With that big moment approaching, we decided to ask some of our current Year 7 pupils about how they experienced moving from Year 6 to ‘big school’. We talked to Rachel, Hannah, Joseph and Tom who are all pupils in the Scarborough College Senior School.
Both Rachel and Tom joined Scarborough College in Year 5 while Hannah finished primary school in Rillington and was a new starter in Year 7 this Academic Year. A boarding pupil, Joseph joined the College from a primary school in Northampton and boards at Crews Junior Boys House.
The pupils’ favourite subjects is a mixed bag of French, English, Maths, Drama and Design and Technology. Unsurprisingly perhaps, the main reasons for enjoying these subjects are all the same. Each of their favourite subjects is taught by a teacher who is not only nice but also good. The subjects mentioned are fun and interesting, though the pupils do agree that they are challenging subjects as well. ‘We used to have one science subject,’ says Rachel. ‘Now we have biology, chemistry and physics, which is definitely harder.’ Hannah agrees but points out that having a teacher for each subject makes it easier to ask questions. ‘That’s different from primary school,’ she adds. ‘Our RE teacher was also our Maths teacher. A subject teacher is more knowledgeable and can answer more questions.’
When we talk about some of the other challenges, we quickly turn to what is probably the most challenging aspect of Year 7. Starting at a new school. Joseph remembers he didn’t know anyone but also that it didn’t take him long to make friends. ‘In the moment,’ he says. ‘It was tough but now I can’t remember how I went from that.to having lots of friends’ For Rachel and Tom, it was definitely easier to transition to Year 7, having been at the Scarborough College Prep School. Not only did the entire year group transition with them from six to seven, they also knew most of the teachers. Nevertheless, neither Joseph nor Hannah recalls having great difficulty coming from a completely different primary school. ‘I knew some people,’ Hannah recalls. ‘I just didn’t know they were coming to Scarborough College too.’
In forging new friendships the extracurricular activities play an important part. Having Yorkshire Grit on a Monday isn’t just fun, it’s a way for children to express themselves, to discover skills they didn’t know they had and to stand out in different ways than just their academics. To the pupils, however, it’s mostly just fun. As a result, the extracurricular activities are met with approval all around. Rachel reflects on the music teachers who are helpful and genuinely want the pupils to practise and improve. Hannah talks about having never played hockey before and playing a fixture against another school last week and Joseph muses on his ‘boring’ EPs in Year 6 last year and the College’s EP’s that are so much more fun. ‘I never liked hockey,’ he says. ‘Now I love it.’ Hannah adds that being able to play fixtures makes the training more enjoyable and interesting.
Another big transformation, especially for Hannah and Joseph, is the fact that the College is a Google School. Again, the pupils all agree that this is a good thing and helps their studies. It is useful to have all your homework digital, as you can work anywhere and you lose less ‘stuff’. The pupils can work together even when they are not in the same room or house together and you can share documents. Hannah points out that when you’re lucky, ‘You can email teachers in the evening when you’re doing homework. They’re not always there but if you ask a question, very often they reply with an answer.’ This is important because, as Tom points out, ‘In Year 7 you move from one topic to the next topic much faster than at Year 6.’
School lunches and another interesting debate ensues. Amidst the many different meals that either were or were not enjoyed in the past, Tom raises the issue of arctic rolls. ‘We used to have them at my old primary school,’ he says. ‘We don’t have them here.’ We discover that as Class Rep, Joseph could raise this at the next Food Council meeting but Joseph insists on more revolutionary measures. ‘Perhaps we can protest,’ he says. The meeting brought back to order, and after a slight detour past Tom’s hatred of rice puddings, we manage to focus on school lunches. The pupils love the fact that now they get proper cutlery and their own plate, as opposed to a plastic tray with different sections for everything and rewards-and-punishment system relating to the consumption of carrots. Hannah says that Fridays are the best because it’s fish and chips, though the pupils agree that the choice is really good regardless of the day of the week.
We finish our chat on a high with a few words on friendships and classmates; again one of the scariest things about joining Year 7. The consensus is that the Year 7 groups are a mix of very loud and very quiet and very annoying versus very nice. But, as one of the pupils pointed out, ‘It is so easy to make friends. I used to get bullied just for being friends with someone of the opposite sex. Here no one makes a big deal about who you’re friends with and it means there are many different friendships all across.’
For more information about starting Year 7 at Scarborough College, call or join us on a Friday’s For You open Friday. https://scarboroughcollege.co.uk/open-days-and-taster-days-and-stays/