Starting at a new school

People change schools all the time, and it can be hard to adjust to a new place. There are a few things you can do to make it easier. It helps to be patient, and to have someone to talk to.

This could be for you if you...

  • are about to change schools 
  • have just started at a new school 
  • you want to make more friends at your new school 
  • miss your old mates 
  • want to talk to someone about changing schools
high school boy studying

Changing schools

Most people have to start at a new school at least once when they're young – going from primary to high school. Lots of people change more than once. Maybe it's because their parents moved, maybe they had problems with their old school, or maybe they/their family just decided they needed to change. Either way – at some point you have to go through starting at a new school.

A Rough Ride

It's normal to feel weird and different at a new place, and to miss your old friends. Other things that could bother you are:
  • having to learn a different school layout
  • missing your old friends 
  • feeling shy or nervous about talking to new people 
  • being drained from adjusting to all this new stuff 
  • being bullied by people who want to pick on the new kid. (See our 'How to stop a bully' fact sheet for info on stopping bullying).

Making it easier


The first few weeks at your new school are probably going to be bumpy, just because you're new. But there are things you can do:
  • Do what you like. Whether it's playing music, sports, writing, drawing or anything else, there'll be someone who's into the same things as you.
  • Talk to people. They're curious about you anyway because you're new, so if there's someone you like, have a chat with them.
  • Keep in contact with your old friends – just because you're not seeing them every day doesn't mean you can't stay close.
  • Find an outlet. If you've got some way of expressing what's happening for you – a journal, writing songs, playing sports or talking to someone – it'll make the move easier.
  • Be patient. It can be pretty annoying to have to learn all of the people, places, teachers and subjects again from scratch. But things will fall into place for you at your new school if you give them time.

Find an ally

If all of the changes are getting to you, find someone to tell about it. This person could be a friend from your old school, a family member, a counsellor or a doctor. Chatting with someone who's a bit more distant from your situation can help.
If you would prefer to talk to someone anonymously give Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800) or (Lifeline 13 11 14) a call. They have counsellors available 24 hours a day.

What can I do now?

Last reviewed: 16 February, 2014
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