" We have received more support in the last four weeks than the six years he was at Primary School."
- Year 7 Parent, September 2021
1:1 Transition meetings
We know that transitioning to secondary school can be a challenge and can be a daunting prospect for students and their families. There is a lot of information to know, new uniform to purchase and different systems to get used to.
To support those joining us in September we hold 1:1 meetings with each student and their family. An experienced member of staff will contact the family with the details on how to book a virtual appointment. The purpose of this meeting is to get to know the student and their family, to make the student feel comfortable and welcome and also to address any worries or concerns prior to starting.
Secondary school is a completely different environment and there are many changes students have to get used to. It can be daunting to arrive at a bigger school, particularly if students are arriving on their own and do not know other students. Our taster days are a great opportunity for our students to make those key friendships that are so important at this early stage. Taster days also allow students to try out different lessons and meet key members of staff.
For students who have identified SEND, the 1:1 meeting with be with a member of the SEND department where possible. All teachers are trained and experienced in supporting students with SEND but we feel that the best support and advice can be given from those who work within this department.
First Day of Year 7
From finding your way to different classrooms, to reading a timetable on a daily basis, it can be overwhelming moving to secondary school. Whilst some of our students who arrive in September have visited the Academy or have siblings who attend already, others may not have had this opportunity. This is why our first day back at the Academy is just for staff and year 7 students. We run a bespoke timetable on this day to allow us to build in lots of practise at getting used to new systems. We educate students on using our online packages for homework, and we show them how to read their timetable and find their way around the Academy. Students meet their mentor group and get to know each other so that they get off to a great start.
Year 7 Gate
Each year group has their own gate where they enter and exit the Academy. In the morning, it is always Miss Smith and/or Mr Blackford on gate duty so that students have a familiar, friendly face to greet them. This is also a key opportunity to check in with students, and a time where we can speak to parents if there are any concerns.
Year 7 break/lunch area
Year 7 students have an allocated outdoor area where they are able to spend their breaks and lunches. Year 7 share this area with year 8 students, allowing them to make friends in other year groups. They are also free to eat their food in the canteen, where they would mix with year 8 and 9 students. There is always a member of staff on duty in both of these areas wearing a fetching high-vis jacket so students know who to come and speak to if there are any issues.
Director of Learning Virtual Information Evenings
We run online information evenings on Zoom before students start in September, and a few weeks into Terms 1, 3 and 5. This is to address queries with parents and students such as uniform, mentors, online homework platforms, uniform, clubs and trips. Prior to each evening, we ask for any questions via an online form so that we can address these during the meeting.
Year 7 Hub
We are so lucky to have one of the biggest classrooms in the school as a year 7 and 8 hub area. This is the office for the year 7 and 8 pastoral teams and where students can come and speak to us if there are any issues throughout the day. We also run student leadership meetings here and are able to host groups of students who prefer a quiet space at breaks and lunches.
Sharing a hub with the year 8 team means that we able to run a smooth transition for our year 7 students into year 8. We communicate with the team on a daily basis about key students and support the families in making this transition between year groups.