Making a successful and happy move from Primary to Secondary School.
A message from Mr Harrison- Head of Lower School
Hello and a very warm welcome to lower school! My name is Richard Harrison and I am delighted to say that I am Head of Year 7 at Wales High School. I have a wealth of experience in pastoral care, as well as being a full time History teacher and I am really looking forward to supporting you and your child at such a crucial stage of their school career.
The transition to secondary school is an extremely important time for students, both in terms of academic achievement as well as building the “whole” person. Therefore, I am pleased to say that the Year 7 Pastoral Team are on hand to support your child at every step of the way, to ensure that they settle in to high school life as smoothly and easily as possible.
I value the importance of establishing a routine during the first weeks of term and have high expectations of every student. I would like to emphasise that punctuality and attendance play a very real part in academic success. Similarly, wearing the correct uniform quickly establishes the year group identity and sense of cohesion. Also, in addition to having an excellent attitude to learning in their lessons, all students are encouraged to join in the wide range of clubs and activities that we are lucky enough to offer here at Wales High School.
Finally, I believe that the key to a successful year is open communication between staff, students and parents/carers – by working together we can achieve so much! Therefore, please don’t hesitate to contact me at [email protected] should you have a question about any part of your child’s transition. I look forward to meeting you and your child in the coming weeks.
The transition from Primary to Secondary school can be both unsettling and exciting; for pupils and parents alike. It is important to us that Year 6 students feel confident about their move to Wales High School. We provide a wide range of transition activities which enable all pupils to get to know Wales High School staff and explore our exciting school facilities. Our transition activities also give staff from the learning community the opportunity to work together; learning from each other to develop exciting educational experiences.
Although there are opportunities throughout primary school to experience Wales High School, the formal induction process starts a year in advance when your son or daughter starts Year 6 in September. Our Transition Team will visit staff and students in their primary schools, listening to their teachers and support staff about individual student needs. We pride ourselves on the relationship we have with our Learning Community and work closely with local schools to support our Year 6 pupils.
At Wales High School our programme of induction includes;
At the end of September we invite all interested pupils and parents to attend our annual Open Evening. Following a presentation from our Headteacher, Mr Di’Iasio, families have the opportunity to tour the school and visit each department. Wales High School prides itself on the displays and interactive experiences on offer during the evening – it shouldn’t be missed! If you are unable to attend the Open Evening visits can be arranged at alternative times. To arrange a visit please call the school on 01909 771291 to book an appointment.
In January, Mr Harrison will visit each feeder Primary School to introduce himself and talk to Year 6 pupils about Wales High School. The aim of the visit is to set aside any worries Year 6 pupils may have by talking about what to expect and introducing a group of ‘Transition Ambassadors’ who will act as peer mentors to befriend and help support them through this important process. The Year 6 students have the opportunity to ask questions and find out about their exciting new school. All non-catchment pupils will have the chance to visit in the summer for a similar talk once places have been confirmed. Should you wish to visit earlier please do not hesitate to contact us.
Throughout the Spring Term, all Year 6 pupils and primary school staff are invited to Wales High School for an ‘Orienteering Challenge’. This event enables students to visit the school and get to know our school site. Year 6 pupils have a series of challenges/ areas to find around the school site which is supported by staff at Wales High School and our Transition Ambassadors. This is offered to all students who have a place at Wales High School.
In the Summer Term, Year 6 students who come to us from schools in small numbers, or where their class teacher has recommended they may benefit from some extra sessions in school, attend additional sessions run by Mrs Owen. This gives them an opportunity to make friends, familiarise themselves with staff and gain more confidence in and around the school building. If you feel your child would benefit from this additional support please do not hesitate to contact either Mr Harrison or Mrs Owen. In addition, the school will offer a range of additional opportunities and initiatives throughout the year.
PARENT INDUCTION EVENING
Parents and carers are invited for an Induction Evening to meet key staff including Mr Di’Iasio (Headteacher), Miss McCall (Deputy Headteacher) and Mr Harrison (Head of Year 7), to hear about how they can be involved with the school and to discuss any concerns. We will discuss the plans for the two week induction period and discuss bus routes.
