Preparing to Start Year 7 in September
“Be the best you can be at Key Stage 3! Be awesome!”
Miss Smith, Assistant Headteacher Director of Key Stage 3.
Top Tips for Students, Parents and Carers
We have put together some top tips to help you prepare for the transition into secondary school in September.
Top Tips for Life as a Weatherhead Student
- Get to know a few people from your primary school who are also coming to Weatherhead. They may not turn out to be your new BFFs, but knowing a face in the crowd is a good feeling. And people will want to be friendly – you’re all new together.
- Make sure you get a good night’s sleep.
- Get up on time. How will you wake up? For example, will you need an alarm clock?
- Always eat some breakfast, even if you feel nervous. It’s a long time until lunch.
- If you’re worried about the uniform (skirt v trousers?), have a look at the photographs on the school website and check out what everyone else is wearing.
- Work out your route to school, whether you’re walking or taking public transport. Practise until you’re confident and time yourself. Also, make sure you have an alternative route in case of problems with transport or people you want to avoid. If it helps, draw a map.
- If you can, find a friend to travel with on your first day. Things won’t seem so daunting if you can go with someone.
- Buy a very big, very strong bag. You will have loads to carry. And that’s not counting the days when you’ll have your PE kit. Don’t be tempted to buy a handbag – they’re fashionable but they really won’t last.
- Only bring what you need in your bag rather than everything.
- You will get a locker so you won’t have to carry your coat and PE kit around with you all day.
- Be prepared to just ‘hang out’ at playtime and don’t call it ‘playtime’ – it’s ‘break’ now.
- Work out what you will be doing for lunch. Are you going to use the canteen and buy your lunch or bring a packed lunch?
- If you’re going to buy your school lunch, check out the menu on the school website and try not to eat pizza every day.
- Find out where the toilets are.
- When you are given your timetable, make at least three copies: one for your bag, one for your pocket and a spare for home.
- Get your new friends’ phone numbers – you may need to give them a call if you have a last-minute homework panic.
- Find out all you can about your new friends. Someone at home is bound to ask.
- Be organised. Use your planner, use it to write down your homework – when there is so much going on, it’s easy to forget.
- Go through your timetable and pack your bag the night before – there’s never time in the morning to find your maths book.
- Find the library. It’s a great place to go if you want to do some homework or just avoid the playground.
- Never be afraid to ask for help if you’re not sure where to go.
- At lesson changeover, stick with someone who knows where they’re going.
- Trust your instinct – the trick is to not overthink everything. If you’re in one of your new classes and your teacher asks a question out loud that you know the answer to, then answer it! You’ll find that once you’ve put up your hand and answered a question once, it becomes easier and easier each time after. Your classmates won’t judge you, even if the answer is wrong, but they will remember you for being brave.
- Embrace your independence – with all these changes comes a greater independence, so embrace it! You can arrange a time to meet your new school friends each morning and walk to school together. Sign up to take part in an after school club or activity and you’ll make friends with people that love the same things as you. If you are ever in doubt, just think to yourself…what is the worst that could happen? You’ll find that those first day nerves will become a distant memory, quicker than you could ever have imagined.
- Relax and try to enjoy it – in no time at all, it’ll seem like you’ve been there forever. And this time next year, you’ll be showing the new intake around the school.
Top Tips for Parents/Carers for a Successful Transition to Weatherhead
Going from primary to secondary school can be an exciting yet daunting time for your child – not to mention for you, too. Luckily, these handy tips should help both students and parents adjust and settle into a new term, as smoothly as possible.
Prepare them (over the Summer holidays)
- Practise the route to school in advance, particularly if it involves public transport or a new route to walk.
- Subtly increase your child’s independence with practical experiences such as popping out to the shops.
- Arrange for them to keep in touch with their friends.
- Make sure they know what uniform, PE kit and equipment they need then name everything! Lost property is more likely to get back to your child if it is clearly named.
- Talk to them about what is going to happen. Go through the information sent to you and on the school website with your child.
- Help them to find out about the layout of the school, and learn where classrooms are (and the toilets!) using the school website.
- Remind them never to be afraid to ask for help, or talk to someone they trust, like you or their Form Tutor, Pastoral and Academic Support Worker or their Year Leader if they’re concerned about anything.
- Suggest they make the first effort to make new friends.
- Encourage them to make a good first impression. These last a long time, so help them to make sure theirs are good ones – for organisation, presentation, and behaviour!
- Remind them to make the most of all the new opportunities. They will have the chance to try out new clubs and activities.
- Encourage them to enjoy it! Making new friends and learning new things is exciting. Remind them that everyone else is in the same boat, so they should just aim to have a good time!
Once they start
- Encourage your child to be organised. Get them to pack their bag, pencil case etc the night before so they don’t have to worry in the morning.
- Photocopy or take a photo of their timetable in case it gets lost. Keep a copy somewhere handy at home so you’ll also know when your child needs their PE kit and you can check with them before they leave that they have everything.
- Make sure they get to bed in good time without any electronic devices.
- Expect them to be tired so try and have relaxed weekends until they get used to this new weekday routine.
- It pays to get into a routine around homework sooner rather than later. Help your child to check their planner and talk to them about when they will complete the homework set.
- Moving schools can be a stressful time, don’t be surprised if your child loses their temper or gets irritable more often. Remember to keep your mind on the bigger picture of supporting your child through these changes and be patient with them.
