At WBGS, we appreciate that the impact of Covid-19 has resulted in a challenging time for year 6 students; please rest assured that the Senior Leadership Team and our entire staff are focused on ensuring our new Year 7 boys feel welcomed, informed and supported as they begin their journey with us.
Boys joining us in year 7 in September 2021 should now have received email correspondence detailing their new form with welcome video messages from the Head of Year 7 Mr Chase and from our Head Boy Sidney and Year 7 pupil Rohan.
You should also have received an email detailing the new start of term arrangements relating to our requirement to test students before their return. Please read this letter detailing the requirements here:
We encourage you and your son to read the Year 7 Handbook sent by email and you might want to look at a virtual tour of the school here: Virtual School Tour
The transition from primary to secondary school is an exciting time but it can also be a little daunting so we have created a list of frequently asked questions for both our new parents and new students:
New Year 7 Parent FAQs
Who is responsible for Transition at WBGS?
Mr Wallis is Head of Transition. Mr Wallis is an experienced teacher, formerly our Director of Sport and a WBGS member of staff for 14 years so is very knowledgeable about everything WBGS related and fully understands all of the expectations of the transition process. Mr Wallis manages the transition process alongside Mr Chase, Head of Year 7, Ms Mesik, Assistant Headteacher and the team of year 7 Form Tutors.
How will my child know where to go on the first day?
Boys should enter through the Shepherds Road entrance. Staff and prefects will be on hand to welcome your child by the gate and direct them to the appropriate place. Our Year 7 form tutors will also be there to escort students. The boys will all be wearing their House colour t-shirt, so they will be able to spot others in their form very easily and their form tutor will be able to spot them!
What is a form group and a house?
Every student at WBGS has a form group with approximately 28 students. The form groups are organised by “Houses”, with each House having 1 form per year group. For example, 7B is Year 7, Bushey House.
Your child will spend 25 minutes registration time each day with their form group and tutor. The form tutor is your son’s first and main point of contact at school. If your son has any questions, concerns, needs help, support or indeed has good news to share, his form tutor is on hand to listen and offer assistance when needed. Our aim is for a form tutor to keep the same form from Year 7 to Year 11.
A specialised Wellbeing Curriculum is delivered by Form Tutors during form time. This fosters a sense of unity between the form tutor and the form and a safe and supportive environment in which boys can express themselves.
During his first few weeks at school your son will be shown how to use Google Classroom. Google Classroom is the platform used by the school for email, sharing information, data storage and access, programmes for world processing and presentations and sharing information.
He will be shown how to log onto Google Classroom at home so that he can access notices. Sometimes teachers post homework there and your son will learn to make a note of this in his homework planner.
What about a mobile phone?
Your son may not use a mobile phone during the school day. This means his phone must be turned off and put away at 8.30am and may not be turned on again until he has left the building at the end of his last lesson. This includes the walk to New Field for games.
This is a change form our previous behaviour policy and is designed to help support your son adapting to secondary school life and socialising following lockdown.
Does my child need to bring a device (chromebook / laptop) to school?
No. He must not bring a device into school until Year 8.
Where can my child find out about extra-curricular clubs?
Your son will have access to the latest extra-curricular clubs and societies run at school via Google Classroom. They will also be available to view on the school website here: link to extra curricular clubs. Club information will be updated in September 2021.
Will my child visit the school for a Transition Day?
We are following the latest advice from the Government on safe working practice for schools. Regrettably, this means that we are not able to invite all of Year 6 students into school at the moment. We will, however, make sure that our new Year 7s have an extra day of transition in September instead. Your son will have a tour, play games and be provided with a map of the school to help him settle in. More information will follow on this.
My child has additional needs. What extra help will they get?
Boys with additional needs will have received direct contact from WBGS Learning Support.
When will I be able to buy school uniform?
The Friends of WBGS operate a Second-Hand Uniform shop selling good quality used kit and uniform. The shop is based at School and open Wednesday afternoons by appointment only. Find out more here: https://www.friendsofwbgs.org/
What happens if my child is absent from school?
Excellent attendance is key to a student’s success, both academically and socially. We expect all students to be at school all the time. If your son is unwell please follow the procedures for reporting absence which can be found here .
What happens if my child feels unwell during the day?
If your child feels unwell during the day they should go and see Matron, Mrs Wilson, in the medical room at break or lunch, or if in a lesson, ask their teacher if they can go there. Matron will ascertain if it is necessary to contact you. Your child should never contact you directly but must go to Matron. Students are not permitted to leave school unless signed out by an appropriate adult.
What should we do if we do not have Internet access at home?
The school library has a large number of computers which are available for students to use to complete homework at break, lunch and after school. Local public libraries also have computers available for public use. We also run Homework clubs after school. Your son will receive information about this when he starts in September.
What should I do if my child has not been able to complete their homework for a genuine reason?
Write a note or send an email to the class teacher so they know your child has a genuine reason. We would encourage your son to take responsibility for this.
