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Teachers and Parents - Question for you please about changing schools

(19 Posts)
Earlybird Fri 29-Aug-08 18:54:26

DD's school is reviewing how new students (and their families) are welcomed into the school community. They realise changes need to be made, and have asked for ideas/suggestions. Of course, my thoughts turned to the Mumsnet 'sisterhood' for advice...

Does your school/class do anything to welcome and/or integrate new pupils? If so, could you please describe?

Am interested in hearing about activities (orientation, team building, social events etc) for 'normal' entry points (reception, moving primary to secondary, etc), but also would like to hear about any activities for new students who join in 'odd' years (ie non-traditional entry points).

Is anything particular done to introduce/involve new parents?

Thank you.

katch Fri 29-Aug-08 23:53:05

My son and another boy joined a private school in year six, and I was really impressed when they organised a team building/ Outward Bound type day in the 2nd week.

We've moved school twice, but have never experienced anything for new parents other than the general information evenings.

Earlybird Sat 30-Aug-08 16:22:55

katch - can you elaborate on what sort of Outward Bound things your ds did?

nooka Sat 30-Aug-08 16:38:20

We joined a new school here in the States (in May) and whilst the school was very welcoming they didn't do anything special for either us or the children. dd's teacher made quite a big (overt) effort an she settled in quickly, ds on the other hand went in and came out very happy on his first day, and then came down with a bump after that because he really struggled to get anyone to be friendly with him. He is not looking forwards to going back next week

The kids will be going to a new school in a month or two as we have to leave the States. Anything that would make them feel welcome would be great, I think, especially things that would help them break into established friendships. A pack would be nice for us, with all the informal rules of the school, contact details for the PTA ect.

MABS Sat 30-Aug-08 16:55:00

dd and ds did teambuilding at new school last week,yr 3 and yr 9 (independent school). Climbing challenge, massive treasure hunt, swim party, ready steady cook tem event, krypton factor thing,

Anna8888 Sat 30-Aug-08 17:02:12

At my sister's children's school the children do half-days for the first week of term and there are mother-and-child activities in the afternoon at school so that everyone gets to know everyone else.

Earlybird Sat 30-Aug-08 17:07:07

Anna - how old are the children? What happens if the Mum works outside the home?

Anna8888 Sat 30-Aug-08 17:10:57

Children are 4, nearly 7 and 10.

Not many mothers work outside the home as it's an international school with lots of expats and changing families. That's why they do so much integration work at the start of term - so the children settle in as quickly as possible.

Mothers are very much solicited by the school all through the year.

SqueakyPop Sat 30-Aug-08 17:11:51

We do lots of things.

First of all, all new pupils come into school the day before everyone else for just the morning for an orientation.

Each Y11 girl is a 'guardian angel' to all the Y7s and any other new girl in the senior school. They are there to mentor the younger girls.

We have a U6/Y7 Together Day a few weeks into the year, where the two year groups do fun activities together

Everyone goes into a House (completely different from their forms), and we have lots of house activities, including a netball tournament and singing competition very early on in the year.

We have a Friends of the school to involve new parents, and have one or two keen parents who are happy to plan coffee mornings and meals out. The official school activities that include parents tend to fall in the summer term, so this is probably an area where we could improve.

Earlybird Sat 30-Aug-08 17:12:53

Interesting. Would love to know what sorts of activites Mums/children do together/with each other?

Dd's school is not good at this, and want to get better.

Anna8888 Sat 30-Aug-08 17:15:09

I don't know that much about it. Maybe you could get in touch with the school - it's the International School of Amsterdam - after the new term is underway?

Earlybird Sat 30-Aug-08 17:25:37

Squeakypop - all sounds very positive and oriented toward community building for students and parents. Sorry to ask for so many details, but would be most interested to hear about official and unofficial activities for parents - both over the summer and during the school year.

The more specific ideas I can gather, the more we can consider what we might like to integrate into dd's school - who are very keen on parental involvement for volunteering and giving, but not so good at community building.

