Coping with changing schools multiple times

Change and disruption are usually seen a challenge, especially for young children. They perhaps don’t always understand why change is happening and they often don’t have a say in the decision. Changing schools can be distressing for a child, leaving their friends behind and being forced to fit into a brand new environment.

But it doesn’t have to be the negative life event it’s often made out to be.


Changing schools can have huge benefits

Paul Faulkner has had an impressive career. But the former CEO of Aston Villa Football Club faced a lot of disruption as a young child.

“My father worked in the regional newspaper industry, and as his career progressed our family found ourselves moving around the country from paper to paper, with the consequence that I found myself getting used to moving school and being the new boy on a pretty regular basis.

“By the time I was 13, I was starting my sixth school, including my third in that particular year, and while the moves were difficult and not without tears as good friends were left behind, looking back the experience definitely instilled in me an acceptance and comfort with change, and the ability to adapt and to quickly get used to new environments and people.”

Rather than change being a massive issue for Paul, he embraced the challenges and became a natural at adapting. He used sport to overcome being “the new boy”.

“Sport was certainly one device I used to settle into a new school, be that playing or just talking about it. Sport is a great leveller, and team sports in particular a great way to quickly establish new relationships and friendships. A mix of football, rugby and cricket were constants that helped me to adapt swiftly as much else changed around me.”

We interviewed Paul on the Clever Tykes podcast here. It’s a fascinating story with many examples of adapting in order to thrive. From interviewing Paul and several other guests on the podcast, we identified some common childhood influences that shaped their success and a form of change or disruption was one of them.


Change for a young person can be a positive

Changes force us to adapt and adaptation is a crucial skill for almost everyone, especially someone who’s ambitious and maybe considering starting their own business one day. Getting used to change is an opportunity for us to leave old habits behind and reinvent ourselves for the better.

If change is challenging at first, this can only serve to build a child’s resilience, which is another incredibly valuable attribute. Ensure your family understands how to talk through their feelings about change and understand exactly what is causing upset or anxiety. Try to focus on the upsides, excitement and potential opportunties.


Did you change schools and use novel ways of fitting in to a new environment? We’d love to hear from you.