Changing school

This information is for you if your child is moving to a new school - for example, if you have moved home or if your child is about to start secondary school. It is also relevant to parents wishing to support their child at the start of a new school year.

Moving schools or starting a new school year can be both exciting and anxious times for children. Children face new experiences and opportunities and may need extra support. Parents, carers and family members can help children to prepare for changes and settle in more quickly.

By knowing as much as you can about the school's arrangements, you can help your child to move on smoothly to the next stage in their education. 

How will my child's school help to make sure that transitions go smoothly?

Before the new school year, schools try to make sure you and your child have the right information. You can access the school's handbook. Schools often send out useful details in newsletters or invite parents to meet their child's new teacher and find out more about the school.

You should get information on practical matters, for example timetables, transport and after-school activities. The school should also let you know what your child will be learning, how you can help with their learning and what arrangements the school has for additional support.

How can I help?

To help your child settle in at school, you can:

  • Talk to your child about the changes they are facing and if there is anything they are unsure or worried about.
  • Do a trial run of the journey to school if it is different from (or farther than) before.
  • Help your child prepare by getting everything ready they might need night before, for example uniform, school bag, etc.
  • Encourage your child to take responsibility and organise themselves.
  • Keep a copy of the timetable where it can be easily seen. This will remind your child about days when certain books, or PE kit are needed.
  • Take an interest in what your child is learning and help them. If the school uses a home-school diary or homework diary, make a point of looking at it to see what they are, or should be, doing.
  • Take an interest in new friends they are making. 
  • Encourage them to take part in after-school clubs and activities. These can help your child learn new things in a fun way and increase motivation to learn.
  • Make a note of key school events, for example parents' evenings or afternoons, open days, school sport days.
  • Contact the school immediately if you have concerns or questions.

If your child is moving from primary to secondary school, you may wish to read or download Parenting across Scotland's top ten tips - starting high school

How can I find out more about my child's school?

  • Attend induction events or introductory sessions. They are designed to let you meet teachers and see the environment your child will be learning in. If you cannot attend an event, contact the school and ask if you can go along at another time.
  • Keep in touch with the school and let them know any important information about your child.
  • Make the most of opportunities to share and receive information, for example through attending parents' evenings or events, and ensuring the exchange of contact details such as email addresses.

If you do not receive documents or information about these kinds of events, contact the school office and ask.

Read access information provided by the school, which may include:

  • information leaflets and newsletters
  • school handbook
  • information on the school website
  • information afternoons and evenings
  • induction events
  • details of parents' evenings, which will provide feedback and opportunity for discussion.