New Students Welcome Page Years 7-12
Welcome to St George’s school, we are really looking forward to you joining us and hope you are as excited as we are. This area of the website is full of information, answering any questions you or your parents might have about joining St George’s school.
New Students Information Pack
- Uniform List
- Equipment Starter Pack - In conjunction with our Teaching and Pastoral staff, we have compiled a list of the essential items required by your child at the start of their school life at St. George’s, covering their academic, artistic, physical and personal needs. As our Resource Shop is non-profit making, the “Starter Pack” groups offer a substantial financial saving to you. Please order as soon as possible using our online ordering site.
tel (Shop Ext): 01582 716271 10.30am– 2.15pm
- Dates Page - key dates for this and the next academic year
- Additional Information - including school hours, Home-School communication and contact numbers.
- IT Platforms - A list of platforms and software used at school.
- Cecil Grant Founders Trust - The Founder’s Trust is a School charity, run by a group of volunteer trustees, which raises funds from the generous donations of St. George’s families. In 2021 we celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Trust. We raise, and donate, about £140,000 per year to the School, to pay for all sorts of essential items that enhance your child’s education. Please use these links for an introduction to the Trust as well as a ‘postcard’ with some further information about our charity, and a direct debit form - please return a completed paper copy of this form to the School (electronic/emailed copies will not be accepted by banks).
- James Marshall Flyer - information on financial help for education.
In addition, Boarders also have the following information:
- Boarding Kit List - Boy's kit list and Girl's kit list
- Boarding House Handbooks - Crosthwaite House (Boys) and Keswick House (Girls)
1. The St George's House System
At St George’s we run a vertical pastoral system organised into four houses: Goddard, Grant, Monk and Watts. All the houses are named after former headmasters and pupils linking us to the rich history and traditions of the school. Although they may just seem a convenient way of organising the school, in reality the houses mean a great deal to all the students and house loyalties are very keen.
We do our best to ‘keep it in the family’ as it were when allocating students to houses. Those with brothers, sisters, parents or grandparents etc. in a particular house will join the same house wherever possible. Other students are allocated a house by induction staff and very quickly develop a house loyalty that’s apparent in all the houses. With a quarter of the school in each house they are closer in size to students’ primary schools and, just as primary heads pride themselves on knowing their students, so too do our Heads of House. Heads of House have a team of tutors running small tutor bases in which students register and work with tutors on studentship skills. We divide these tutor bases into:
- Lower School — Yrs 7 & 8,
- Middle School — Yrs 9, 10, & 11
- Senior School — Yrs 12 & 13.
Tutors will often be your first port of call for any enquiries or requests you might have. Tutors can liaise with teaching staff, SEN staff, other houses, admin staff etc. and put you in touch with the right person if needed. The tutors get to know their students well, they monitor students’ success and any difficulties they may be having and work to provide support when needed as well as sharing and celebrating success.
The house loyalties really come in to play when it comes to house competitions. Throughout the year the houses compete with each other earning points towards the grand prize, the House Endeavour cup. Every event is exciting, the sixth form work hard with organising the lower years and there is a huge sense of camaraderie between everyone whilst still remaining loyal to their own houses; the atmosphere is truly unique. The year of competition includes music, cross country, rugby and lacrosse, chess, drama, art, dance, creative writing, photography, tennis, rounders, football, netball, basketball and many more. It finishes in a nail-biting finale with the athletics on sports day. Everyone is encouraged to take part in something and those not involved in events are there supporting. The house system is a very important part of life at St George’s.
Please use this link for more information on the Day Houses
2. The School Day & Timetable
From September 2022 our school day is changing slightly. Below is the new school day structure.
|MONDAY - THURSDAY||FRIDAY|
|8.30 AM REG||SCHOOL STARTS FOR ALL STUDENTS AT 8.50 AM|
|8.35 TUTOR TIME, ASSEMBLY, CHAPEL|
|8.55 LESSON 1||8.50 LESSON 1 (INCL AM REG)|
|9.55 LESSON 2||9.55 LESSON 2|
|10.55 BREAK||10.55 BREAK|
|11.20 LESSON 3||11.20 LESSON 3|
|12.20 LESSON 4||12.20 LESSON 4|
|13.20 LUNCH||13.20 LUNCH (50 MINS ONLY)|
|14.20 LESSON 5 (INCL PM REG)||14.10 PM REG THEN FRIDAY 5|
|(15.20 FINISH)||(14.50 FINISH)|
At St George’s all our new year 7 students are escorted from lesson to lesson by sixth form prefects for the first two weeks of the autumn term so, hopefully, any geographical problems are resolved then; but it is a large site and there is a lot to get to know.
