The lower school is made up of years 7 and 8. Joining year 7 can feel a daunting experience, so our main aim is to make the transition as welcoming and easy as possible, and to make the start really exciting and fun. We strive to imbue the pupils with a real delight in learning for its own sake and to ensure they have strong friendships.
We have a full induction programme to ensure all pupils settle in well. This includes coming into school a day early and a day of team building activities in early September. In year 7, pupils are put into house forms, which are roughly based on location. This helps pupils get to know other children who live near them and also encourages integration across the years at wider house events. Pupils in year 7 are also linked with a year 8 ‘big sister’, who will write to them before they arrive and who is another source of support in the first year.
In year 8, the form groups are mixed up. This gives pupils the opportunity to build relationships with a greater number of their peers to ensure a truly integrated year group. It also helps pupils develop confidence in making new friends, an essential life skill.
There are regular one day challenges across year 7 and year 8 where pupils work collaboratively across the year. Recent challenges have included a model UN and a desert island project. Year 7 do not have examinations at the end of the school year, but instead an independent learning project. The aim, as well as encouraging collaboration, is to inculcate a love of learning for its own sake.
Years 7 and 8 throw themselves into co-curricular activities. Recent favourite clubs have included robotics, debating, chocolate biscuit club as well as cross-country of course. There are regular house events, including house drama, music and sports day. These also allow for mixing across the year groups.
There are regular lower school assemblies on key topics, such as kindness and bystanding, run by staff and sixth formers, which help foster the supportive and inclusive environment we are so proud of here at City. The lower school PSHCE curriculum also complements the hard work done in form time and assemblies, with its focus on some of the key challenges faced in the lower school.
There is a very strong pastoral support network at City, comprising form tutors and deputy form tutors, sixth form prefects, heads of year and heads of section. This is in addition to the support offered by the study centre, the school nurse and the school counsellors. Parents and pupils are encouraged to bring any concerns they may have, academic or pastoral, to the lower school team, so that we can work together to ensure the happiness of each individual pupil.
Ms Elly Nicoll
Head of Lower School