When a pupil joins a new school, it can be a hugely daunting time for him/her. Whilst the bulk of our new pupils join in Year 7, we do have a number of pupils who join in other Years, both at the start of the academic year and throughout it.
Here at Immanuel, we want every pupil to feel known and understood. We recognise that a pupil’s happiness is inextricably linked to their relationships with their peer group and we work hard to create a culture of acceptance, mutual tolerance and respect.
When pupils join at the beginning of Year 7, we invite them all to an Induction Day in June/July which is a lovely opportunity for them to form initial bonds with their future friends, to meet the teachers and to become more familiar with the environment that will become a second home to them in their formative years. We also invite all the parents in, to solidify that triangular relationship between parents, pupils and the School.
Pupils are then carefully monitored and tracked to ensure that they are settling in academically and socially; this includes during Form time, in lessons and at lunchtime. There is a specialist team of tutors and Heads of Year that are specifically trained in how to support new pupils; consequently, the pupils always feel very happy to share any concerns they have and which are then addressed at the earliest opportunity. We celebrate their achievements and promote team building at every opportunity, including the Year 7 Shabbaton, Amsterdam Trip, day trips, House competitions and Form time activities.
We believe that preparing pupils and parents for some of the things that might cause concern really helps the settling-in process.
Here are some examples of the kinds of thing which pupils can worry about:
- Having difficulty with one or more of their school subjects;
- Thinking they may be ill and are too afraid or embarrassed to tell anyone;
- Feeling depressed or anxious;
- Bullying, including cyber-bullying;
- Relationships at home;
- Being caught in a situation that they don’t know how to get out of;
- Being treated unfairly;
- Feeling that they are not given enough privacy or independence.
It is our job to make sure that they feel that they always have someone to talk to who will listen and help.
A similar age-appropriate programme is in place for all children joining in Years 8-13 and they are always given the opportunity to come in before they start to track a pupil, they are buddied-up and directed to key clubs and team-building events to make their transition into their new school a smooth and happy one.