At all points of entry, the settling in process begins before our new pupils officially start.
New pupils join us at 4+ (Reception), 7+ (Year 3) and 9+ (Year 5). Sometimes an occasional vacancy may arise and a child will join us in other age groups.
During the summer term before joining us, each new pupil receives a letter from a current pupil given the responsibility of becoming a ‘buddy’. This pupil will invite the new child to our New Pupils’ Afternoon which takes place in June. On this occasion, both current pupils and new pupils spend the afternoon together with their new Form Teacher, have a whole school assembly, tour the school and start building friendships.
In September, Reception pupils begin with half days for the first week of term; the first part of this sees them going home at 12 noon, after a morning's school and later they are invited to stay for lunch and be collected at 1.00 pm. Finally, after a week the Reception pupils attend school full time, until 3.30 pm. In this way they are able to steadily build their confidence in their new setting.
In Year 3 there is something new for all, both the existing children moving up from the Infants and the new joiners: new school uniform, new classrooms and teachers and many new friends to make. In order to ease transition each new Year 3 pupil is assigned a Year 6 buddy as well as one in Year 3. The Year 6 pupils accompany their younger buddies to lunch, help them to navigate the Dining Hall and sit with them over lunchtime. This gives the children an opportunity to ask questions and advice of the older pupils who delight in the responsibility given. The two Year 3 classes share a number of activities, such as the team building day, in order to assist the settling in of all.
Year 5 pupils are ‘buddied up' with a class member who is given responsibility for ensuring that their new friend is happy, finding their way around and beginning to settle. Year 5 begin the school year with a night away camping with the Bushcraft Company providing lots of opportunity to bond with others in the year group.
Lunchtime and after-school clubs and activities are an ideal setting for new pupils to find others with common interests and we encourage new pupils to join such activities as widely as possible.
Transition to Senior School
Junior School children have an assured place in the Senior School and the vast majority will make this transfer. This is a significant moment in the education of the children with the opportunity to meet lots of new children, encounter new teachers and experience the Senior School teaching facilities. While there is a shared vision and ethos in Junior and Senior Schools this transition offers the chance for a fresh start. The final two terms in Year 6 leading up to this move should be a time of reflecting fondly upon all that they have enjoyed in the Junior School as well as looking forward with excitement to all that is to come.
Over the course of this final year we endeavour to give the Year 6 children more responsibility, more independence and equip them with both the academic and social knowledge to enable them to flourish at senior school level. The Year 6 Diploma, in particular, is very supportive of this process.
During the May before joining us, each new pupil will receive a letter from their assigned 'buddy'.