Year 7 2020: Welcome to Samuel Ward Academy
You have secured a place at Samuel Ward Academy. We’re delighted that you are joining our community and can’t wait to meet you.
We know that the move to secondary school is a big step for you and research tells us that students thrive best and achieve more if they feel secure, known and supported. This is why we work to ensure that everyone makes the best possible start to their secondary school life.
All Staff at Samuel Ward Academy are there to help students to learn and progress. So you can ask any member of staff for help at any time.
This year, the transition process has been more difficult than normal and our usual transition days have not been possible. Instead, we have visited our students at their primary schools, telephoned every family, provided additional resources, produced a virtual tour video, welcomed some students to visit Samuel Ward and much more besides. You will no doubt have things you are excited about and things you’re unsure of – everyone will be feeling the same. As you start at SWA and experience how the staff and older students look after you, we know you will have much more cause for excitement and far fewer concerns.
Virtual tour of the school
Because you couldn’t attend lessons at Samuel Ward in July we wanted to help you be a little more familiar with the school. You’ll get a map and tours in September but to help you get a head start our Head girl and boy have made this video for you- it takes you around the main areas of the school and introduces some key staff. We hope you’re as excited about what you’re going to learn as we are. You’ll find that the number of subjects you will study greatly expands from what you’re used to. You’ll even get lessons in Classics and learn more about ancient Greece and Rome before investigating their Gods, heroes, myths and legends.
Start date in September
All Year 7 students will start at Samuel Ward Academy on Thursday 3rd September 2020. Year 7 will be the only students from the main school attending that day. You will meet your tutor, learn the routines, have your first lessons with your classmates, meet key members of staff, and have any remaining questions answered.
While our uniform supplier, school colours, has remained open for uniform orders during lockdown it hasn’t been possible for you to try uniform on and your parents may understandably not have wanted to buy without being sure it will fit. Many of you will have grown out of your primary school uniform by the autumn. Therefore, Year 7 will start at SWA in non-school uniform. We anticipate that uniform fittings will be possible at the start of September. Year 7 will need to be in full school uniform starting on the 1st October. As you move through the year groups you will find you are treated less like a school child and more like a young-adult-to-be. We know you are used to being the eldest and most responsible students in your school and we trust you to wear the right sort of clothing for the weather and not wear anything that might offend anyone or make them feel uncomfortable.
In more normal times you would have found out your tutor group and class during the first transition day in July. We know that you might not want to go through the summer holidays without knowing your tutor group so we are writing to your parents with this information. It has taken Miss Ireland many hours but we’re pleased to say she has managed to arrange the tutor groups so that every request from students, parents and year 6 teachers has been met. We know you will settle in very quickly. Year 7s make new friends very quickly but we know it is even better if you can keep seeing your older friends at the same time.
Being organised is a key skill for success and something you will work on throughout your life. Our online learning platform, Go4schools, will be a huge help in staying on top of your learning – both you and your parents will always know the lessons you have the following day, what your homework is and when it is due. You’ll get into the habit of making sure you are ready for the next day. You also need to make sure you have all the equipment you will need:
- A school bag large enough to hold all the necessary equipment
- All the necessary exercise and work books needed for the specific lessons of the day
- At least 2 blue/black pens
- At least 2 pencils and a rubber
- A rule
- Coloured pencils
- Full school PE kit in a separate bag on days where PE is timetabled
- Your student planner (you’ll get this in September)
- Reading book- something that will stretch you and you will enjoy reading
We also recommend you bring the following:
- A scientific calculator
- French language dictionary
- A protractor
Preparing for secondary school: “Go Big” and “You Are Awesome”
We have bought these two books for everyone in Year 6 who is joining us in September. If you go to the following schools then the books can be collected from your primary school:
If you don’t go to the primary schools listed above then your books can be collected from reception at Samuel Ward Academy (we probably visited your school before the books were delivered to us so we couldn’t pass them on as easily).
We recommend you read both books before September. I’d suggest starting with “You Are Awesome” which very effectively dispels the myth that people are born great at anything. “Go Big” has very practical advice for success at secondary school and what to expect (and which stories are total nonsense). Please read them at your own pace and maybe revisit the most important sections at the end of August as you’re thinking about your first day at SWA.
You have asked lots of brilliant questions of Miss Ireland and Ms Cripps when they met you at your primary school. Some of you will meet them next week. If you have any other questions please check this page for updates- we will post answers to all the main ones here. If you or your parents need to contact us with any other questions you can use the e-mail addresses in the letter below or just telephone the school.
Have an awesome end of the summer term and a great summer break. We will see you very soon for the start of secondary school!
Transition information for parents
We realise that secondary schools can feel very different to primary schools but it is very important to us that you continue to feel fully involved in your child’s education. Research shows that parental support and involvement is one of the most important factors in determining a child’s academic success. You are the expert on your child and your support, encouragement and interest can make a huge difference to your child’s motivation and ability to cope with settling in a new school. Communication with your child’s form tutor will help us support your child. Please feel free to jot a note in your child’s planner, e-mail or phone us with any concerns you think we ought to know. Even if we cannot talk to you immediately, we will get back to you as soon as possible. It is very important that you attend Parents’ Eve, Parents’ Information Eve, read the biannual progress checks and keep abreast of your child’s attendance, reward and consequence points and homework on our online platform Go4schools.
Secondary school is a great opportunity to further develop your talents outside lessons and try out new things. This is why we are keen to encourage your child to try out a variety of after-school activities after lessons on a Tuesday and Thursday and/or during lunchtimes. We hope your child will develop new interests and have a go at new experiences. Committing time and energy to talents and interests can often have positive spin-offs for other work in school. They often develop confidence, organisational skills, self-discipline and good communication skills, as well as being a lot of fun.
How else can you help your child to make a flying start to their secondary career?
- Read through the information above with your child
- Support them in reading the two books provided over the summer
- Encourage your child to be ready to learn by having the correct equipment every day, such as pens, pencils, a rule and an eraser. Also, bringing PE kit when it is needed.
- Help your child understand the importance of attendance and punctuality. Good attendance helps lead to success. Please let us know as soon as possible if your child is unwell.
- Check Go4schools regularly. It will include full details of all the homework set and when it is due. It also shows the reward (or possibly consequence) points your child has received every lesson. Your child’s timetable is also available so they will always know which books and resources to pack for the next day.
- Encourage your child to discuss their work with you and help them find the space and time to complete homework. Showing an interest in your child’s work helps to underline the idea that you think it is as important as we do.
- Attend all school events concerning the achievement and progress of your child