In July, all Year 6 pupils join us for the last week of the Summer Term. The week is designed as the final part of the induction process which enables students to set aside any concerns they may have before the summer holidays. Over the two week period students experience the school at its best and attend a wide range of lessons, participate in International Day and experience our Summer Fair. Year 6 pupils will also be invited to participate in, and watch, Sports Day. One particular highlight will be a 24 hour team building residential with activities designed to help pupils find new friends and get to know each other. All pupils will be involved in a programme of adventure activities in the countryside, led by a team of qualified instructors and Wales High School staff.
Year 6 tutor evening
At the start of the second induction week we invite all Year 6 parents for an appointment with their child’s tutor to discuss any concerns. This is an important time for parents and tutors to get to know each other and begin the home-school partnership that will be so important in supporting your children. In addition, Mr Harrison (Head of Year) and Mrs Owen (SEN support) as well as other key staff will be available to discuss any concerns you may have. This is the perfect opportunity to purchase school uniform, hire a locker and find out about bus routes. We have staff available on the evening to help and answer any questions you may have.
In addition to the wide range of opportunities open to students during term time we also provide a summer school. The summer school is initially opened up to pupils who we feel would benefit from additional transition and pupils who meet the Pupil Premium criteria.
If spaces are sufficient to allow other students to participate then places are offered to pupils whose parents express an interest. Over a one or two week period in August, sessions run daily from 9.00am-1.30pm and include transport, lunch, refreshments and a range of exciting activities.
We also aim to take pupils on at least two out of school trips to local attractions which in the past have included; Magna, Yorkshire Wildlife Park, Consiborough Castle, Weston Park Museum, Showroom Cinema and Sherwood Forest. Please contact Mr Harrison personally if you feel your child would benefit from the Summer School programme.
Specialist staff from across the school run regular after school sessions for Year 6 students. This enables students to develop higher ability skills and understanding. They become accustomed to developing independent learning skills which they will build on once they are in Year 7. This also enables students to familiarise themselves with the school and get to know some of our staff.
Our school council also invite Year 6 pupils to join in discussions and debates at Wales High School throughout the academic year.
Peer Mentoring makes a valuable contribution to our students’ experiences and to the ethos of the school. During the Summer Term we ask our oldest and most responsible students to apply for the role of ‘Peer Mentor’. Following a rigorous selection process and a two day training course with specialist staff we have a dedicated team who help build confidence, self-esteem and encourage a more positive participation in school life.
Peer Mentors from Wales High School provide younger pupils with an initial, accessible point of contact from which to seek information, support and build life skills in a language and manner that is both familiar and acceptable. This work is constantly developing at Wales High School and is a valued part of the transition process.
THE FINAL PART OF THE JOURNEY
The Transition process continues into Year 7. In September, our Year 7 pupils meet with their peer mentor on a regular basis and are supported by members of our Learning Support Department. In addition, our 35 Transition Ambassadors will be on hand to offer support. For parents there is also a meeting in the first half term to give you the chance to speak to your child’s tutor.
Additional information for parents
As a school, we maintain high levels of contact with parents. Members of staff will often write to parents, contact them by telephone or invite them in to discuss issues of importance about their child’s welfare and progress. Likewise, we encourage parents to contact us if they have any concerns they would like to discuss. There are regular Parents’ Evenings throughout the school year where parents can speak to their child’s subject teachers.
YEAR 7 GROUPINGS
Year 7 students are traditionally divided into eight tutor groups (7.1 to 7.8). This year we are fortunate to have had more applications for a place than ever before. As a result we will have ten tutor groups in Year 7 for the academic year 2016-17. These are mixed ability groups that reflect our comprehensive intake. Tutor groups are also an opportunity to make new friends with young people from different primary schools.
Year 7 teaching groups are in most cases set in ability bands according to the assessment data received from primary schools. Setting pupils in ability groups allows us to target additional support to ensure all students reach their potential. In the core subjects, English, Maths and Science, students are more finely set according to ability. All teaching groups and ability bands are reviewed on a half termly basis to maintain effective intervention where necessary.
You can download the leaflet for “Getting Ready for Wales High School” which includes hints, tips and advice for starting here at Wales.
THE TRANSITION TEAM
If you require further information please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Transition Team on 01909 771291 or contact us by email at the address below;
Miss L McCall
Email: [email protected]
Mr R Harrison
Head of Lower School
Email: [email protected]
Mrs S Owen
Learning Community Support & SEN
Email: [email protected]
Mrs S Tripoli
Admin / Transition
Email: [email protected]
Mrs C Brookes
Email: [email protected]