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Highdown School
and Sixth Form Centre

 

Some quotes from our new year 7s:

‘’I really enjoy the range of academic subjects and the ranges of teachers all with a strong understanding in their core subjects. ..... All the teachers are very nice and will help you around if you get lost. Overall, I think highdown is a great school from the teachers to the education and even the grounds themselves the playing fields are massive’’.  

‘’I have enjoyed  learning new subjects and meeting new people  All the teachers are also super nice and helpful. As well as that all the students here help you find your way around the school’’.

‘’The thing I have loved most about joining Highdown was meeting new people! I’ve always thought that it would be really difficult making friends at secondary school- but I found in easy!’’  

‘’So far high down has been a joy for me and I'm sure it will be for all of you reading this Highdown is one of those schools that I will never abandon and hopefully you won't either.’’

 

Transition

Transition to secondary school is one of the biggest and most significant changes in a child's life. This is why, at Highdown School and Sixth Form Centre, we place the upmost importance on getting it right to ensure all of our new Year 7 students are happy, motivated and primed to be the best that they can be.

Our approach to transition consists of a bespoke programme of events that is tailored to enable all new students to feel the warm welcome Highdown offers and to develop an awareness and application of key attributes that make a good learner. We look to foster in new students our core values of aspiration, respect and excellence: Highdown students ARE bold, creative, unafraid to take risks in their learning, believe in their abilities and demonstrate resilience no matter the challenge in front of them. Our aim is to instil these skills in our students from the very beginning so that they can go on to be the best that they can be.

 

Our scheduled transition programme for students joining us in 2020/21:

Transition doesn’t end with your first day at our school: for the next few weeks the buddies will be there to support you in between lessons and at social times and the transition team will be popping into your lessons throughout the term to check you are settling well and adjusting to secondary school life. Later in the Autumn term there is the Year 7 mentor evening where parents can meet your mentor and find out how you are settling in, both socially and academically. 

 

Covid19 Update: 

It is understandable that this year, in particular, students are likely to be feeling anxious and unsure about moving into secondary school and perhaps disappointed that they didn’t get to spend as much of Year 6 in school as they would have wished to. Young Minds Charity have put together some brilliant resources to help your children prepare for transition, and also for parents to support them in the early weeks at Highdown. 

https://youngminds.org.uk/resources/school-resources/find-your-feet-transitioning-to-secondary-school/

Any changes to the transition programme detailed above in light of the Covid-19 pandemic will be communicated as soon as possible. 

 

You can find more information about our uniform  here.

 

We are very much looking forward to welcoming your sons/daughters to Highdown School and Sixth Form Centre. Unfortunately, as you may expect, we have had to cancel our Year 7 Transition Day, scheduled for Thursday 25th June, and Welcome Evening, scheduled for Wednesday 1st July. In place of this we have planned the following presentations and talks, to ensure that all the information you would usually receive at these events continues to be provided. 

1.      Headteacher’s Welcome and Presentations

On Thursday 25th June we will e-mail you a link to four pre-recorded video presentations about Highdown School:

If you have any general questions after watching these video presentations please e-mail them to lamathews@highdown.reading.sch.uk so that we can address them in the ‘live’ meetings detailed below.  You will also be told which mentor group your child has been assigned to in this e-mail. 

2.      Meet the Mentor Evening

On Wednesday 1st of July at 6.00pm you and your child will be invited to attend a virtual ‘Meet the Mentor’ evening via Microsoft Teams. This meeting will be hosted by your child’s new mentor and by another member of Highdown staff. This will provide an opportunity for mentors to answer any questions e-mailed to us in advance, and to begin to give students a feel for their mentor groups in September.  

The presentations from these meetings are now available to view below.

See below for advice from our Buddies!

 

 

3. Year 7 Transition Day 

To give our new students a smooth start at Highdown School, it is our usual practice that only Year 7 students and some Sixth Formers attend school on the first day. This year we have added an additional transition day for Year 7 to replace the one usually held in June. This will take place on Thursday 3rd September, subject to government guidance, and more details will follow in due course. All students will be expected to attend this day.

4. Special Educational Needs Transition

Unfortunately, we will not be running our normal extra transition for students with SEND. We will update you when we have more information from the Government about how September might look for schools. We feel that showing students what Highdown might look like could be counterproductive to their transition. Please see links below for two photo stories (one male, one female) which have photographs of key locations and key staff in school if you would like your child to begin to recognise Highdown’s facilities. 

Transition into secondary school is always an uncertain and nerve-wracking time and this year more than ever. To support your child with their transition there are also a number of resources below. You can also view a virtual tour here:

 

 

 

We look forward to meeting you in person in September.

 

Frequently asked questions

When will we be able to sign up for clubs and extra curricular activities?
 

All of the clubs for the term will be shown on the school website once the term has started, we encourage stu- dents to sign up for as many as they want

Will my child be in a Mentor Group with their friends? 

We try to put students with at least one of their friends. Information is collated from the primary school as to which groups work well together. We also remind new students that the transition to secondary school is a great opportunity to make new friendship groups.

Where do I get a locker from? 

The lockers are available from the start of term and cost a one-off payment of £10, your Mentor will arrange this in the first few days

When can I start using the cashless catering system? 

If you have ticked on the application form giving permission for your child to have their fingerprint taken, Stu- dents will be taken to the IT Department on their first day to have this done. Once this has been processed they can start using the system after parents have received the registration email and followed the instructions.

Can we try sample uniform on at the school? 

We do not keep any uniform at Highdown as this is dealt with by SWI online. They have a sizing guide to help you when ordering.

Who do I contact with specific queries about my child once they have started Year 7? 

You will be given the email addresses of your child’s Mentor and their Head of Achievement, please email if pos- sible as staff are usually teaching in between 8.40am and 3.05pm and they will get back to you as soon as they can.

Can my child bring a mobile phone to school? 

Students are allowed to bring mobile phones to school with the permission of their parents and at their own risk. Mobile phones must be switched off in class unless the teacher has given permission for them to be used for a specific purpose.