Year 7

Transition Day

Pupils who are due to start at St Thomas More in Year 7 are invited to a transition day, where they are given the chance to meet other students who will attend the school in a fun relaxed environment. Pupils spend this day getting to know a bit more about St Thomas More School.

IMG_4382IMG_4488IMG_4469

Taster Induction Day

IMG_4533Before the end of the summer term, year 6 students are invited to come into St Thomas More to experience a working school day. They have the opportunity to make their own way into school, take part in taster lessons, have a school dinner and learn how the school operates. This offers them a chance to feel comfortable in the senior school environment.

Information for Parents of New Students

Moving from primary to secondary school is a significant and exciting time in the life of a child. Each child will need to develop better life skills, such as independent working and self- organisation. New experiences and changes in school routines need to be prepared for and your child needs our support to develop the skills they need, especially in the first few anxious weeks.

We have identified that the top two concerns for children are those linked to social experiences and organisational demands. It is useful to remind your child that everyone feels anxious at the start of a new school year and that they will have already had the opportunity to meet their classmates on the two induction visit days for Year 6, held in June and July. It is also useful for parents to remember the rule;

“Never do anything regularly for your child that they are capable of doing for themselves”

The following information will outline what your child needs to do to succeed at St Thomas More School.

How does our school work?

Our school has a Head Teacher, three Deputies, and three Assistant Heads who make up the School Senior Management Team. We also have Heads of Department, who are responsible for learning in an academic subject area and Heads of House, who are responsible for the pastoral welfare of pupils. All teachers teach in a subject area and are responsible for the pastoral welfare of a group of pupils arranged in Pastoral Groups according to their House. There are four Houses.

When your child starts school they will be placed in a House Group so that every day they will meet for registration with their tutor, who will then be responsible for their pastoral welfare and overall well being. These tutors will be the teachers that get to know your child best, along with the Head of House. You will need to contact these teachers when you have any concerns about your child.

After the morning and afternoon pastoral sessions your child will go off to a classroom to be taught in a teaching group. The teaching group they are allocated will be reflected by academic achievement in the primary school. Pupils will be taught by specialist subject teachers and will move around the school throughout the day to a variety of lessons in different departments, with specialist rooms and classrooms. At the end of every ten weeks of teaching, pupils will be given assessment tests to monitor their academic progress. Assessments will take place three times a year. Each year there will be a Parents Evening, at which you will be invited to talk to teachers about your child’s progress and achievement.

The other people that you may need to contact are based in the Learning Support Department. The Special Educational Needs Coordinator or SENCO will be responsible for those children who have learning, behaviour or emotional difficulties in school. However, this department already has links with primary schools and will have gathered information on those children who need extra help and support for learning.

You will also be invited to attend a Parents Evening before your child starts school, so any worries or concerns that you may have, can be discussed with relevant teachers at this meeting.

How can your child be successful?

Organisation

Before your child starts, make sure they know how they will travel to school. Find out where to get the school bus and ideally get them to travel with a “buddy” who may be another new starter or a friend who already attends school.

Agree a routine for mornings and after school. Do they know, what time to get up, what they will do for lunch; will they have their bag packed and ready with their school equipment for the day? What will be the arrangements at home when they return? When should they do homework, when can they relax and have fun and what time will they be expected to go to bed?

During these first few weeks it is essential to establish a routine and for you to be around to help and discuss problems and concerns with your child.

The following suggestions may help:

  • Always pack school bags the night before school (homework, diaries and pens are essential items). Also prepare packed lunch, sort dinner money so that there is no panic in the morning. Remember there will be mornings when PE kit or extra equipment has to be included.
  • The phone number for a friend in the same class is always useful so that children can chat about any problems with work or school routines.
  • Have a set time for your child to do homework and keep books in a safe place at home so they can be found easily.
  • Homework must be written into the diary accurately, and plan for homework to be done the night it is set if possible. (No one will get into trouble if homework is handed in early!!!!!!!)
  • Look after uniform and put it away carefully. Make sure names are written into all garments, especially PE kit.

