Transition Tips 2022

week 1

Dear Parents/Carers,

The primary schools within Maidstone District are running a transition project for all their Year 6 pupils – therefore you may already have some support from your son’s current school being provided in a similar way.  However, we are aware that many of our students are coming from schools outside of the Maidstone District, so we thought it would be helpful to have a similar program of activities for your son to work through to help prepare him for transitioning to Oakwood Park Grammar School in September.

We have adapted the Maidstone project slightly to suit it specifically to OPGS, however the content of the booklet and activities to complete will be broadly the same.  We are running the project a couple of weeks behind the Maidstone Primary Schools, so you should find that if your son is completing these activities in his current Primary school, he will already be familiar with the activity, and should be able to talk to you about what he has learnt with his Year 6 teacher; this is probably a more useful use of his time than repeating an activity he has already done.

The booklet attached to this email contains various activities which we will guide you through across the summer term in a series of weekly emails.  It is not designed to be completed in a single sitting, or even necessarily in order, but we will direct you to the relevant pages in our instructions.  Each week we will be sending home a tip and/or activity for you to discuss or complete with your son to support their move to Secondary School, and some activities for your son to undertake as well.

 Activity/Tip for Parents/Carers

  • If you haven’t already done so, think about how you can help your child to be more independent at home:
    • Do they put their clothes away or complete simple jobs like making their own bed or packed lunches/make hot drinks etc.?
  • Questioning – activity for Red and Green Questions (pdf instructions attached)
  • Ask your son if they know who else is going to the same school and encourage friendships.  These may not be the children your child usually socialises with, but it is always good to have a familiar face in the first few weeks.
    • Remind your child that they will make new friends when they start their new school.
  • Ask your son to complete the activity on page 8 of the transition booklet.
    • Try to find a quiet time to discuss these activities at home once he has completed them.

Pupil Activity

  • Page 8 Activity: TFT Worries!
    • Use two different coloured pens to ‘sort’ the things you are worried about, and those you are confident with.
  • Page 9 Activity: I can do this!
    • Discuss these concerns or worries with someone you trust.  Try to think of two plans for each scenario which you might be able to follow should this issue arise.

 I hope you find these activities and tips useful.

Mr M Keeling Jones – Senior Pastoral Leader and Director of Studies, Year 7

Attachments:

OPGS Yr 7 Transition Booklet 2022

Red and Green Questions 

Week 2

Dear Parents/Carers,

I hope that you found the tips last week useful in prompting a discussion around what to expect from secondary school and that your discussions gave you an insight into how your son may be feeling now about moving on to OPGS.  Don’t worry if the “Red questions” make frequent appearances over the next few weeks, it takes a while for the process to kick in, stick with it!

The tips this week are all focussed on the journey to and from school.  This will obviously be different for each of you depending on where you live; your son may benefit from speaking to other students from his Primary school to make joint plans – even if these students are not ones he usually socialises with.  There may not be any other students coming to OPGS from your son’s Primary school, please do not panic if this is the case!  There will be a considerable number of students for whom this is true – the older boys on public transport are very supportive of our Year 7’s and they will make new friends when they start in September.

Kind Regards,

Mr M Keeling Jones

Senior Pastoral Leader and Director of Studies, Year 7

 

Activity/Tip for Parents/Carers

Travel planning – How will your child get to and from school every day?

  • Can you incorporate/practise the journey to OPGS (or part of it, for those of you further afield) as an activity at the weekend?
  • Can they walk by themselves to primary school now? Or be dropped off a little further away to walk the last part by themselves?
  • If your son will be using public transport, can you use Google Maps or other apps to see where the bus stops (etc.) are?  You could plan your journey?
  • Can they read a bus and/or train timetable?
  • Do they have access to the Arriva Bus App which gives them up to date information about the buses they may need to use? Do they know how to check live train travel information online?
  • Have a think about your contingency plans – although it might be too soon to share this with your son:
    • What will happen if he misses his bus/train for whatever reason?
      • How would he let you know?
      • How would he get to school in the morning?
      • How would he get home?

For Pupils

Have a look at and complete page 13 of the transition booklet

  • How will you be travelling to school?
  • Can you use Google Maps to plan your journey?
  • If you are going by bus:
    • What time is your bus in the morning? In the afternoon?
    • Where will you get on the bus? Think about the morning and the afternoon
    • Where will you get off the bus? Again – morning and afternoon, they are likely to be different!
    • How long does it take?
    • Have you got access to the Arriva App?  Consider downloading this if not.
    • Who else might be on your bus? Other students from your primary school? Perhaps you know some of our current year 7’s?
  • If you are going by train:
    • What times are your trains?
    • Which train stations will you use?
    • How will you get to and from the train station at home and in Maidstone?
    • Will you have to change trains? If so, where?
    • How long will it take?
    • Do you know how to check the live travel information online?

Who else might be on your train? Other students from your primary school? Perhaps you know some of our current year 7’s?

week 3

Dear Parents and Carers, 

I hope that the boys managed to have a look at planning their journeys to school last week – It can be a source of anxiety for students in the first few weeks but if you continue to talk about the journey at home or when out and about (and what they can do as a contingency plan if things go wrong) this should help them to manage the journey more smoothly, and reduce the anxiety in the build up to the start of school in September. 

