The path to feeling confident and comfortable in their new surrounds is made easier for Year 7 students by our transition programme.
Adjusting to secondary school can be a challenge, no matter how good your preparation. For the 176 students entering Wadhurst’s Year 7 this year, the path to feeling comfortable and confident in their new surrounds was made easier by the first week’s transition programme.
Developed over several years, the transition programme helps Year 7 students settle into Melbourne Grammar School life. “We want the boys to develop a genuine sense of belonging very quickly,” says Mr Tom Bowler who leads the transition team. “The boys are all new to Wadhurst, even the Grimwade House boys, and so it’s a fresh start for everyone.”
The first week of school operates to a transition timetable, which allows for a range of activities to ‘learn the ropes’ and to promote social interactions. “We want them to start with a really positive attitude, so that means helping them to navigate a much larger physical environment and a new peer group,” explains Mr Bowler. “It can be a bit daunting, of course, but our experience shows that when the boys and their parents have the guidance, support and information they need, the challenges can be successfully managed. That is the objective of the programme.”
Activities include fun, getting-to-know-you sessions and practical information briefings about the campus and its operations. An integral part of transition involves the Mentor Programme, where Pastoral Care staff train a group of Year 8 students to work with the Year 7 students throughout Term I. The mentors help the new students to make positive social connections, as well as understand ways to adjust to the complexities of secondary school life.
The Year 8 mentors gave their all in the sessions with the new students. “It is a good feeling to know that we are helping the new Year 7 boys as we were in their position only 12 months ago. It has made me realise just how much I was able to learn in my first year at Wadhurst,” said Oliver Horigan, Year 8. The Year 7 students also participate in Coach Approach, a programme that highlights the importance of communication, problem-solving, trust and teamwork. “These are the building blocks of life at Wadhurst and it’s good to introduce them straight away. It also leads to discussion about the School’s values and the standards we expect,” says Mr Bowler. The students have been enthusiastic about the programme. “It was great to follow a special transition timetable in the first week. It was different to a normal timetable and gave us time to get used to new routines and make new friends,” said Jeremy A’Beckett, Year 7.
For Year 7 student, Angus Whitehead, the tours around the school were really valuable. “We felt like we had our own space to go to in the school. It was a smooth start and I felt comfortable making new friends and learning new things,” he said.
However, it was Daniel Cash, Year 7, who perhaps best summed it up in saying, “The first week here at Melbourne Grammar School has been so exhausting but so, so worth it!”