Our school is in the unusual yet valuable position of welcoming Year 6 students into a senior school. We take this rare opportunity to enhance their school life by offering a wide range of subjects and facilities that Year 6 students don’t normally experience. This helps to ensure they are fully prepared for senior school life. However we are also mindful that they are still of primary school age and adapt our teaching accordingly. Students who join us in Year 7 are quickly integrated into the School. This is helped by our relatively small class sizes and year group so that teachers get to know the students as individuals.
We offer a variety of occasions when students can experience school life in Year 6 and Year 7. These range from the Open Day in the Autumn Term, ‘Experience the Dixie’ days throughout the year as well as other events like taster days, an Orchestral Day, PE day and a Science Day. On the formal induction day in the summer term, current Year 5 students spend the Day experiencing a range of the subjects we offer for Year 6 students including Design and Technology and Home Economics. Potential new Year 7 students spend the day with our current Year 6 students following their typical day and hopefully making new friends. When students join the School, we ensure they feel comfortable and familiar with their surroundings as quickly as possible. New Year 7 students will be allocated a fellow student from their form, who was at the school in Year 6, to make sure they are helped to settle in.
There are currently two forms of students in both Year 6 and Year 7. The day to day care of each form is undertaken by the Form Teacher and they are supported in this role by a group of Assistant Form Teachers when required. The Year 6 and Year 7 pastoral team is led by the Head of Lower School who will deal with issues not resolved at Form Teacher level. Members of the sixth form are also allocated to specific forms and students to support further these younger members of the school in a weekly form time and as a source of advice. In addition, Year 6 currently have a form period included in the time-table when the Form Teacher can discuss general issues like organisation and homework.
Early in the first term, parents of new students are invited to the school one evening to talk informally to the pastoral team and some of the students' teachers. Later in this first term we have a more formal parents' evening when parents can discuss specific issues with Form Teachers, the Head of Section as well as subject teachers. If parents have more immediate pastoral concerns, then Form Teachers are very approachable and will respond to enquiries or phone calls as soon as possible. Staff in our section are very proud of the high level of care we provide to all our students. We try our best to deal sympathetically and positively with the pastoral issues that occur so that all the students can enjoy our school experience.
To keep parents up to date with their child’s progress, grades for both attainment and effort in all subjects are produced each half term (except the Summer half term). This is also an opportunity to celebrate students’ achievements and set targets for future improvements. In addition two sets of written reports are issued annually as well as the formal parents’ evening.
We also reward high standards and endeavour in all aspects of school life by a system of credits. These credits build up towards Bronze, Silver and Gold Certificates and even the prestigious Platinum Shields.
All students have an individual Student Planner that they bring to school every day and take to each lesson. This helps students organise their school activities including homework. It is also used to record credits, targets and general reminders. The planner has plenty of space to provide written communication between home and school. We firmly believe that an effective three way partnership between student, home and teachers is essential if students are to reach their maximum potential both academically and in the widest sense of education.
Beyond the Classroom
All students are allocated to one of the two houses - York or Lancaster. There are a series of friendly competitive events throughout the year, for example swimming gala, cross-country and sports day when students earn points for their House. We strongly encourage all our students to get involved in the wide range of extra- curricular activities we offer whether sports, music or leisure and gain our Participation Award. Students also get the opportunity to go on a wide range of trips varying from the theatre, cultural visits and Science events as well as a 4 day outdoor activity trip for Y7 students (link to residential trip photos).
In summary, our staff try to ensure that all our students in Lower School enjoy their time with us, achieve their potential and develop into well-mannered and confident young people ready for the next part of their school life.
Head of Lower School: Dr S Ketchion e-mail: email@example.com or Tel. 01455 292244