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At The Pingle Sixth Form, we are fortunate to work with students from a range of secondary schools around Derbyshire. Through open days, form activities and one-to-one mentoring, we try to make every new starter feel welcome and included. Here Jamie, who joined in Year 12 from William Allitt, shares his thoughts on how to settle in and feel at-home when starting a new school

Whether you’re in year 7 and just starting secondary school, or year 12 and preparing for your adult life, moving to a new school can nevertheless be daunting. Things like making a good first impression or knowing where to sit at lunch can be worrying for everyone. These worries are something experienced by every student. If you’re nervous about speaking to people and fitting in, try to remember all the other people around you are in the same position and will probably appreciate you trying to strike up a connection.

For me joining in year 12, I had never had any experience with the Pingle Academy, so I knew that I would have to get used to a new way of learning as well as an entirely new school environment. However I also wanted to use the change to practise my people skills, and make new friends along the way. A new school can be an opportunity to improve yourself, and I believe is one you should take.

My advice is to engage with the school around you. Don’t be scared to say hello to the person sitting next to you, or ask for directions when you need them. Joining a new school is a chance to increase your confidence in an environment where everyone is doing the same. Don’t be afraid to take part in extra-curricular activities, too, as these are a great way to make new friends and settle in to the school.  You also shouldn’t be afraid to speak to your teachers and take part in lessons. Make a good impression by engaging and working hard. Your teachers aren’t just there for lessons either, they will be more than happy to help you with any questions you have.

Starting at a new school is a chance to take on new challenges. Don’t hesitate to put yourself out there and try your best.

- Jamie Wood, Year 13