Minerva Learning Trust
8th July 2021

Transitions at High Storrs 2021

Mr Lacey

Transitions are hard at the best of times. But for the Y6s and Y11s who are preparing to join our Y7 and Y12 community, the disruption since March 2020 has made the run up to this change all the harder to contemplate. Self-isolations at home, the stop-start nature of school, the amended, postponed and cancelled assessments and celebrations have all added to the general anxiety and challenges that come with this stage of life.

The Ancient Greek philosopher, Socrates, once said that the secret of change is not to focus all of your energy on fighting the old, but building on the new. That’s all good and well for him to say (he didn’t have to live through a global pandemic), but there is real wisdom in looking forward with positivity when the past has been hard. Although the programme has looked very different, we have been amending our plans for the Y6 to Y7, and Y11 to Y12 transition throughout the year. It looks very different to previous years, but the 500 plus new students are coming into a community ready to welcome them, help them to find their feet and begin to learn, succeed and thrive. Here’s a quick sense of what it will look like for the September 2021 cohort of incoming Y7s and Y12s.

Year 6 – 7 Transition

Our Y7 cohort who will join us in September have had an unimaginable last year and a half. We also have our largest year group joining us (249) due to a higher than usual number of appeals this year. This year’s Transition Day (originally scheduled for 30th June) had to be cancelled due to rising Covid cases, and the need to avoid cross-bubble contacts. However, we ran a virtual Transition Evening for families (which is now available on the website – News and Events – Transition 2021) and are planning a dedicated Y7 Induction Day for Thurs 2nd September, when we will be able to give our new Y7s our undivided attention as the only lower school year attending on that day. We have a Summer School planned, with a range of activities ranging from animal encounters, to musical experiences and drama workshops, and have around 190 students booked to attend for that week. The Freshers Fayre (when Y7s will get a chance to look at our extensive extra-curricular offer), the Information Evening for parents and Settling In Evening within the first half term will give families a chance to meet tutors, hear how their child(ren) have settled in, and give students plenty of opportunities to get involved in the wider life of the school. We know that families will be nervous at times, but we have a current Year 7 who are well settled and happy, who managed an even more restricted transition experience. We can’t wait to meet them!

Year 11 – 12 Transition

This week Y11 students have had two Applicant Days, where they have got to know High Storrs Sixth Form a little better ahead of September. There have been many activities, including a careers focus and watching subject showcases. Each year we set A Level bridging work for students to complete over the summer and hand in to their new teachers in September. First lessons will be a robust induction to each subject area to set our high expectations from the onset. A Levels are hard, but students joining us do so in the knowledge that they will be challenged and support in equal measure. To facilitate prompt support if it is needed, building relationships is essential. Our Applicant Days included a ‘This Is Me’ activity, where students introduced themselves to us. Starting to forge relationships now will certainly help our new Y12s to make a strong start in September. We are confident they will handle the transition well, but having links with their new form tutor and wider pastoral staff will certainly help. After taking part in Applicant Days we hope our new Y12s are excited to join High Storrs Sixth Form: committed to learning, keen to succeed and ready to thrive.