By Jessica Ceita, Year 12 Work Experience
Every year we take in a crop of Year 6 students to join the academy, this year we are at full capacity with 8 tutor groups and 240 soon-to-be Year 7 students joining us in September 2017. The Transition Days are an annual event that happens in the Summer Term after the Year 6s have finished their SATS. It’s a 2-way opportunity for Holyrood staff to get to know the new students and also for the students to familiarise themselves with where and who they will be with for the next 5-7 years.
We know how nerve-wracking adapting to a new school is, so we like to make sure they enjoy their time here as much as possible, before they start this September. We answer any questions both the students and parents may have, ensuring that the students leave our academy excited for the new academic year.
The transition period is over 2 days; the students are given the opportunity to experience a school day, where they take part in a variety of different lessons including English, Maths and Science. During the days they meet their tutors, get to know their Year 9 buddies and make new friends. At the end of the day, the whole year group takes part in a Mini Olympics; this gives them a chance to bond as a tutor group and within their Houses. Mrs Davison, one of the staff involved in the Transition Days said in interview, “Every year is different, but always great! When it came to the Mini Olympics in the afternoon, the weather decided to be cruel, it was horribly wet and so we had to adapt the event for indoors, but the students were wonderful despite the last minute change. Luckily, everything still ran smoothly and we all had a good time!”
Lots of staff were involved to make the days unique, for example transition workers from the students primary schools so they feel comfortable surrounded by members of staff they know, SEN staff, teachers, tutors and administrators, and the Year 9 buddies, of course.
The following interview with Mrs Davison took place:
Interviewer: How do you make sure the Year 6s feel less nervous when they come up to Year 7?
Mrs Davison: “We have a buddying system in place, where serveral Year 9 – soon to be Year 10 – students are attached to a tutor group; its just so the students have someone to go to if they have a concern or whatever it happens to be. Its all about role-modelling and recognising someone.”
Interviewer: Do you feel like the Transition Days get better every year? If so how?
Mrs Davison: “Well, every year is different. I’ll be having my first meeting with a few parents and members of staff, just to talk about how they feel everything went. From those meetings, we improve for next year. This year, just before the Mini Olympics it rained and so we had to make a last minute change. We had to set everything up in the sports hall – looked like it was going to be a disaster, 200+ students in one room, but no, it was actually a triumph, the students seem to love it.”
Interviewer: How well do you think the students will adapt to such a big change?
Mrs Davison: “Some students flourish and bloom straight away. Its more to do with the indivdual, but we have our buddies and teachers that will be there with every step of the way. We have introduced the new uniform, which I think they will adapt well to, and the new house system too. But it will be rewarding to see them all arriving in September, looking all smart and prepared for the years ahead.”
Interviewer: Finally, how do you think this year’s Transition Days went?
Mrs Davison: “I was very pleased, we have had lots of postive feedback from parents and carers which has been lovely. The fact that this year we’re at full capacity really says something, and shows us that we’re getting lots right, which is good feeling!”