Dear Parent/ Carers and Year Six
Starting Year 7 can be both exciting and a daunting time for both parents/ carers and pupils. Many of the Year 7’s will be ready for new challenges but worried about how life at St Richard’s works. Within this section of our website I hope to answer some of your questions and outline the transition programme from Year 6 into Year 7.
At St Richard’s we have a horizontal form class system. There are 8 form classes per year group. Each form class is assigned a letter from the word F.L.O.U.R.I.S.H. We feel this word truly embodies everything we want for you!
The year group is divided into two. The forms F.L.O.U on one side and R.I.S.H on the other. This is purely to help with timetabling. We cannot have everyone doing P.E at the same time or the Creative Arts as we don’t have enough space!
Your form class will also represent a House. The House system is used in competitions throughout the college. Your P.E kit will be a different colour to another form class.
Form classes meet every day for registration if we do not have an assembly. You will get an opportunity to use your locker, find out information about the day (notices are given by Form tutor) and prepare for the day. Some mornings you will have directed work to complete. These include Drop Everything And Read (DEAR) and PSHEe.
Student Listeners attend registration once a week and can be found at break and lunch on the Year 7 playground. More information on Student Listeners can be found in the Support tab.
Creating each form class takes a great deal of time. We gather information from visits to Primary schools, discussion with Year 6 teachers and the pupils themselves. We endeavour to create form classes, which celebrate differences and are not streamed. Below is the ranking order in which form classes are sorted.
(1) Balancing the form class to create a mixed ability form group
(2) Balance feeder schools
(3) Balance gender
(4) Attempt to put you with a friend you have ‘ASKED’ to go with
(5) Discuss with Year Six teachers good or bad friendships.
To help the pupils to understand this process you may hear Year 6’s talking about the ‘Magic Numbers’. The Magic numbers are an introduction used in visits about the differences between primary schools and St Richard’s. They also include important facts about their contribution to the process. The numbers and what they represent are-
(8) The number of Year Seven Form Classes (F.L.O.U.R.I.S.H)
(25) The numbers (approx) in each Form Class
(34)*** Feeder schools
(200) Pupils in Year Seven (approx)
(1000) Pupils in the school (approx)
*It is really important to note that friendship groups cannot be guaranteed when placing pupils into form classes. Mr Bligh always tries his best though.
**Form classes are where you are registered each morning. Out of the 31 lessons a week, you are only taught as a Form class once!
***The number of feeder schools changes each year. 34 is an approximate number used as an example.
Each pupil who goes to school in East Sussex will be visited by one the Transition Team. If your Son/ Daughter does not attend a school in East Sussex, Mr Bligh does make contact to arrange a mutually convenient meeting before the New Intake Evening in Term 6.
If you attend a Catholic Feeder school, you will have at least 6 visits from Mr Bligh to prepare you for Year 7. Each visit will focus upon a different element of transition and gives the pupils opportunities to ask questions about life in Year 7. The sessions always start with magic numbers and how form classes are created. The themes for each session include-
Similarities and difference between primary school and St Richard’s
What you are looking forward to? Have you any worries?
College routines and expectations. What can you expect from us?
What makes a good friend? How can we support each other?
Who am I? What would I like to share with my new friends and teacher? (Pupil voice)
Year 7 presentation to Year 6 about life at St Richard’s. (Past pupils)
The programme for non- Catholic Feeder school pupils is very similar. The programme is delivered within one or two visits depending on the needs of the child or the number of pupils coming from the school. Unfortunately, we are unable to bring back past pupils to every feeder school, but I would urge all parents/ carers to attend the Year 6 Tours held in March to get additional information and allow their child to ask questions from a current pupil about St Richard’s. More information about the tours is available below.
|September:||Road shows in feeder schools in Bexhill, St. Leonard’s, Hastings and Eastbourne.
Transition workshop led by Mr Bligh for new Year 7 parents.
Coffee morning for new Year 7 parents.
PSHEe focus on settling- into St Richard’s.
Induction Mass for new Year 7’s.
|November:||PTFA Disco for new Year 7’s.|
|January:||Presentation to Year Sixes at feeder schools about ‘moving up’ to secondary schools by Pastoral Leader of Year Seven.|
|March:||Year Six tours with student listeners. Parents coffee and Q & A with Mr Bligh, SENCO and support staff.|
|January- June:||6- 8 visits to feeder schools by team to complete transition programme.
Visits to all pupils who do not attend feeder schools to complete 1:1 transition programme.
|May- June:||Visit to pupils who have gained a place on appeal.|
|May- July:||Taster lessons delivered by subject staff in primary schools.|
|June:||New intake evening.|
|July:||New intake days.
Year 6 Retreat led by St Richard’s Lay Chaplain.
At St Richard’s we really value our close relationship with parents/ carers. This support is a key contributor to making your child feel safe, happy and successful. We are always happy for parents to make contact with us. For many parents experiencing secondary school life with their eldest child is just as hard (if not harder) than the Year 7. Not being at school gate and having almost direct contact with their class teacher will feel strange. I always urge parents to be pro- active in contacting St Richard’s if they have a worry or something feels wrong. In partnership we will work together to get things back on track. Below is a quick guide on how to contact someone at St Richard’s and who would be the best person.
How to contact?
Telephone– The telephone number for St Richard’s is 01424 731070. You will be greeted on by our automated message system. There are three options you can choose. The first is to dial directly (if known) to an extension number, the second is the absence line and the third to reception. All staff have a voicemail facility which we use via our emails.
Email– All staff at St Richard’s have an email address. The staff list is located within the ‘about’ tab on our website. Alternatively emailing to firstname.lastname@example.org will get a message to the relevant person.
Who to contact?
