Frequently Asked Questions
We understand the transition from Junior to Senior School can be a difficult time for students and we work hard to help students settle into the school. In the Summer term before starting, all new Year 7 students are invited to an induction afternoon where they meet the rest of their form and their new tutors. This is a chance for the students to meet their new classmates in a relaxed, fun afternoon. Just before term starts the new students are invited to another afternoon where just a few other year groups are present to help them gradually orientate themselves.
There are at least two form tutors per form class who are focused on providing individual support for every pupil. There is also Year 13 form assistants and every Year 7 student has a Year 8 buddy who can answer questions and offer support. Trained Sixth Form Peer Mentors are also available to support our students when they would like someone nearer their own age to talk to.
Of course, taking part in the extra-curricular activities also help the students with their burgeoning friendship groups.
We are keen to work with parents and there are many chances for parents, tutors and teachers to meet. Even before the students start Year 7 we invite parents into school to meet the tutors and other parents. Welcome receptions, parents’ evenings, parent talks, plays and concerts also provide opportunities for the staff and parents to get to know each other. In Year 7 we also organise tutor dinners for the parents in the Autumn term, where the parents and tutors meet over dinner and drinks for a relaxed getting to know you evening. Parents and tutors are encouraged to stay in regular contact.
All students are encouraged to show courtesy and kindness towards everyone within our school community. At the start of each year each tutor groups drafts a Code of Conduct which is based around courtesy, care, consideration and community. These are displayed on form notice boards and serve as a reminder throughout the year. Kindness and tolerance are themes within our PSHE programme and such themes are regularly discussed with tutors in form time. Each year in the Spring term we hold a Kindness Week, where students lead and take part in a number of kindness initiatives.
Yes, we have a school counsellor who works alongside our nurse, doctor and pastoral team. They are based in our Medical Centre and are available before and after school, as well as during the school day. If a member of staff feels a student would benefit from seeing the counsellor they will discuss this with the student and a referral can be made. Students can also self-refer. Our counsellor also works closely with parents making sure the best possible support is in place for students.
Achievement is celebrated through positive comments to the students both informally and formally such as verbal comments, marking, reports and one to one meetings with students. Staff are encouraged to develop a culture of sharing success stories by informing Form Tutors, so this information can be passed on. Student achievement is also recognised in the Colours system for Upper School and Sixth Form students, Prizes in the Valedictory assembly, the Headmistresses’ Commendation System and in weekly assemblies.
It is vital to keep the needs of the individual student at the heart of the support we provide. Make sure that the relevant Form Tutor, Head of Year and Section Head are aware of any situations. Liaison with home will ascertain how we should respond to an individual situation and relevant staff will be informed. Students will be made aware of the support they can access and can be referred to the School Counsellor. Regular review and partnership between the student, home and school will continue.
The importance of knowing each individual student is woven into the ethos of the school. Individual, regular meetings with tutors provide an opportunity to freely discuss achievements and hurdles and allow a distinctive understanding of each pupil. A comprehensive and coveted colours system recognises varied sorts of success and commitment with regular recognition at school assemblies. Section Heads, Heads of Year, tutors, teachers, and the school counsellor listen, take care, and reassure students to enable them to thrive.