Key tasks for students
- Get to know your timetable
- Find out where the classroom is for each lesson
- Get to know your teachers
- Do your best to get to lessons and registration on time - especially after break and lunch
- You have a school map in your planner and at the back of this book
3. Homework & The School Planner
Most year 6 students are used to having homework. The amount tends to vary with the time of year, with homework being set most frequently running up to their SATS tests in May (when they happen). Students at St George’s will start to receive homework as soon as they arrive in September, and they can expect up to three subjects a night, occasionally four. Each homework should take approximately 30 minutes. Students will receive a homework timetable at the beginning of September so that they know which subjects to expect on which nights and a homework diary or planner in which to record it.
Key tasks for students
- Fill in your homework timetable (what homework to expect on which days) in your diary/planner
- Get to know how your diary/planner works and fill it in correctly
- Write down your homework when it is set. If none is set write ‘none set’
- Don’t forget to record when it is due to be handed in
- Ask if you are not sure about the task for any reason or if you aren’t clear about what books or equipment you might need to do it
- Make sure you bring home what you need to do the homework
- When you get home use your diary/planner to remind you of what you have to do
- Work by yourself as much as possible and spending the correct amount of time on it
- Ask for help if it is too difficult or you don’t understand something. The sooner your teacher knows you have a problem the sooner it can be sorted out; don’t wait until you’re supposed to be handing it in to tell them about your problem
- Put a line through or colour in your planner when you have finished a homework – so you don’t do it twice!
- Remember to give it in
- Don’t invent silly excuses for not doing it — we’ve heard them all before — be honest and own up
Try to do your homework on the night it is set and not the night before it’s due in because you’ll have three other homeworks on that night and, quite honestly, you’ve probably got better things to do than spend all your free time doing homework that could have been done before.
The St George’s School Planner
More than just somewhere to record homework the St George’s school diary/planner contains dates, subject information, details of how to access the school’s ICT systems, a year planner, school and homework timetable, a map of the school, the structure of the school day, spaces for notes to subject teachers and tutors, spaces for targets and much more. All students receive one free and replacements can be bought from the school shop. Parents are requested to check and sign their child’s prep book every week.
4. School Lunches
St George’s cooks very good school lunches. Every day there will be a selection of hot dishes with vegetables, including a vegetarian option, a salad bar, a baked potato bar, a selection of hot and cold desserts, sandwiches and rolls, soup, fresh fruit or cheese and biscuits.
How to pay for food at school
We run a biometric system (using a digital version of a student’s finger-print) to pay for school lunches, breakfast and break-time snacks. This allows us to run a cash-free system in school and needs to have credit paid into it in advance via the secure Parentpay website. Details of Parentpay are in the joining pack given to the parents of all new students. Students are always reminded to top-up their account if the tills notice they are low. We cannot provide a meal if there are insufficient funds. Please keep your child's account topped up to avoid disappointment. If you are unsure, please contact the school finance office for clarification.
All students are invited to bring a packed lunch if they would like. These should be eaten in the dining room and stored in lockers or racks or school bags till needed.
With so many staff and students to have lunch, St George’s runs a rota system year by year. Year 7 students will leave their last lesson of the morning ten minutes early to have lunch first. This will continue until the last half term of the year. Other years rotate at different times throughout the year.
5. Contact with School
At St George’s we aim to keep you as informed as we can about what is going on at school both socially and academically as well as providing opportunities for you to see staff to discuss your children. As well as the formal occasions we are happy to hear from parents if they have any worries or concerns and, especially pleased, if you’d like to tell us we’ve got it right. In every instance your first contact should be your child’s tutor - by letter, by phone or by email - who can either deal with the matter for you or arrange for the appropriate staff to be involved.
Throughout the year you will receive a variety of communications from school detailing future events; informing you of school trips and visits; giving details of books or equipment your child might need and informing you of meetings taking place. Most of these are communicated through EduLink for which a letter is provided in the first week of school for new starters and automatically added for siblings.
The school maintains contact with home, when necessary, via bulletins which are emailed to families. These provide an overview of events and activities; highlights future events and often makes reference to information that needs to be accessed via the school website. It is essential we have accurate up-to-date details of your e-mail contact address.
The school calendar with the term’s dates — chapel, P.S.A. events, sports fixtures, house events etc. is available on our website— so you know when every event is in plenty of time. Our parents’ evenings are usually run remotely via a Zoom-like system and appointments are limited to five minutes. If however, something comes up that requires longer, staff may suggest to you that you talk on the phone or e-mail at a later date.
