moved to a new school which I’d only seen once and never heard of, where the accent was different so everyone would know I was new, where I had no friends and nobody to talk to in person other than my family for a while.  I make it sound horrible – I wouldn’t be wrong, the first week or two was.

So, if you keep up with my blog you’ll know I recently moved from Yorkshire to Wiltshire to accommodate my brothers special needs.  There are various posts around my blog detailing this heavily – just look in my categories and Moving Diaries should show up, which is where all of those posts will be.  This meant leaving the school I had moved to in January 2015, to move to an all new one. It meant leaving my best friend and all my other close friends, it was heartbreaking to do that.  Later on in this post (for gods sake, when will you stop! This has been going on long enough) I’ll give you some tips on how I dealt with leaving people I loved.  The move was stressful, it didn’t go very smoothly as on the first day of going to my new school all the furniture was being delivered to the house, I slept with sleeping bag and floor the night before, and three nights before that too – the back ache was chronic.

My attitude for this move was totally different to any other move I’ve done, and I’d recommend adopting said attitude.  If you know nobody, then who is really someone you don’t want to know.  I got assigned a lovely group of girls as ‘buddies’, whom I relished the presence of considering I couldn’t just walk up to someone I maybe knew because there was no chance of me knowing anyone down here.  Most of the girls were in my form, they introduced me to loads of people.  In my food class I met B (we’ll just call her that for the sake of her privacy) who then ivited me to eat lunch with her and her friends (who are all amazing and who I love and Jaz if you’re reading this I love you ;D haha Jaz has a blog so I know she’ll end up reading this one day).  I always eat lunch with them now and it was relatively easy to make friends, I know a good few people now and school feels normal.

It’s really important to impress teachers and try hard in subjects when you go for such a big move.  They don’t know anything about you at all and getting on the right side of them will be a good idea.  I walked in when it was end of year exam time, but only for science, which isn’t my strongest subject and I didn’t do amazingly in it.  I did however do well on an English assesment and got 100% in a Geography exam, which are both very good things.  Let’s just not talk about how bad I’ve been doing in maths….!  Anyway, making a good impression on teachers is important.

I think to make things go smoothly, you need to adapt pretty quickly and have a well prepared first day.  Like I didn’t eat on my first day, because they don’t accept cash and I didn’t get my thumb print set up and I’d have to wait to get my thumb print set up.  You know, I could’ve brought snacks to avoid these sort of inconveniences. Also, I didn’t realise I’d need a pretty big school bag, so was left using a small handbag thing and went out buying a new bag that weekend – it would’ve been easier if I’d have known this.  Perparation is key!

My Tips

So, whilst I may have descibed things in a lot of depth here and my word count is nearing 4000, it’s never enough. Why not bombard you with tips on making friedns, leaving people behind, and surviving first days (wait isn’t this what you’ve done for the whole post so far?).  Also, I’ll include some amusing stories of my school moves, all for your reading pleasure!

Surviving your first day:

  • Make sure you look the part.  Follow your schools dress code, but don’t look like that year seven you once/are about to be.  Obviously, if nobody is wearing pleated knee length skirts (my first high school didn’t let us wear anything other than, and would make us kneel to the ground and measure how far the hem of the skirt was from it. Fun I know) and they’re all wearing skinny black pants (R.I.P freedom of uniform circa 2015, those comfortable jean things are missed gratley by many teenage girls) then wear them if you don’t want to stick out.  Of course, if you’re into knee length skirts, or pencil skirts, or shorter skirts or even regular trousers, wear them.  Just stick to the dress code but be aware you can sway it a little in your advantage, especially if the rest of the school is doing so.  Whatever you feel comfortable in, wear – just know the limits.
  • I’ll be doing a post on this, but go in with minimal makeup that looks clean and polished, yet don’t wear too little.  It depends on the school, but at one of my schools we were pretty much allowed to wear as much makeup as we wanted, and I had a lovely fake tanned orange stage that I’m sure somebody reading this will remember.  Spare me the memories. Anyway, don’t cake on the makeup but wear as much or as little as you want and are allowed.
  • Be confident.  If you’re not a confident person, just see this as a bit of a white lie (believe me, you’ll wind up telling a few in your first few weeks), but a white lie that you’re going to stick with.  If you’re confident, smiley and happy and you approach people, you’ll recieve nicer people approaching you.
  • You’re going to be seen as interesting, like you’ve been plonked on some table in the middle of a science lab and people are staring you out and examining you.  This is normal.  You’ll be asked tonnes of questions about your old school, where are you from, why does your accent sound like that.  Hell, most people will try to imitate your accent, if you’re from yorkshire especially.  People down south seem to find my mispronounciation of words with ‘T’ in them hilarious, and the way I shorten things like ‘in the’ to ‘int’.  It’s proved fascinating for many.
  • Have fun, and on your first day you’re allowed to ask questions.  Your allowed to be scared, confused, nervous, excited and most of all if you don’t feel any emotions towards anything at all, this is also allowed.
  • I always talked to myself in my head, mostly telling myself off for looking like what I thought was, pardon my french, but a bit of a dick. Digging your nails into the palm of your hand, or nipping your arm when you’re put on the spot is okay and pretty comforting.  Everything is very busy and new, and to be able to feel pain makes things feel a bit more real.

