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Starting Y7 not knowing anyone in your class(23 Posts)
DD will be doing this tomorrow. I think it's for the best (her primary BFF could be unkind sometimes), but when they sent the class list around, everyone had at least someone from their primary school.
Please tell me your positive experiences.
I was in a similar situation and just remember everyone running off to class and me being left with an extremely timid girl who never returned to any school at all!
Our school puts a lot of effort into helping the new starters mix outside their old primary schools. Normally they try to have at least one familiar face in the tutor group. However if someone is 'alone' that is flagged up to the tutor.
Arm your DD with some opening gambits:
- 'my name is X what's yours'
- 'wow this is weird isn't it'
- 'I liked Mrs X did you'
- 'can I come to lunch with you'
Everyone will be feeling strange, especially this year. The first few days are ideal for getting to know new people. They may look all confident, but they probably won't be.
This happened to me. I was put in a form class with one girl from my primary who I had barely spoken to the whole time and who was known for being quite badly behaved. I was probably a bit scared of her tbh. It just encourages me to make sure I talked to different girls. I wasn't particularly confident but I knew even then that I had to pretend that I was, and just start conversations with friendly looking people. Be sure to make plans to meet up somewhere with them at break and lunch. It worked out quite well. I also used to see my old friends on the bus home.
I've also worked specifically with year 7s for around 8 years and seen lots of children arrive on their own and find their people. In normal circumstances, she would be mixing with different people in different classes throughout the day. I'm not sure how Covid will affect that this year.
The main thing to keep in mind is that everyone, even if they do know some people from primary, is hoping to make new friends (or should be, if they've any sense). It's kind of like going to a singles night, so she should find people more receptive to chatting new faces.
Yes DS did this and it was his choice. He had extra settling in days and soon got to know people. It wasn’t easy at first but now he has a good bunch of friends. Joining extra curricular clubs was helpful. Friendship groups all changes quite quickly and several times in the first year!
My dd started y7 knowing nobody at all in the school and she was absolutely fine. I was nearly sick when she was having her first day imagining all sorts of terrible scenarios but she had a lovely time. And this wasn't some leafy suburb secondary either. It was one that had been closed down for being so bad and reopened with a new name.
I imagine there will be lots more time spent with just your year group this term, they will probably get to know one another even quicker than normal.
Something that helped her (and me!) was watching one of those Educating Manchester series. It got her to understand that these people weren't just a huge mass of faceless terrifying people. They were just children with their own stuff going on.
Remember that just because the other children are in with someone from their primary school doesn't mean they are friends with said person, and this may not really be an advantage (it may be a disadvantage if they cling to someone they don't like just out of familiarity).
DD went up from primary school with about 15 girls she would happily have been in a class with. Instead she ended up in a class with none of these and with 2 girls from her primary school she didn't really know (in one case) and didn't like (in the other case). She ended up making up a friendship group with 3 other girls, all from different schools. They are still close now (starting Year 10)
I liked TeenPlus's opening gambits. I sent them to my friend. Her DD (same age as my Ds2) is starting at an independent today.
I agree with Teen that the teacher will most likely be aware that she is not with her friendship group and there will be others in similar situation. Like RedSky my DD started year 7 not knowing anyone in her form apart from the queen bee from her primary and she had to make new friends. We suggested she learn the other girls' names quickly and say "hello Name" every morning or in any classes she shared with them and to just be brave and ask if she could join their group at break or lunch. The first couple of days she hated being out of her comfort zone but we kept encouraging her to use the name tactic and look open, smiley and friendly and it worked but it took us as her parents to keep communication open with her. If anyone bitches about anyone tell your DD to keep out of it and be noncommittal to any opinions on being catty etc. Get her to sign up to any after school clubs so she meets a wide range of students.
This was my DD last year. I won't lie - year 7 is hard - especially the first term. But as pp have said, girls who knew other people were very keen to make new friends. I did a lot of talking about the sort of things to say to open conversations and DD realised you had to put a 'game' face on each day even if you weren't feeling that way - no one wants to chat to someone who looks miserable.
Anyway she has a lovely group of friends now and when we were chatting the other day about it, she said she was actually glad she didn't join with girls from primary school because she wouldn't have made such an effort to get to know new people otherwise. Such wisdom!
If anyone bitches about anyone tell your DD to keep out of it and be noncommittal to any opinions on being catty etc.
Definitely. There can be a lot of drama. Best to stay out of it.
My DS who is going into Y9 was exactly the same. He opted away from the enormous feeder school and choose a smaller out of catchment school with only two girls from his class getting a place. I was so worried for the few days thinking had we done the right thing, imagining him being lonely walking around school at lunch not speaking to anyone..... it was the complete opposite! He joined a few lunchtime clubs and after school clubs and got to know other children.There will also be other children in the same situation. It did take until around Christmas time to actually find the right friends for him as he was in and out of some groups. Now he has four really close friends that are great boys who meet up at weekends. It made him come out of his shell, use his own judgement and grow in confidence.
My (very shy) DD used “do you want to sit with me until your friends get here?” With anyone she ever saw alone in any of her classes or at lunch. They then started conversation (which took the onus off her) and introduced her to their friends. She’s now starting y9, has 50+ good friends and around 10-12 “best” friends and is never alone- a huge achievement for someone who’s always been really shy and struggled to talk to anyone she doesn’t know.
