Saturday, 23 July 2016

A Small Guide for Starting Year 7 - Thank You Verulam School!

Jasper has his last day in Year 7 at Verulam school tomorrow (St Albans).  I cannot believe how quickly this academic year has gone, all the anxieties and worries of last September seem lightyears ago!   He's made new mates, experienced new sports, pushed his boundaries (and then some) and has come through happy and smiling.  
First day of "big" school!

He didn't do so well in his end of term exams (according to him - personally versus his targets he did pretty well), but the fact that he wants to do better has to be a good thing.   After all "the goal is excellence"!

I thought I'd write a few notes to attempt to reassure other parents about to embark on this new adventure with their sons, and hopefully offer a few tips to help you all through.

Firstly, I can absolutely vouch for the fact that the school knows "boys", knows how to educate them, direct them and push them, but overall make their school days a great experience - yes I know it's early days, and those darn hormones will play a part over the years, but let's focus on the here and now.

ALSO, if you have any problems or queries or questions along the way, the staff are brilliant at responding, be it the front of house staff or the teachers themselves, I cannot fault their attention to detail and personal touch in response, very reassuring in itself!

AND find that FB page for your year group, this has been invaluable to us all am sure, and we've also made new friends along with way, a bit like the NCT but for the older ones, a group of parents experiencing the same obstacles and helping each other over them)!

Uniform
You will be given a detailed list of the uniform and equipment required.   Some of the uniform is optional, for instance the jumper.  It seems that some years embrace the jumper, but others don't.  In my opinion I wouldn't invest in the jumper until your son says he wants one.  In September it's not usually too cold anyhow, it may save you some money if he doesn't want one, but you can always get
Summer Shirt
at a later date if he does.

The tie will have coloured stripes to match their house!  So make sure you know which house they are in before you get the tie.  I'd advise getting a spare just cos (no explanation required)!

The tracksuit is also optional, Jasper has made use of his, but I know lots who haven't used theirs, so again see how you get on.

The Summer Shirt is very cool, means they don't have to wear a blazer or tie, but they have to wait until the Summer term to be invited to wear it!

Blazer Buttons - the blazers are great quality, but we did lose the buttons several times over.  It appears however that Stevensons will give you spares, and even offer to sew them back on for you! Great service!

Uniform Sale - the school PTA runs a uniform sale, a great way to pick up uniform and/or spares!

Pastoral Care
They have the most amazing Matron at Verulam, so patient and so lovely, if your son feels ill or out of sorts she will look after him no problem, so nurturing, it's very reassuring to know she is there (she rocks)!

Packing the Backpack
I found using a concertina file invaluable, with his timetable stuck on the front.  In the early days I would help pack his bag the night before (you either help them swim or let them sink, I opted for the former).  The file contains labels for all his lessons, and he can pack his bag from there accordingly.   Saves them lugging every single book around every day - which I believe happens.


We also put a file for homework at the back, and another for projects, to be moved into the subject file when completed.  Can you tell I used to be a PA :)

Book Care
In our day we used to cover our books in wallpaper, these days you can get plastic covers from Rymans, worth doing to keep the books in good order, Jasper narrowly escaped a C for the state of one of his books.

Lake District Trip
Have to add a special note with regard to the Lake District trip.  It was so professionally executed and the boys had a wonderful time.  Many memories made.  I am updating this in September and am still hearing anecdotes!   There is quite a long list of "stuff needed" but they are able to let you borrow some items, and why not contact a previous year group who've already had to purchase a lot of the items already!  I know I'd be happy to share waterproofs etc.!

If I can think of anything else I'll add it onto her, but that's all I can think of for now!

Hope you all have a great experience too, take care all, and enjoy the Summer!
Annie x



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