Settling In

Moving to secondary school is a big change, this comes with lots of excitement but can also come with some worries. It is normal to be super excited and a little nervous all at the same time. 

Many of you have been visited at your primary school by a member of St George’s school pastoral team, during this visit you would have seen all the amazing lessons and activities you have to look forward to, 

If you were absent or if you are still a little nervous have a look around the Year 6 Transition area.

1. How St George’s Support the Secondary Transfer Process 

Moving up to secondary school is an exciting and important event in the life of all students. Not only do they develop educationally but the move to secondary school marks a change in expectations regarding life-skills such as personal organisation and independent learning. At St George’s we have a wide range of support systems for both  students and parents to make the transition as smooth as possible.

The process begins with Primary visits. All the new year 7 students are visited at their Primary School by one or more teachers from St George’s. We talk to them about what to expect when they arrive and answer any questions they might have. If we are unable to visit because of distance, then the student is invited into school to meet Mrs Darbourne, the transition lead. 

All new Yr 7 students are invited to join our Transition Day at St George's in July. This day gives students a taster of what to expect: a variety of lessons, meeting tutors, moving around school, meeting new friends and teachers and having school lunch. They go home with a variety of work, photographs and experiences. Throughout the day they are accompanied by some of our 6th form prefects who act as guides and escorts and arrange the lunchtime activities. When they return to us in September they are returning to friendly faces they will recognise and a school that they are already beginning to feel familiar with.

In comparison to most of the Primary schools our students come from, St George’s has many more pupils and staff. We know that this can be daunting for our new year 7s which is why on their first day at St George’s in September they will be the only year in school with the familiar faces of the sixth form they met on Transition Day. These sixth formers will act as their guides again, escorting them from lesson to lesson for the first two weeks. No one need worry about getting lost. Every new student will have a year twelve student as their personal mentor for the first term and a half. To begin with they help with familiarising them with daily routines, recording homework and personal organisation. Later on they tackle some research work together and the mentors are always available to help support those students who might find settling a little harder than others. 

We have found that our new students become confident and established very quickly at St George’s allowing them to settle into the right frame of mind and a good working environment with little disruption to their learning. 

2. The Difference Between your Primary and St George’s

  • You might have to travel further, perhaps coming on your own by bus or train for the first time
  • This may be the first time you wear a full or formal school uniform
  • Instead of the one teacher, who has probably known you since you were very young, you will be taught by a dozen or so different teachers and have to get to know a whole range of adults in different roles in the school
  • Our site is much bigger, and you will have to move around the school from lesson to lesson, usually carrying what you need with you 
  • You will have to get used to following a timetable for lessons and homework and using your school planner
  • You will need to be responsible for having the right equipment at the right time in the right place
  • You will have the responsibility of recording, completing and handing in homework on time
  • There will be new lessons such as foreign languages and new rooms to get used to such as science labs and technology rooms
  • What happens in the classroom will be different: you may have to write more frequently and for longer; you may be expected to work on your own more often or be expected to find your own resources
  • Break time and lunchtime are organised differently. You must make sure you get back to lessons on time or to meetings or activities
  • There will almost certainly be a wider range of extracurricular activities and clubs to become involved with.

In general St George’s expects you to be more independent, self-reliant and organised. Certainly a challenge, but a challenge you will meet with our support. 

3. Adapting to a New Routine

All new year 7 students get tired when they first come to secondary school; we have a longer school day, they have a lot to remember and getting around school takes its toll on members of the lower school.  It takes a while to settle into a new routine. Many students enjoy and benefit from a chance to recover from their day with a drink and a snack when they get home before they begin on homework.

We have a long morning at St George’s and don’t break for lunch until 1.20pm.; an hour or so later than most primary schools. This has the advantage of getting the bulk of our day completed before lunch, but students do need to have some kind of drink and snack at break time to keep them going. Many students bring their own with them, but we also have a range of food available to buy at school. 

All food must be consumed in the dining room and not around school otherwise students will receive a consequence. 

Breakfast: in the morning before registration — between 8-10 and 8.30, — students can purchase a drink and a roll filled with bacon, sausages etc. from the kitchen hatch in the dining room.

At break time: Students can purchase a range of refreshments in line with the Government guidelines on food in schools from the kitchen hatch in the dining room such as popcorn as well as fruit and smoothies.
We have chilled water machines that students may help themselves to in the dining room and several drinking fountains around the school.

Students are encouraged to carry a bottle of water with them throughout the day which can be refilled in the dining room or from the water fountains. There are no cups available in school.

4. Respect

The value of respect in school cannot be undersold and to us it means allowing yourself and others to do and be their best. Treating people with respect makes your world a nicer place to live in, whether it's at home, at school, on social media or out in your community. And it's easy - all you have to do is treat people the way you like to have them treat you. 

Here are a few ideas.