- Be ready to listen to your child, but don’t expect your, “how has your day been?” end-of-day question to be answered. Just be there when your child wants to talk, so that if they have a tough day or a worry, they know you are available.
- You could try asking your child these three questions to get the conversation going:
What is the best thing about your new school?
What will you miss most about your old school?
What is the scariest thing about your new school?
- Then build their Confidence
- Show your confidence in your child so that they believe in their own confidence. Avoid taking over tasks that they can do themselves – it can sometimes be hard to hold back on trying to help.
- Let your child know everyone makes mistakes.
If your child has had a bad day and not done so well in something, try not to be critical. The important thing to remind your child of is that sometimes failing at things is part of life.
- It’s not all about academic achievements.
Chat to your child about their extracurricular activities, their friends and what they are achieving at school outside of the classroom.
Don’t pin everything solely on academic success.
- Encourage your child’s independence.
There are lots of small changes you can make at home to make your child more independent…including getting them to realise if they don’t do their homework, they are the one who will have to explain it to their teacher.
- Be there to talk about friendship worries.
Your child will be meeting and making all sorts of new friends and sometimes drifting away from old primary school friendship groups. It’s a time of change and it’s inevitable that your child will fall in and out of favour with different groups of friends.
Frequently Asked Questions
Miss Smith, Assistant Headteacher and Director of Key Stage 3 has tried to think of common questions that Year 6 students ask about coming to Weatherhead. We hope you find the answers useful.
What clubs can I join?
We run lots of lunchtime and after school clubs. At the start of each term we will share a new timetable with you. You will have lots to choose from. Click here to see the clubs for our current Year 7 students.
What do I do if I get lost?
By Year 6 you will know your way around the whole of your primary school. You will probably be taught in the same classroom by the same teacher so you will not have to move around as much as you will when you come to Weatherhead. Don’t worry about getting lost because we have lots of staff and students who are available to help you. When you leave your tutor room to go to your lessons you will be with your new friends and you can help each other. We will also provide you with a map of the school. Click here to view the map.
Will I make any new friends?
Moving on up to Weatherhead is a great opportunity to meet and make new friends. You will meet new students in your form groups, in clubs you join, as well as those in your lessons.
Will I know anyone in my class?
You might know some of the students if you have joined from the same primary school, and you will make new friendships with students you meet in your tutor group.
Where can I store my coat, PE kit and books?
In primary school you probably have a tray and a peg to hang your coat and bag. When you come to Weatherhead you will have the chance to loan a locker and you can store your belongings such as your PE kit here. You will be able to visit your locker before and after school, during break times and lunchtimes.
Will teachers shout at me for being late if I cannot find the classroom?
We all know that it will take you a few weeks to find your way. You will be given a tour of the school and a map to help you. Staff and students will help you find your way too. Remember, at one time we were all new to Weatherhead!
What if I don't understand the work?
This is a very common worry for students that transition from primary to secondary school. At Weatherhead, the teachers will be happy to explain something to you again. Even if you do not want to put your hand up to ask, you will have a wipe board at the back of your planner so you can hold this up for your teacher. Remember, teachers asked their teachers questions about the work when they were at school!
What if I lose something?
Lost property is handed in at reception and you can check with them at break, lunchtime and after school. Our lost property list is published every week and details are also posted on the school website. Don’t forget to write your name on your belongings, including your school uniform and PE kit.
I am worried about being bullied at secondary school. What advice can you give me?
Please do not worry about bullying. We believe in being kind to everyone in our Weatherhead community. We have student Anti-Bullying Ambassadors who have been trained by the Diana Award. The trained ambassadors will be there to support you by delivering assemblies, leading Mindfulness Mondays at lunchtime and offering other lunchtime drop ins. We also focus on anti-bullying during Anti-Bullying Week. We’ve focused on the slogan ‘Change Starts With Us’ in assemblies and during form time. Students created anti-bullying pledges that emphasised the need to be kind and respectful. In fact, our anti-bullying activities have earned us two prestigious awards from the Diana Award for Wellbeing and our community work. You can also talk to your Form Tutor, Pastoral and Academic Support Worker and your Year Leader.
Who can I speak to if I am worried or if I have any questions?
You can see your Form Tutor, Pastoral and Academic Support Worker or Head of Year as your first port of call for any worries you might have. They will be available every day at break and lunchtimes.
How will I know what lessons to go to?
At the start of the school year you will be given your own timetable which tells you where you need to go each day and at what time. You and your classmates will have the same timetable. Click here to take a look at an example of a Year 7 timetable.
What is the school uniform?
Our school uniform has been developed and designed with our students at heart and includes a school jacket, white short-sleeved revere collar blouse and navy blue skirt/trousers. Visit our uniform page for details or see page 24 of the welcome guide.
How will I travel to school?
Depending on where you start your journey, and the distance you need to travel, there are lots of ways you can get to and from school including walking, cycling and public transport. To help plan your journey visit our ‘Transport Links‘ web page.
What can I eat for lunch?
Students are welcome to bring a packed lunch or they can purchase a meal from the school canteen. Our canteen is operated by Chartwells. Please click here to read their welcome newsletter which includes a sample menu.
What can I do to prepare?
Year 6 students, here is some extra information to help you prepare for September.
A Student Guide to Weatherhead
Our students have put together some welcome messages for you to read. Find out more about life at Weatherhead.
Activities to try at home
Using the picture sheet, the school map and the sample timetable, see if you can match up the lessons to the photos of students enjoying their lessons and the type of classroom/room!