What should I do if my son is unable to participate in PE/Games?
Write a note or send an email to the class teacher detailing the reason they are unable to participate so they know your child has a genuine reason.
Which subjects are taught in ability groups?
On the whole boys will be taught in their form groups in year 7 and 8. The exception to this is Maths where they will be divided into ability groups in the Spring 2022 term. All students will receive delivery of the entire curriculum irrespective of their set. Heads of Departments across the school understand the challenges facing your son’s unique cohort and will manage this. We understand that balancing the support of students’ wellbeing and academic ability is going to be more significant than ever as students return to school after the school closures. Our priority initially will be to settle your child into school.
How long can my child stay at school in the evenings?
The school day ends at 3:15pm each day. Boys should only remain on the school site if they are taking part in an extracurricular activity. We do not have the capacity to look after students after this time. If he is worried at the end of the day because his adult is running late, your son should report to reception.
How much homework will my son get? How can I help him?
Detailed information about school life and our expectations of your son will be given during Parent Information Evening in September. As a rough rule your son can expect no more than an hour each evening initially. This is an average approximation. Your son should also be encouraged to read each evening for up to an hour.
What are the rules regarding shoes?
Please see the WBGS School Uniform Code here.
When will my child and I know which form they will be in?
Families will receive an email informing them which form they are in and who their Tutor is.
How can I connect with the school community and support my child in making new friends?
Our PTA ,the Friends of WBGS, are an active and very friendly group of parents who support the school via their fundraising efforts and provide lots of fantastic social opportunities. The Friends of WBGS can support you through this transition process too. If you sign up (on the online form in starter pack information you have received) you will be able to join What's App Groups, get to know other parents and get involved in the social side of school life. The Friends of WBGS also coordinate the Second Hand Uniform Shop.
New Year 7 Student FAQs
Do we have assemblies?
Students will have two assemblies a week. One Year group and one main school which follows the pastoral themes.
Will I be in the same tutor group as my friends? What if I am the only person from my Primary School that is coming to WBGS?
We cannot guarantee that you will be with boys you already know. Boys come to Watford Grammar from lots of different primary schools and whilst this may seem a little scary, it is a great opportunity to meet new friends. We find that boys quickly make new friends at school and your form tutor will look after you and check that everything is going well for you.
Is the work really difficult?
The work at secondary school is a continuation of what you have been learning at Primary. Some of the learning will be a recap of work you have already done at Primary. The teachers have planned the curriculum to build upon your learning at Primary so that it is both accessible but also gives you the right level of challenge.
What happens if you are late to school or are late to a lesson?
If you are walking to school you will need to be organised so that you are not late to school. You could try timing how long it takes from your house to school. Many students arrange to meet friends on route. You need to be in the school building by 8.20 every day, ready for your first lesson at 8:30am
If you are taking the bus or train, you do not need to worry if the bus or train is late – this is not your fault and you will not be punished. You will need to report to the late desk in reception when you come in.
What happens if you get lost when you first arrive at WBGS?
Although WBGS is a large secondary school, you will soon find your way around. You will be issued with a map on Transition Day and taken around the site by the senior prefects to help get you bearings. All of the buildings are named and each classroom has a number. Your timetable will have the floor and the subject on it to support you finding your way. The school will seem a lot bigger than your primary school, but you will soon get used to it and will be able to find your way around.
Is it true that secondary school teachers are really strict?
WBGS expects students to have excellent behaviour and wear their uniform correctly. The main difference at secondary school is that you will have a lot more teachers because you have specialist teachers for each subject. You will find that we have the same high expectations for behaviour, attitude and work. You should be polite to all the grown ups in school.
What are detentions given for?
Detentions are sanctions given when students do not follow the rules within school. The vast majority of our students do not get detentions and visitors to WBGS often comment on how well behaved students are within school. All of the School Codes which detail the behaviour we expect at WBGS can be found in the Year 7 Handbook.
Who do I go to if I have a problem at school?
Your form tutor is the first person you should speak to if you have any issues at school. You also have a Head of Year who is solely responsible for your year group, Mr Chase. We also have members of staff responsible for looking after you in school who are able to help you with your worries, concerns or moments of crisis, these are Mc MacLeod, Ms Messik and Mrs Groves.
What are the rules on mobile phones?
We have decided that your year group will not have mobile phones in school at all. You may have one in your bag but you should never have your mobile phone visible in school even during the break times.
Where are the toilets?
This is a very popular question. You will be given a tour on your first day of school and you will be shown where all of the toilets are. We have toilets throughout the school.
What if I get stuck doing work?
Your teacher and tutor are always there to help you. If you are stuck with something in class or with your home learning you can speak to your teacher or tutor and ask them to explain it again. Your fellow students are also on hand so don’t forget to ask them too.
What sports teams are there for Year 7?
There is a whole range of sports on offer for you to take part in. Including; Rugby, Hockey and Cricket. Find out more on the school sports website here