   • Use positive language to make people feel better about themselves.
   • Listen to others when they speak.
   • Value other people's opinions.
   • Be considerate of people's likes and dislikes.
   • Accept people the way they are.
   • Share good things about others.
   • Be sensitive to other people's feelings.
   • Encourage others to do what’s best for them.

We live in a diverse nation made up of many different cultures, languages, races, and backgrounds. That kind of variety can make all our lives a lot more fun and interesting, but only if we get along with each other. And to do that we have to respect each other. 

In addition to the list above, here are some ways we can respect  people who are different from us.

   • Try to learn something from the other person.
   • Never make assumptions about people.
   • Show interest and appreciation for other people's cultures and backgrounds.
   • Be prepared to challenge prejudices and racist attitudes.

At St George’s it won’t ever be OK to cause hurt or upset to someone, there will never be a valid reason for it and we will deal with it in school. Make sure that you are an ‘includer’, by actively being someone who sees the outsider and looks to include people. 

Be someone who is good at bringing people in, making them feel a part of things, and encourage those around you to be the same. Have the courage to say, ‘That’s not OK’ and ‘Stop’ or ‘I’m walking away now’, when you see and hear things that you know will hurt or upset someone. 

People sometimes say, if you can’t say something nice, don't say anything. At St. George's we don't agree. We think all of us should find something nice to say! Everyone likes being noticed and praised for who they are or what they do. 

So be an ‘includer’ and create opportunities to make others feel good, not just avoid making them feel bad" 

St George’s is a great school with amazing opportunities for everyone and when you come in September you are joining a community that respects you and cares how you feel.

5. If Things Go Wrong

The majority of students have a thoroughly good time at St George’s. We know this from the ‘Quality of Life Survey’ we carry out with year 7 students at the end of their first term and from the way we see them working and behaving in school. But we do know that not everything runs smoothly all the time.

Falling Out With Friends:
This is very common as children form new friendships, and it takes a little while for everyone to settle into new peer groups with or without those they knew before. Because we draw from such a wide area, and coupled with our boarders, we have quite a number of students who are ‘coming on their own’. We have found from past experience that all our students settle into friendship groups very quickly as so many of them are ‘in the same boat’ so to speak. If you feel that your child is finding it difficult to settle with new friends and they have been unhappy for some time do have a word with your child’s tutor who may well be able to either reassure you or help out. You’d be surprised what a different picture we get at school compared to yours at home sometimes.

We are very determined that students should treat each other properly at St George’s. We have an anti-bullying policy and we apply it. If you feel that your child is having problems that go beyond the normal rough and tumble of school life please let your child’s tutor know so that we can look into it. We are well aware of some students’ reluctance to involve teachers but we are experienced in dealing with bullying and want all our students to feel comfortable at school.

Getting into Trouble:
To be honest we’ve probably all been in trouble at school and survived to tell the tale but to a year 7 student it often feels like the end of the world. Students get into trouble for all sorts of things; things that they apparently have no control over as well as those that they do. It is a rare child who is never in trouble in their entire school career.

Trouble has many guises: 
Forgetting a technology apron or P.E. kit, missing a meeting or detention, not doing or forgetting to hand in homework, rudeness or poor behaviour. Different teachers may well have slightly different views on what constitutes trouble, we’re all human after all, and we all have to learn to work with different people with different views and attitudes, it’s the way of the world.

At St George’s we do what we can to make sure the punishment fits the crime, and most students accept this. We have a range of sanctions at St George’s all of which are recorded in the student’s record:

Lunchtime Detention: 
A detention during the lunch hour; this may be served the same day it is set. Staff would always make sure a student did not miss the chance to have lunch. This will be written on an official detention slip to be signed by the parent, tutor and Head of House 

After School Detention: 
A detention after school: this will be written on an official detention slip to be signed by the parent, tutor and Head of House; students and parents are given at least 24 hours notice of these.

A Head of House or Late Detention: 
The same set up as ‘after school’  but run by senior House staff, particularly for students who are regularly late, Three lates usually leads to a detention.

A Friday Detention: 
This is a long detention of 90 minutes and is run on Fridays after school when everyone else has gone home early. These detentions are run by senior staff. Parents are informed of this via a letter emailed home

Internal Exclusion: 
Students are kept isolated from their peers and classrooms for a set period of time and have work set by their teachers.

Exclusion: students are excluded from school usually for a set period of time and have work set by their teachers.

As you might imagine the last three sanctions are for extreme misdemeanours.

On a more positive note we regularly reward students with merit marks and commendations for their work, effort and behaviour. We would far rather dwell on this than sanctions but students tend not to worry about rewards!

Losing Belongings:
Most students lose something at some time and having everything named helps in retrieving things. Lost property will eventually find its way to our lost property room at the school shop. Students can collect their lost property from the school shop at break and lunchtimes by paying £1.00. (Free the first time)

A list of lost property is posted daily on the shop board. The school shop, manned by friendly and helpful staff, is open daily and stocks a wide range of resources.