Transition into the school takes place under exceptional circumstances. Unlike many secondary schools, we do not have a small cluster of feeder schools. Indeed, a survey revealed that in a recent year 7 cohort we had pupils coming from as many as 75 different schools, over 30 of which of which were providing only one pupil. We hope that the staged, managed process, which has taken place in the twelve months since the open evenings, will have made the transition as easy as possible.
So, over twelve months after those open evenings, you finally join the school. You will be experiencing conflicting emotions: pride, anticipation, anxiety, fear. Do not worry – everyone, teachers included, feels the same on the first day! You are not alone.
That is not the end of the transition process; it is merely a beginning. From the first day, your experience is carefully supported:
- a dedicated pastoral support team, including form tutors, Heads of House, Head of Key Stage, Deputy Heads and Head Teacher, will oversee your personal, curricular and extra-curricular experience;
- at the start of term all other pupils make a delayed return to school to allow you to settle in;
- the first day is dedicated to your induction, with a form period to allow you a period of acclimatisation;
- all pupils are allocated their own locker and given a weekly planner to help them develop skills of personal organisation;
- the onset of homework is delayed until the second week to allow a period of adjustment;
- a parents' information evening in September allows parents to meet with form tutors and review the transition period;
- the three-day residential visit to Weardale in September / October helps to develop relationships and to build a form / year group identity;
- a personal interview for all pupils with a senior member of staff around the end of the first half-term will allow further review of the pupil’s perception of the transition;
- the PSHE programme supports the transition with elements on changes, new experiences, study skills, personal organisation, bullying.
No matter how much support is provided, problems will occur. Do not hesitate to bring your problems to the attention of a member of the pastoral team, in the first instance the form tutor via planner, letter or phone call.