For students who may be getting the bus next year, further information about the KCC Travel Saver bus pass can be found here: https://www.kent.gov.uk/education-and-children/schools/school-transport/KCC-travel-saver.  The site has yet to be updated for September 2022, but it will give you an idea of how the system works and the related costs.

This week’s task is for the boys to familiarise themselves with the school website and complete pages 3-6 of the booklet. The majority of the answers can be found in the Year 6-7 transition section which can be found here; https://www.opgs.org/page/?title=Year+6+Transition&pid=23, but there is lots of other information on the site.  They might also like to view the school magazine @Oakwood to see the kind of activities and events that happen in school. 

As part of this task, your son may be wondering about form groups and houses.  Houses and form groups are allocated after we have received information from your son’s primary school, so that we can ensure students’ needs are best met. 

You will be notified as soon as the Form groups and Houses are confirmed, which will then enable you to purchase the correct tie.

I hope you and your son find this useful,

Mr Keeling-Jones

Senior Pastoral Leader & Director of Studies, Year 7

 

Activity/Tip for Parents/Carers

Support your son in accessing the school’s website. www.opgs.org

This may also be a good opportunity for you to have a look at the policies, practices and procedures at Oakwood such as timings, uniform and behaviour expectations etc.

Most of the information they need to complete this section can also be found in the printed welcome pack that you received – if you would like them to work “offline” then this would be a good opportunity for them to read through the booklet.

Pupil Activity

Activity: Have you accessed your new school’s website?  www.opgs.org Have a look through p 3-6 of the booklet: use the school website to answer some of these questions.

week 4

Dear Parents and Carers, 

This week’s tips are all about reading the school timetable.  At Oakwood Park Grammar School we follow a two-weekly cycle on the timetable – the first week in September is always week 1 and then the weeks alternate from there for the whole year. If we break up for the holidays in week 1 it would be week 2 upon our return.  

This can cause some confusion initially, with students packing for the wrong week, but form teachers will remind the boys and they do get used to it very quickly.  Miss Beeney has recorded a short video explaining how to read the timetable and complete the task (the link is in the pupil activity below) – this will be especially useful if your son is not completing these tasks in school with his year 6 teacher.  We will send you the answers next week, so you can see if he managed to read the timetable correctly! 

The student’s timetable is always available on our parent and student EduLink app so you can check there if you lose track of where we are.  For a preview of the EduLink app and what you will be able to see and do you can visit:  https://www.edulinkone.com/#!/demo 

In the long run, giving your son responsibility for packing his bag the night before school is highly recommended – it will make for a much less stressful morning for everyone in the family! However, he is likely to need support with this to begin with – we would suggest that you help him to devise a system where he can check what he needs and pack the bag, following the same routine every day.  As he becomes more confident with this you can start to reduce the support you provide – initially by checking with him that he has packed correctly, then just checking that he has packed and finally allowing him to take full responsibility for himself.  This process of withdrawing the support may happen quite quickly for some students, whereas others may take longer – you will know your son best and be able to judge this process.   Ultimately though, getting him into a good routine with organising his things should help to avoid those panicked “forgotten PE kit” phone calls! Next week is half term for us – I would assume it is for most of you too.  If you have not started these transition activities yet, perhaps next week will be a good time to start?    

Thank you to everyone who has filled in the parental notes for form tutors.  This information is combined with the information from your son’s year 6 teachers and will help us to allocate form groups and houses. I would like to take this opportunity to encourage you to book your appointments with Simmonds, our uniform supplier.  They are based at Newnham Court, Maidstone and are currently offering a 10% discount off everything, as well as having a price match promise. Whilst some parents may be waiting until their son has been allocated a house group to purchase the correct tie this is not necessary as we are arranging alternative provision for the purchase of the school tie.  We will be in touch soon with more information about the transition plans we have for next term and the summer.  Dates for your diary

Tuesday 21st June – New Year 7 Parents Information Evening – 6.30pm in school

Thursday 7th July - New Year 7 Student Taster Day – 8.30 – 3.25pm in school

Enjoy the half term break! 

Mr M Keeling-Jones – Senior Pastoral Leader and Director of Study Year 7

 

Activity/Tip for Parents/Carers 

o    There is an example of how our timetable actually looks on the school website at https://www.opgs.org/page/?title=The+School+Day&pid=145 This is read in the same way as the simplified version in the booklet. 

o    Please do note though, that although this is based on our OPGS timetable, staff names have been changed to fictitious ones as these pages were used for all Maidstone schools to support students going to any secondary school. 

o    What equipment or resources would your child currently need to take into school on specific days? 

o    Could your child organise this independently? 

o    Perhaps they can start to pack their own bag ready for school now if they don’t do this already? 

o    Start to instil in your son that there are usually consequences at secondary school for students that do not have the correct equipment or resources. 

