June 21

Change can be problematic, but also positive!

Change can be challenging for adults and children alike. Some people cope better than others or indeed relish it but for some change can be a problematic experience. We recognise this at school and managing change forms an explicit part of our PSCHEE curriculum. Of course we are now approaching the point in the academic year when the girls will be getting ready for their new year groups and teachers; a significant move for them all and a very real example of change in action.

A parent recently asked me why we re-configured our classes every year, questioning the value of adding another layer of unfamiliarity to the process of moving to a new teacher. For us as a school this is a step which we see as a very positive opportunity, giving the chance to achieve the best chemistry with-in a class. We look for a balance of age, maturity, ethnicity and language; if there has been an elder sibling we will usually try to follow the same teacher as there will be an established family relationship. There is no priority on any of these elements and we look for the best fit for every child.

Friendships are important so teachers ask every girl to name three or four girls they would like to be with. Of course we know that the younger the pupil, the more likely she is to list the classmates in her line of vision when the question is posed! Frequently and happily the response is “I like everyone". The exercise is not a waste of time; it often serves to reassure parents who are concerned about a move away from “best friends” who strangely do not feature in their daughters’ lists! Sometimes the move seems harder for parents who find good friends they have made, having their children in the parallel class. As I said – change can be hard for adults too.

Where all things are equal, we will always try to take into account parental views but rest assured, every teacher takes the process very seriously indeed. It provides the girls with an excellent, early exposure to managing change in a well-supported environment. They make new friends, maintain old ones and by the time they reach Year 6 they have a wide social network, avoiding the trap of cliques. As an example of how positively the girls regard the process, a few years ago we did not change two year groups because of changes in staffing over the year – the girls were hugely disappointed telling us that they loved looking forward to seeing who they would be with and making new friends.

So embrace change, trust your teachers to know your girls and look forward to the excitement of the new in September.

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