Making Friends:

  • Smiles are the key to everything – well, nearly everything.  As I mentioned, loads of people thought I was a bitch because I was defensive with sarcasm and resting bitch face and one of my schools.  Wasn’t the best coping mechanism.  Neither was blurting things out like ‘Oh I have no boobs’ on my first day in Wiltshire, and then putting it down to ‘Yorkshire Defensive Attitudes’ (yes that is now a thing).  Still, I smiled and people talk to you.  If you approach people with a smile they’re more likely to talk to you.  But dont just walk around the whole school smiling, that’ll just give you jaw ache and you’ll look a bit odd!
  • Be confident.  You’re allowed to approach people.  Don’t be lazy and think they can approach you but you can’t go over to them.  Some people may simply not be very talkative and not want to chat, but most will.  Just start things off with a question about the work you’re doing, or what options they’ve chosen.  Anything.  Or if you’re from Yorkshire, just speaking to someone from Wiltshire seems to make them go into some crazy frenzy about the way you say ‘y’aright’ instead of ‘how are you’ (it’s funny to watch people imitate my accent).
  • Seek out people who are like you and spark up conversation.  This may require joining some clubs (not something I’ve ever done, hello every other anti-social human here) but I do reccomend finding similar people to you.  Chances are you’ll make friends with them quciker.

Leaving People You Love Behind:

  • You will probably see them again.  I had to leave Sav, my best friend, but we recently spent a day or so together which was such fun and we had loads of laughs.  I miss her, a lot, and sometimes there are times when I just want to go see her (recent incident called for such a time, but she was driving back to Yorkshire so I could not) and can’t, but I talk to her all the time.  We have facetime. We have a snapchat streak nearing 250 days.  It is all good but still it is all sad.
  • If theres a real friendship there, they’ll stay in touch.  If not, then you’ll loose them.  This has happened many a time, with many different moves.  Most of these loss of contacts I am happy about, because if they don’t want to be there when it isn’t convenitent, I would rather they just left.  If it’s hard for you to deal with, look forward and remember there will be loads of people who are new and exciting where you are now.
  • Sometimes, friendships grow stronger over longer distances.  I feel this rings true for certain people as we can gossip with each other, safe in the notion that neither will tell anyone because we have nobody to tell who would be interested about the subjects, as usually she will be telling me something from Yorkshire and I will be telling her something from Wiltshire – who would be interested in irrelevant scandals!

And now for my last, very last thing I have to say: The Ultimate Story Of Getting Lost.  

I was not able to find my English class.  For whatever reason I had wound up in the maths department, then IT and then I was in technology.  Everything was not going well.  I went to reception thinking they could help me, then I realised I didn’t even know the name of my English teacher to find out her whereabouts.  Plus, the receptionist was on the phone and I was too nervous to wait around and too polite to interrupt her.  So, on I roamed through the halls when I heard my name ‘Sophie?’.  It was being shouted through the school.  My class had sent someone to come look for me.  I felt like a lost dog, it was horrendous.  I was greeted with an ‘Oh, there you are!’ and an awkward, small talk filled walk back to English.

So, I really hope all of that has helped even one of you who was a little nervy about back to school in one way or another.  If there is anything I haven’t covered, or anything you want to ask me about my experiences, please do leave a comment and we’ll have a chat – I love speaking with all of you!

Question:  Have you ever moved schools?  If so, what is the most embarassing story you have to share with me?

Soph xx


10 thoughts on “The Big Guide on Moving Schools

  1. This is such a relatable post to me! I’ve moved from germany to england. School was the worst part of it. I didn’t know a bit of english then and I would have to go to extra support. But funnily enough, I am in second set in English now (its been 6 years)!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I moved school once and on my first day I was put into the “cool kids” group. First day there and I get caught setting off the fire alarm then I cried saying “I want my mummy”. I was in year nine. Quickly after that I had no friends 😂

    Liked by 1 person

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