Throughout the course of the year parents will receive regular feedback about how the students are working and progressing in all their subjects. There are 4 points of feedback in the year:
- Effort and Attitude grades and tutor comment – Pastoral focus…How are they settling in?
- Parents’ Evening – meeting the teachers and further feedback
- Progress Review, data and comments from all teachers and Head of House – more academic focus / target setting.
- Progress Review, data and comments from all teachers, Tutor – reflective/summative
These are available to parents and students electronically via our Edulink system – details of how to access are always provided at the time.
Should you wish to discuss anything that comes out of any of the reviews on your child, please – as always – make your child’s tutor your first port of call.
6. Absence & Attendance
Please do not arrange holidays or trips in term time.
If your child is likely to be absent for some time due to injury or illness, but is fit to work, please let us know, we will be happy to send work home if appropriate.
If your young person has an unplanned absence e.g. they wake up poorly, please email the house email account at: ‘email@example.com' e.g. Watts@stgeorges.herts.sch.uk
It is vital to put in the subject line absence report this will enable our House staff to have better information in the morning.
Please ensure that in your message you include the exact reason for the absence and the tutor base. E.g. Rose Brown - EJJ - tonsillitis The current absence phone line will still be running for anyone who cannot access online communication on the day (01582 765477)
For planned absences, please also use this email address to request authorisation. Again please give specific information such as reason, dates and times. Please give at least 48 hours notice for this to be processed. E.g. Bob Brown - EJS - university interview at Reading 1.4.22 all day. It is vital to put in the subject line absence request
If your young person is presenting with anxiety or any other form of mental health concerns and cannot attend school, please be open as we can get support to your young person straight away.
All students from year 7 to 11 should sign in and out at Goddard Reception. This is to enable easy pick-up from the coach lay-by and to improve our monitoring of students leaving the site.
It is a parents’ legal responsibility to make sure their child attends school on a regular basis, but also, regular attendance at school is important not only for students’ academic progress but also their relationships with peers and social development.
Most students will have some time off school due to illness, but please try not to let your child get into the habit of time off school for ailments that you and they ‘can’t quite put your finger on’. We take regular attendance at school very seriously and are concerned by any student who demonstrates 90% attendance or less. Should absence or lateness become a regular occurrence, leading to broken weeks, please expect to be contacted by the school to establish the cause and discuss how we may be able to help.
So if you feel that your child is ‘unable’ to come to school on what appears to be more frequent occasions than their peers, or more often than they have in the past, or you have any other concerns about their attendance, do please talk to you child’s tutor as soon as possible. If we keep the channels of communication open then we will be able to work together to resolve or support any problems that may be developing, and sooner is always better than later.
St George’s is different from the other schools in Harpenden; indeed different from most other secondary schools because we are also a state boarding school. This means that as well as the day students we have a percentage of students who board at school in every year group as well. This adds to the unique quality of life at St George’s as we enjoy the contributions of students from a wide range of cultures, communities and countries.
Our boarders have exactly the same experience of day school as everyone else but at the end of the day they return to our two boarding houses, Keswick (for girls) and Crosthwaite (for boys). Just as day pupils enjoy a range of family activities in their homes our boarders also have a wide range of "family” support and activities in the boarding houses after school and at the weekends. Our day and boarder students share a great deal and many lasting friendships between them are struck during their time at school.
If you are a day student make a point of looking out for the boarders in your year and if you are a boarder get to know our day students. After all, wherever you come from you actually have a great deal in common: it’s your first term at St George’s and by mixing with everyone in your House and year, whether you are a day student or a boarder, you will get the best out of your school.
8. Clubs & Activities
Clubs and Activities
We have a huge range of clubs and extracurricular activities for students to get involved in throughout the year. There are a wide selection of sports and music clubs, technology and art, gardening and drama, as well as all the team and sports training, music practices and rehearsal sessions. We really do pride ourselves on there being something for everyone. At the beginning of the year it does take a couple of weeks for staff to set up dates and details for all these, so please bear with us for the first two weeks of the Autumn term. We know students are keen to get involved and opportunities to sign up and join in will begin from the third week of term.
Parents will also be provided with details of what is available for students to get involved in at St George’s. Students will find out about the beginning of clubs and activities via morning messages that they are given every day during morning registration and can then go to the appropriate notice boards and rooms to get details and sign up.
Trips and Visits
Year 7 will have opportunities to join a variety of trips and visits with the school throughout the year, especially during our summer Activities Week. Parents are informed of any trips through our Edulink System. Any payment/consent required should be made through the secure ParentPay system on the internet. As always the finance office can help with any problems you may encounter.