My boys' primary school had a rather high turnover of kids for much of the time DS1 was there and a lot of his friends seemed to move from year to year. Although some of his year must have gone to the same secondary school as it's one of the two most kids do go to, when he started secondary he didn't have established friends in his class or even year group, and when I took him to the pre start summer school week (in 2018) it seemed as if a lot of the kids were in well established friendship groups from primary.
Initially after school clubs seemed a bit of a disappointment - there was only one that appealed and I think it was mostly girls and the teacher running it had to do detentions for forgotten PE kit first (!) but by the end of the first term he was meeting up with a group of kids to walk to school all of 5 minutes walk away, and he has a variety of friends now - most live quite close and they play football. Not all of them are in his class but he also has other friends who are. I've discovered at least two are are boys I met as babies with their mums at local baby groups and things.
DS1 is more confident than DS2 who is about to join him at secondary, whose main friend at primary is going off to a different place, but hopefully he will also find some kids he gets along with.
DS did this last year. He went to a secondary where no one from his school was going. He did have three days transition which helped, but the school are very specific on who goes in which form and he found his people on the first day. A group of five lads, all very similar to each other, they bonded immediately and have remained friends to date.
Try not to worry, she'll soon hit it off with some one.
I went to 3 primaries in 2 different countries. I started 2 without knowing a word of the language spoken (arabic and english) and managed just fine.
My son went to 3 primary schools, and then started secondary, so 4 new setting with no friends and the first one without English skills. He is just fine.
We are both introverts, so it did take him a year or so to make friends, but it happened.
She'll be fine.
ps. any teacher pairing attempted failed miserably in our case
Both my sons did this, went to a school that none of their primary school went to. They make friends or at least acquaintances easily. Lots of children are in the same boat or in the class with a child from their primary who they don't necessarily like.
They were say alphabetically in form, my son sat next to a nice kid who had friends in other classes so he just sort of stuck with him and then they met up at break etc with the group from the boy's primary. They had made new friends too so the group just kept expanding and then breaking off into smaller groups of about 6 but they were all still stood around together.
My sons are now in years 13 and 10! It is daunting but school try hard to help forge friendships, get her to join some clubs to find like minded people. Even Ds2 who is err, quirky? found a group of friends just like him, there are about 5 or 6 of them, very tight knit. Your DD will be fine. But yes it is terrifying as a parent
I was this person in year 7 and again in year 9 when we moved and that school did a three tier system.
There will be other children that don't know anyone and all won't know everyone. It will be a few schools coming together and everyone is in the same boat. I remember being nervous and I remember straight away being accepted into someone's small group with no issues. A child would have to be a real psychopath to be a dick on the first day and then they'll just know to stay away.
Amazing advice about icebreakers and opening lines.
It will be ok 👌🏻
I changed school every 12-36 months my entire education. I was the new kid :-) Often I'd be in a new country too, once or twice I didn't even speak the language. I learnt to get along with just about anyone. The trick is to hang back a bit and check people out before trying to strike up friendships. It's easy to just want to 'belong' but in the long run, being friendly to everyone and then finding your niche works out so much better.
I used to say to my daughter when she was younger that friends are a bit like ice-cream flavors: You need to try LOTS of different ones to find your favorite. Your DD is perhaps a little old now for that analogy but it's a good one to live by with friends.
My daughter's about to go into year 7 at a school where she doesn't know a soul. They had this sport mixer today and for various reasons we were 2 hours late. Everyone was already there... she was almost hyperventilating as we walked there - everyone was going to stare / hate her etc. As we approached, I told her to plaster on her biggest smile and just say hi to the first person she saw. She looked at me as if I had a turnip growing out of my forehead, but for want of anything else to try she did it. She was beaming when I picked her up later.
Have her have some ice-breakers, some fun stories about the summer hols and make sure she smiles (whether she feels like it or not).
DS was the only one from his school in his class. He loved it. It gave him the chance to make more friends, alongside the ones he did know from school.
A friend of his went to a very small primary school - less than 50 in the whole school! His year 6 class was about 12 children. He was not only the only one from his school in his year 7 class, he was the only one from his school in the whole of the secondary school! He's settled in really easily.
The thing is that there will be others in a similar position. Most secondary schools have a lot of primaries feeding into them.
I hope it went well for her.
DD1 started Y7 not knowing anyone in Y7 whatsoever - she was the only one from her primary school who got a place there. We practised a few friendly phrases with her along the lines of those already suggested and encouraged her to say hello and/or smile at others with the aim of being friendly. Trying to be friendly rather than trying to 'make friends' redirected some of her nervousness and seems to have turned out OK. She's heading into Y11 now with a close-knit group of friends and a far larger group that spans different tutor groups and years.
How did your DD get on, DoingItForTheKid? Mine was in the same shoes as yours starting this week, but she bounced home today saying she'd made two new friends. I think in the long run it's healthier for them to make friends beyond primary. Two DC from her school who were BFFs have been put in the same class and they're sticking together like glue and it's a shame because they'll miss out on creating a wider circle for themselves.
She did great, thank you for asking. She walks part way home with a new friend, and other girls have asked for her number.
So glad she has made a fresh start.
The anxiety was all mine!
DoingItForTheKid Glad she's settling in! I really do think a fresh start is helpful.
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