 

Pupil Activity 

o    Watch the video explaining how to read the school timetable: https://youtu.be/zLD3yjPgVG8 

o    Complete pages 14-15 in your Transition Booklet 

o    Do you currently pack your own bag with the equipment and resources you need each day for primary school? 

o    If not, is this something you might be able to take more responsibility for from now? 

Week 5

Dear Parents/Carers,

We hope everyone managed to make the most of half term and the boys are returning to school feeling refreshed and ready for a busy Term 6. 

This week’s transition focus is around managing a weekly budget for lunch and snacks and trying to make healthy food choices.

At OPGS, our school canteen offer a breakfast, breaktime and lunchtime canteen service – students will be issued with a pre-pay key fob on the first day of term which you will need to register for them on the Squid website. The Squid account allows automatic or manual top ups for the fob, and you can log into the system for an itemised list to see exactly what they have been spending their money on!  

You will receive a letter asking you to register for this system on the taster day.  Even if you think your son will have packed lunch most days, it is still worth registering in case of a forgotten lunch box emergency.  The fob itself will be issued in September.

If required, the canteen will take cash from the year 7’s for the first week or so while you get sorted out with this, but then will operate an entirely cashless system, with students paying using the fob which is registered to their account, for the rest of their time in school. This is also linked to a photograph of the student, which is displayed on the canteen till, preventing them from using each other’s and making sure that they can still get lunch if they forget their fob by accident!

As it is not ‘real’ money that they are spending, some students can get carried away by this new-found freedom in the first few weeks, so we have included this activity to introduce the idea of a weekly budget and to try to get them to think about making healthy choices that fit into that budget.

  • More information about the Squid card system can be found here: https://www.squidcard.com/
  • Further information about our catering company, including allergy information, sample menus and some easy and healthy home cooking ideas to try out at home with your son can be found here: https://www.independentcatering.co.uk/

 

If your son has completed the timetable activity from last week, you can find the answers to check his work here: https://www.opgs.org/page/?title=Transition+Tips+Answers&pid=161

 

Dates for your diary

Tuesday 21st June – New Year 7 Parents Information Evening – 6.30pm in school

Thursday 7th July - New Year 7 Student Taster Day – 8.30am – 3.20pm in school

 

Mr M Keeling Jones – Senior Pastoral Leader

 

Activity/Tip for Parents/Carers

Activity: Eating Healthily/Managing your Money

  • At OPGS we have a pre-paid system for paying for their lunches and snacks in the school canteen. Could your son be responsible for this?
  • During this last term could you set up a similar system for him to pay for snacks/lunches? Allocate a certain amount per day, put prices on the snacks and drinks in your cupboards or fridges so that your son has to ‘pay’ for them out of his daily budget.
  • This will help him to get used to budgeting and perhaps prevent constant snacking!
  • Is your son able to plan for healthy options? – there are some discussion prompts in the student activity that you may like to chat with him about once he has worked on it.

Pupil Activity

Activity: Eating Healthily/Managing your Money

  • Activity on p16-17
  • Is it easy or difficult to keep to a budget?
  • Do you choose healthy or unhealthy items?
  • Your parents/carers may also be suggesting a daily/weekly budget for you to purchase items at home

Week 6

Dear Parents and Carers, 

In this week’s activities we are asking Parents to discuss a key skill for secondary school: “What should I do if…?” problem solving.  Helping students to rehearse useful phrases such as “I’m lost”, “I’m sorry I’m late.”, “Please could you help me?”, “Who should I ask/tell about…?”, “Where would I find…?” etc.  will hopefully help them to stay calm and remember what to do should the situation arise for real.  Full instructions are below. 

We are looking forward to seeing you all in person at the parent information evening next week on Tuesday 21st June at 6.30pm.  This evening is aimed at you as parents/carers rather than at your son, however, please do bring him along if you have no alternative childcare. 

Mr M Keeling Jones – Senior Pastoral Leader 

 

Activity/Tip for Parents/Carers 

Activity: Managing Situations 

Discuss with your child problem solving ideas – what could they do if something does not go to plan? Who could they ask for help if they were unsure about something? Talk about your own experiences of how you have asked people to help you in different situations, emphasise that everyone needs help sometimes! 

The scenarios below are probably the most common situations that Year 7’s find themselves in where they might have a ‘brain freeze’ moment and not know what to do – try to discuss with them what they could do or say in these situations, or who they could ask for help.  If they have rehearsed a contingency plan then they might remember it when in the moment! 

o    Forgotten homework 

o    Forgotten PE kit 

o    Argument with a friend 

o    Missed my bus 

o    Lost my jumper 

o    Can’t find my bag 

o    Don’t understand my homework 

o    Feel ill during a lesson 

o    Bus is delayed and arrive late to school 

o    Forgotten my lunch fob 

o    Lost my bus pass 

o    Can’t find my lesson 

You will find some ideas to help with this activity here:  https://www.opgs.org/page/?title=Year+7+Frequently+Asked+Questions&pid=151

 

 Student Activity: Managing Situations 

Complete pages 19 and 20 of your student booklet. 

Try to think about how this situation would make someone feel, and what they can do to make the situation better, or who they can ask to help them.