When your child starts school they will be given access to the “Intranet” which has a “New Starters” information site. Encourage them to use this site which contains helpful information, much of it written by pupils themselves. They will also receive a pamphlet of useful information on one of their visit days.

It will help if pupils familiarise themselves with information in the school Diary. You should be prepared to help your child make efficient use of their Diary and you can use it as a way of communicating with their pastoral teacher. Parents are expected to look through the diary each week and to sign it at the weekend. Please try to establish a routine for doing this.

Your child will be given merits in their diary as a reward for achievement and good work.

Do try and get your child to work unsupervised at home. You may want to help them structure their time by providing prompts or a timer so they know how long to spend on a task for homework.

If your child becomes disorganised and is finding difficulty with routines, teachers will write “Red Comments” in the diary. Try to monitor these.

If they struggle with homework give them support but do not allow them to spend hours working at it if they do not understand. Get them to phone a friend in the class to ask for help or advice. If this fails ask them to talk to the teacher the next day.

It may help to make a planner for the wall at home:

 

Have I done it? Mon Tue Wed Thur Fri
Check diary, complete homework
Give notes letters to parents
Show parents homework
Organise equipment for next day
Bag packed, homework, diary, pens
Packed lunch or dinner money

Good organisation is the key to learning

Friendship Making new friends should be easy if your child is prepared to join in with the opportunities afforded to them at school.

We have a “Retreat Day” organised by the Youth Ministry Team which takes place in June. All new starters are invited to the day, which is always based at an out of school venue. We plan to get children involved in social activities and exercises which build upon the schools Christian ethos. We try to encourage teamwork and cooperation and children are encouraged to meet, work and play with other new starters.

In July we have a “Taster Day” when all new starters attend school for the day. They are allocated to their House Groups where they can meet with the other children in their new Pastoral Group. They are introduced to the Head teacher, Heads of House and to the pastoral teaching staff and given the opportunity to explore their new surroundings and the building. They also have the opportunity to meet some of the teaching staff and to sample “taster lessons”. At lunchtime they have the opportunity to eat in the school cafeteria and thus sample school lunches or eat their packed lunch.

On the first day in school in September, children spend the day in their Pastoral Group getting to know their tutor. They will be taught how to use Diaries, how to understand a timetable and thus will be allowed to familiarise themselves with school buildings. We usually have some of the older pupils on hand to help with this process and quite often these pupils will work with Pastoral Groups during the first week, helping to direct children to classrooms and lessons.

There are lots of opportunities for children to get involved in clubs and sport where they will meet others with similar interests. (Lists of activities can be found on the web site.)

Most children will find new friends and new “pecking orders” will be established. If your child feels excluded or left out, offer your help and support. Tears and anger are normal and most friendship patterns will sort themselves out without adult interference.

Do contact the school if you feel that after a couple of weeks your child is still very unsettled, withdrawn and feeling depressed about something. (Remember there will almost always be isolated incidents or arguments between children that will soon “blow over”) If you suspect they are being bullied. (The hallmarks of bullying are persistent and deliberate attempts by others to make a child feel unhappy) you must contact your child’s Head of House

If there is a concern, try to find out exactly what it is that is worrying your child. However, children need to learn the life skill that they will not always get along with everyone they have to work alongside in school. Good advice would be to smile, work hard and stay positive. If there is a problem with a teacher, never try to run down the teacher in front of your child, this will invariably make the problem worse. Contact your child’s Head of House to discuss any concerns you have.

And Finally…

Remember, the habits and routines that your child develops in Year 7 are those that will stay with them throughout their secondary schooling and often throughout their lives. It is worth the effort of getting it right from the first day. If you can help your child to do this you will really be making a difference.

Another web site which may guide you to more specialist parenting information is: www.familyandparenting.org