In response to questions raised by parents during our successful Y5 pathways and Y6 transition weeks, we are running a 7-week spotlight on some of the most common misunderstandings concerning the Welsh education system. We hope you find this informative. If you have any further questions you would like answered, do not hesitate to contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org #inspiringlearning
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What if I am not in a Form with my friends?
How am I going to find my way around Chepstow School?
What extra-curricular activities can I get involved with at Chepstow School?
Is there a special uniform for Chepstow School and if there is, where can we purchase it?
Chepstow School pupils wear their uniform with pride.
Our current uniform offer can be viewed here: https://www.chepstowschool.net/en/our-school/uniform
I already have a child at Chepstow School, do I have to buy the new uniform for my child coming into Year 7 or can they wear things my older child has grown out of (blazer / tie etc.)?
We understand the financial constraints many families are experiencing during the current pandemic. Therefore, there will be a minimum 2 year phasing in period, where older style uniform item will continue to be permitted school uniform.
What is the chance of children from the same primary school ending up in the same class in secondary school? Is my child still going to be with their friends? What if they are the only one from their feeder school?
The forms will be made up of a mix of pupils from across all of the primary schools. We try to ensure that all the forms are well balanced in terms of genders, primary schools and interests. We will actively encourage pupils to make new friends when they start with us, as well as maintaining their existing friendships. If your child is particularly anxious then please get in touch with the school and let us know the names of one or two other pupils that you would like to be in the same form as your child. We will do everything we can to accommodate your request.
Do pupils keep the same form tutor every year so they have continuity in terms of pastoral support?
We have a bespoke team of tutors who are experienced in helping Year 6s become Year 7s and make the best start possible at secondary school. Your child will be with their Year 7 form tutor for the first year, and then move onto a new form tutor for Years 8 – 11.
How do you embrace each child's individuality?
Chepstow School is driven by our pupils. If you are really interested in something and would like to start a lunchtime or after school club that allows you to further your interest, then don’t hesitate to speak to your form teacher. If we can facilitate your interest in something, then we will! Within your form group and your lessons it’s really important that you share your views and feelings with your teachers so that we can get to know you the best that we can. Pupil voice is really important to us as a school and we have an active school council, made up of form representatives, who will work hard to represent your views within school. Drawing on the experiences and differences of all our individual pupils (and staff members!) makes us stronger as a school community, and we’re looking forward to welcoming you, and your own individuality, when you join us.
Form groups, setting/streaming
Does my child have to go to a different classroom for each lesson?
Children will move around to a number of different teachers and classes who are specialist in a given subject.
Will my child have a different teacher for each lesson?
Yes, at secondary school we have subject specific teachers. Some teachers might teach more than one subject (for example, music and drama) but on the whole you will have different teachers for all your different subjects.
What are the Year Seven Teacher’s names?
You will be taught by a range of teachers across all the subjects in the school. Most teachers teach from Year 7 right the way up to Year 13, so you’ll get to know them really well during your time with us. Please visit our website to get to know some friendly faces. They’d love to hear from you so drop them an email or tweet them to share your love for their subject!
When will we know which form the Year 7s have been put in, and how will they know where their form room is?
Our Transition Week is calendared for 5th – 9th July 2021. Before then, we will have arranged the form groups and let you know what form group your child is in and who their form tutor is. During their Transition Week our new pupils will be shown around the school (more than once!) so that they start to understand where everything is. All of their teachers will be really understanding if they get lost and are late to any lessons as a result. There are always members of staff around who they can ask for help.
At what point are children put in to ability groups? What subjects are they put into 'sets' in? How will this be worked out given all the disruption to Year 6 teaching, and can they be moved up a set once allocated, if deemed apt?
Children will be streamed in English and Maths towards the end of their first half term with us. It is important to remember that these streamed groups are very flexible and pupils will be able to move up or down in order to best support and stretch them academically. We take into consideration the work that your child has completed at primary school, as well as baseline assessments conducted with us in secondary school. We will also carry out Cognitive Ability Tests (CATs) which will help us to best understand your child’s strengths and where they might need more support.
Additional Learning Needs
Do you have any thoughts on how to support transition for pupils who maybe don't have an ALN diagnosis, but perhaps might still need a bit of extra help in coping with a new environment?
Communication with your child’s form tutor and Progress Leader is key. It could be, pandemic restrictions allowing, that we invite your child up to Chepstow School for some extra time, not just in the main transition week, so that can really get to know the site and their new teachers. It might be that they attend a wellbeing group for the first few weeks/half term that focusses on how they’re feeling, helping them to make friends and feel settled in their new school. We will endeavour to accommodate all our new pupils needs however we can, the crucial thing is that you tell us what the issues are so that we can support your child together.
We are looking to buy a computer for our child when they start secondary as they only have a tablet at present. Do children tend to have a laptop or a standalone PC with keyboard?
This varies from subject to subject. In ICT, the pupils use PCs with keyboards but in other subjects there are laptops available if and when needed. We have loaned lots of laptops out to pupils during this current lockdown, so please don't feel like you need to buy a laptop in order to facilitate your child’s learning.
Our internet is frustrating in trying to access on-live lessons, will this be taken account of, for those children who don't have fast internet access, if this continues to be a learning approach?
We have been working with Welsh Government and the local authority to support pupils who are struggling to access technology. There are a number of support options available, which we will work with parents on a case by case basis to explore.
Can my child bring a mobile phone into school?
We do understand that phones can be an important device in helping your child stay safe on their way to and from school. For many of our pupils, this is a big, independent step for them (and yourselves as parents and carers). When in school however – and this includes social times, not just during lessons – we request that all phones are switched off and kept in a pupil’s bag. We are increasingly aware of the problems that social media can cause for our pupils and effectively taking phones out of circulation in this way has proven a huge step towards pupils feeling safer and happier in school. If a pupil needs to contact home at any point, they can ask reception or their progress leader to phone home. Equally, if you need to contact your child, then we would ask that you contact the school and we will pass the message on.
When and how do we get a bus pass?
Information will follow in due course from the LA and school re: school buses. Public bus timetables also run specifically to service Chepstow School hours.
It is always good to hear the positives but also really important to reflect if there anything you feel the school could do better?
Reaching out to parents/carers and the wider community is something we are working on as a school and something that has been lacking in the past. Our Parent Forum event, for example, is testament to how much we value the input from our parents and pupils and how important it is to work together to ensure the best for our pupils. Building a PTA is really crucial to this and we are really looking forward to when we can welcome the community into our school again to celebrate our pupils, their work, and our wider community.