Start of Term Resolutions

The start of Autumn Term, far more than the start of the year, marks a time for new beginnings for school pupils. There is a new year, a new stage sometimes and always the chance for a fresh start and new challenge. So, what advice might we give?

For those starting senior school there are three pieces of advice.

The first is to be organised. Joining a new school, with many more subjects, probably a larger site and most often many more people can be overwhelming. It is crucial to just focus at first on being at the right place, at the right time doing the right thing. Without that basic organisation nothing else will flourish. Parents have a role to play here as well, as they will need to provide a structure of organisation without doing things for their child, who must learn to be responsible. It can be almost as much of a regression as the moment when we had to allow them to feed themselves rather than feeding them when they were toddlers. It is far harder not to do it ourselves, but essential for the next stage of development.

The second is to join in. Be prepared to throw yourself in to whatever activities and opportunities there may be. Be sure to try some new things as well as replicating things you have enjoyed in the past. Joining in is the best way to make friends and, if you are feeling more alone at first in a new school, it is also the way to make the day pass so much more quickly. Education is about far more than the classroom.

Finally, be prepared to be tired and be sure you get enough sleep. This seems a very odd thing to encourage academic success but it is crucial. A senior school day is longer, it will be busier, it will be more physically and emotionally demanding. Add to that all of the emotional energy involved in a big change like going to a new school and you will need some rest.

It is not too late, a few weeks into term, to join if in you haven’t been so far. If the organisation hasn’t been too good, it is never too late to focus on that. With these all sorted out, you can then begin to enjoy all of the opportunities your senior school will offer.


This blog first appeared in The Post. a free newspaper published by The Bolton News

About Philip Britton

Philip Britton is Headmaster of Bolton School Boys’ Division. He was brought up on Tyneside, took a first in physics at Oxford and did teacher training at Cambridge. He worked as physics teacher, Head of Physics and Deputy Head at Leeds Grammar School before moving to Bolton in 2008. In 2010 he was awarded an MBE for services to physics and is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics where he has been much involved in physics education, encouraging teachers to encourage the next generation of physicists.