We fully recognise that the move from primary school to high school can be as daunting yet exciting for you as it is for your child. Therefore, we feel it to be important that you have a clear understanding of how the transition process works.
Ultimately, until the summer there is very little for you to do. However, it is worth you knowing what will be happening behind the scenes. Myself (Mrs Oakes – Transition Leader) and Mrs Atkinson (Inclusion Leader) arrange to go and speak to the Year 6 teachers. Here we discuss each individual student who will be on our roll. We talk about their likes and dislikes, the things they are good at and not so good at and any help they might need with the transition process or with their learning in general. This information is kept confidentially by myself and Mrs Atkinson with key and important details being disseminated to the House Leaders, and relevant academic information going to Curriculum Leaders. We have found that having such information allows us to set your child up successfully in their learning and in their transition year in general. Ultimately though, we do recognise that this is a fresh start for your child and an awful lot of growing up and changes take place between the children leaving primary school and beginning high school but this information from the primaries is incredibly useful for us in terms of getting to know your child a little before we meet them.
We also use this data to place your child into one of our four houses – Bramham; Harewood; Lotherton or Newby. Firstly, we place students who have older brothers and sisters here into the same house. This is so that communication is easier for you as you only have to deal with one House Leader for all your children. However, it is worth mentioning that if an older sibling is due to leave from Year 11 or Year 13 we do not guarantee that we will place your younger child in the same house. Once siblings have been placed we then place all the other children in one of the four houses. Again, this isn't just a random placement. Using the information from the Year 6 teachers and working with the House Achievement Team I work to put students into houses that I think will help them achieve their full potential and then from there into forms with a form tutor that can unlock that potential. All being well, that form tutor will stay with their form indefinitely and get to know each student really well. This means that by the time your child enters Year 13 it is their form tutor who knows them inside out that is writing the reference on their University or job application.
We have worked really hard over recent years to make sure that every element of school has your child at the heart. One big change we made a number of years ago (2011) was the move into vertical forms. This means that from 8:40 to 9:00 your child has ‘form’. Within the form there are approximately 20 to 25 students from all year groups. We have found this to be a resounding success as the younger children have role models to look up to and to watch out for them during their first few weeks and months at the school. Each form is part of a house and each house is run by a house leader with a house coordinator for day to day support. We want your child from the very first day to feel a part of their house and to know that their house achievement team is there for anything they might need. And for you too! As far as we are concerned you are part of our school now and you can contact us whenever you need no matter how small the issue seems to be. When your child begins the high school there are a number of people you can get in touch with from the form tutor for basic issues, the house leader for more serious issues or the subject teacher for subject based issues.
Then, once houses and forms have been allocated, I return to the primary schools in the spring term to talk to the children. This is where I take lots of information with me that they will need on the days they come up to us for transition. It is really useful therefore that on the day they come home with all this information you sit with them and go through it. This information will tell them what will be happening on the transition days and what they need to bring with them. I will also give them bus timetables and temporary bus passes for the days in case their council pass has not arrived by this point. They will do lots of activities across the transition process but will also spend most of the time in their normal September timetable. However, as far as we are concerned, they are part of our school from that very first transition day. Therefore, we would very much like it if your child could wear our house summer polo shirt during the transition days. Whilst we are not going to make this compulsory because we understand that sometimes money constraints can hold back something being bought immediately, we feel that by wearing the summer polo shirt our new Year 7 students will feel part of our school community from the moment they arrive. You can find the polo shirt order form in the Important Documents section and I would strongly encourage you to purchase as soon as possible. You will also find an admissions form which again, needs filling in (front and back) at your earliest convenience and retuning to the school. Now you might be wondering how it's possible to order a house polo shirt when many of you don't know what house your son or daughter is going to be in. However, we can easily sort out who needs which colour and then when I go visit the children at their primary, along with all of the letters I will give them, I will also bring their polo shirt ready to be worn on their transition days. They can continue to wear their primary uniform on the bottom half.
Finally, I would like to make clear that to me, transition begins as soon as you receive your school allocation and continues through to the end of year 7. It certainly doesn't stop on the first day of Year 7. Indeed, our transition process continues until the students graduate out of Year 7 and into Year 8 showing they have the skills and resilience to be a fully-fledged member of our school community. That is why I would encourage you to ask about anything that you're unsure of and to get in touch whenever you might need to.