This is always a tricky question for parents as your son/ daughter may have up to 12 new teachers in September. For general enquiries or passing on information you should contact the Form Tutor. The Form Tutor will see your child every day and will support your child pastorally from Year 7 to Year 11. Things such as lost items, attendance, academic progress (overview) and friendships are common examples. Anything that is subject specific should or classroom based should be addressed with the pupil’s subject teacher. Homework and specific academic progress would be good examples. The Pastoral Leader for Year 7 has the responsibility or overview of all aspects of life for Year 7 and is actively involved in the day to day running of the year group. Mr Bligh is always happy to talk through things with parents and support everyone. Examples of contact would be behaviour, safeguarding concerns, home life and overall concerns about academic progress e.g. not doing well in a number of subjects.
The college day is different to many primary schools in that you will receive a timetable in September with your lessons on. This will not change from September to July. Year 7’s will have 6 lessons a day. Each lesson is 50 minutes long and a bell will ring to signal the end of the lesson. College starts at 8:45 with registration and this is followed by Lessons 1 & 2. Morning break occurs after Lesson 2 and lunch after lesson 4. We finish college at 3:15pm each day.
The Year 7’s will have a great opportunity to embrace our extra- curricular clubs. Every subject runs a club and we encourage pupils to getting fully involved in this very important side of life at St Richard’s. Clubs are a really good way to make new friends and explore further talents or interests. All clubs are free and for some we do require commitment in order to perform or represent the college at events such as ‘Time to Dance’, sporting fixtures or drama performances. Below is a typical timetable of clubs just for Year 7.
During Term 6 the Year 6 pupils are invited into St Richard’s for 3 days. They follow a normal timetable for two days and a special focus on the other. The aim of these days are to allow pupils to begin to make new friends, get used to the layout of the college and experience typical Year 7 lessons. The pupils will be in their new form classes and will be supported by older pupils and a range of support staff. The details of these days are shared on the New Intake Evening by Mr Bligh and include school dinners, travelling to and from college and the lessons for each day. The Year Six pupils should wear their primary school uniform, bring their pencil case, money or packed lunch. Please note Year 6 pupils will not be able to purchase any food at break time so a snack is recommended.
This year the dates for the New Intake Evening is Thursday 18th June 2020 and the Taster days are Wednesday 24th June to Friday 26th June 2020. If for some reason your child can not attend these days, please make sure you contact Mr Bligh and alternative dates will be provided.
The new intake are invited into St Richard’s in March. We hold 3 tours and dates are passed to parent/ carers in their welcome pack. The Year 6 pupils are given a guided tour around college by Year 10 student listeners. This is a great opportunity for the Year 6’s to see the college and ask questions of current pupils. Parent/ Carers remain behind and Mr Bligh, Mr Smith (SENCO) and other key staff answer any questions parent/ carers may have over coffee. A short presentation about the transition programme is also given.
Settling into life at St Richard’s
Year 7’s will always need help settling into life at secondary school. Parents/carers can make a big difference here and I am always asked by them for helpful hints or top tips to help with the day to day life of their child at St Richard’s. I have put below my Top Tips for settling into life at St Richard’s.
Social Media/ Internet
Our children live in an age where the pressure of social media and exploring the internet is challenging. Below are useful ideas to support and/ or take the pressure away from your child.
Top tips from current Year 7’s
Through our own pupil voice I have detailed advice from current pupils-
For many of the Year 7’s this will be the first time they travel independently to and from school. Anxiety levels for new pupils can be matched by parental concerns. We work really closely with our neighbours, train companies and bus companies to ensure that all pupils arrive and get home safely. There is a high level of expectation placed upon the pupils to act appropriately and wear their St Richard’s uniform with pride.
Arriving at college
This is a real change to primary school. Pupils arrive from 8:00am onwards and can use our breakfast facilities (Chartwells), Library (opens at 8:30), use their lockers, meet their friends on the playground or canteen. At 8:45 registration starts and pupils are expected to be in Form Classes by then. There are always staff and duty and we especially like to see smiles at the gate when they welcome you in each day.
Each morning and after school there are members of St Richard’s staff at the train station. We support pupils arriving and make sure they get on the right train in the afternoon. We have a fantastic working relationship with Bexhill train station staff and often work with them to solve any issues. If for whatever reason pupils cannot find a member of St Richard’s staff, they must seek help from staff from the train station. Year 11 Prefects are also on hand to help out, especially when they are on the train. Below is a link to Southern Rail timetables. The pupils have at least 19 minutes to walk from St Richard’s to the train station. To ensure they get to the station safely we have at least 3 members of staff on Ashdown supervising crossing the road and a Lollipop man at Bridge Road.
In the mornings the school bus drops of pupils (Hastings) on De La Warr road. This is a short walk from the college. Older pupils and Prefects will guide them to college. Buses from Hailsham or Eastbourne drop of pupils in Bexhill (opposite the train station). At the end of the day buses to Hastings leave from the college gate and pupils are guided onto them by Miss Cronin (Principal). Buses to Hailsham or Eastbourne depart from outside the train station or at the end of the playing field. Older pupils are again on hand to help younger pupils.
There are many routes to St Richard’s pupils can take. I would urge parents to remind their children of crossing roads safely and respecting our neighbour’s property. During Term 1 we do spend a great deal of time talking about road safety and often have theatre groups come into college to present to them.
There are many different places parents can drop off their children or pick them up each day. I would strongly urge you to avoid Ashdown road between 8:00- 8:45 or between 3:15- 3:45. There are sometimes over 1000 pupils arriving or leaving at this time. The seafront is the best place to drop off and collect (TN40 1PB) as there is a pathway that leads directly to the college. An alternative is also behind the college in Links Drive (TN40 1TA) where there is also a pathway to the college. This can sometimes be quite busy as it is a residential area and limited parking places.