SqueakyPop Sat 30-Aug-08 17:46:57

I will let you know! Although I am an existing teacher, I am also a new parent of a Y7.

DH & I attended an information evening in June where we learnt all sorts of practical info and met key people. That's all I know about official school activities. The next things will be parent-teacher meetings. I could get involved in a PTA role, but I don't think I will (I would if arm-twisted )

I received a letter from another parent informing me of summer get togethers, where I had to phone up to find out the details. Unfortunately, with my superlative home admin skills, I lost the letter and so have not called. I am a bit ambivalent because I am the Y7 form tutor to the form that my DD is not in. I am not sure what socialising would be like. I don't think parents would corner me about their dds, but they may judge me otherwise. My DD is DC #3 so I am pretty much over actively wanting to build new relationships and with having the inside knowledge at school, I am fairly content to be on the social sidelines.

katch Sat 30-Aug-08 18:17:08

Earlybird - sorry I disappeared. Can't remember the name of the organisation, but my son went on a team-building day in the Forest of Dean.

Earlybird Tue 02-Sep-08 15:50:01

Can completely understand the lack of urgency to 'integrate' socially if your on dc #3 at the same school.

Would be interested to hear specifically what activities children do on team building days. And are these single sex schools, or boys and girls? In fact, what sort of team building activities could be done for boys and girls together in the same year?

BodenGroupie Sat 06-Sep-08 14:21:09

DD1 did two day activity course at Calshot near Southampton in first term of year 7. Loved it and made new friends - and she's certainly not a sporty type. However, I felt that the school let down new kids (particularly those from non-feeder schools) with poor admin/communication. DD2 started at new school yesterday (year 10) and got left in reception for an hour.....She's supposed to have a mentor from the year above but nothing has happened yet (even though she specifically requested a fit boy wink ).

Are you looking at individual kids starting, or entire new classloads?

Littlefish Sat 06-Sep-08 14:40:56

Earlybird - not sure if this is what you're after, but at a previous school, if you had a new child start in your class, the headteacher gave the classteacher half a day out of the class to look through any paperwork from the previous school, spend some one-to-one time with the child, and meet with the parent.

This worked really well and made sure that the teacher had all the right information to ensure a smooth start for the child and their parents. It also meant that the parent had an early opportunity to meet the teacher and spend time with them talking about their child's needs, the way the class was organised etc. rather than having to wait for a parents meeting, or just pick up information on the hoof.

It was a big financial undertaking by the school as a supply teacher was brought in to cover the class. Once of the reasons we did it because our assessment data showed us that the children who were underachieving were those who transferred into the school after Reception. This process helped to support new starters in a very practical way by making sure their teacher was fully informed!

sunnydelight Mon 08-Sep-08 05:55:01

I don't know if you ever get people from overseas, but I would say (if you really want to be nice) that an overview of the system and the day to day practicialites of being a parent of a child at the school would be very much appreciated.

We moved to Oz last year and it's the little things, like not knowing that ALL communication should be done via the home/school record book and it isn't socially acceptable to ask for "a quick word" after school without an appointment, that stressed me out. I still don't understand the whole lunch order thing, and DS2 missed the swimming carnival as it looked from the info that the shortest race he could enter was 100m (nobody had told me about the "lizard lane").

Probably only a teensy proportion of your new starters but I assure you they would be grateful grin

tilbatilba Mon 08-Sep-08 06:20:26

When my dcs started school in Australia each was given a buddy. That buddy was 2 grades higher and looked out for them in the playgroundetc, did a weekly activity with them, wrote them letters etc. My dc's adored their buddies!
For the parents the class rep organised regular coffee mornings, the odd lunch and a dinner most terms where both parents could attend.
At the very start of the school year we were all invited to a picnic at school on a Saturday.That was a great way to meet everyone while the kids played. We just all brought a rug and a picnic and the school organised a group of older children to play music.

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