Before joining the school
The job of ensuring that students are happy at TA starts long before their first day in September. We work closely with many primary schools over the course of the year and many boys and girls visit us to carry out additional work in areas such as literacy, PE and Science. We also hold Year 5 days where students in Torquay’s primaries have the opportunity to experience a typical day in secondary school.
When students are accepted to our school, our Associate Assistant Principal, Dan Jones, who is responsible for transition into the school, visits them. This is an opportunity for our new students to find out a lot more about life at TA. Our SEN co-ordinator and safeguarding officer meet with primary school staff during this time to ensure all information is shared and a smooth transition.
Students then have an opportunity to spend a day with us meeting their new classmates and teachers, which they find very enjoyable and helps to eliminate any anxieties they may have had. We also invite all parents into school to meet key staff and each other.
The first day
On their first day in September, our new Year 7’s are given the school to themselves to allow them to spend more time with their new classmates and find where their lessons will take place. Our students tell us that they feel their first day is more like catching up with the new friends that they have made on previous days rather than a daunting experience.
The Year 7 area
One of the key features of Torquay Academy that ensures that Year 7 students settle in quickly and feel happy here is our dedicated Year 7 area. All of the Year 7 tutor groups are based in one corridor and they have many of their lessons in that area. Other Year groups are not allowed in this corridor.
They also have their own playground, picnic area and orchard – they are welcome to use the facilities of the whole school, but they have a designated space that is only for them. In this playground we are able to continue to build upon the excellent work of the primary schools where children are given responsibility: we have peer mentors, playground buddies and prefects. This fits in with making our students happy and the transition as seamless as possible. It is no secret that happy students are successful ones.
We encourage girls and boys to take part in extra-curricular clubs as they enhance the educational experience. In addition to the very wide range of clubs and societies on offer there is a lunchtime club on offer every day solely for our Year 7s.
Rise and Read
At TA, we passionately believe in the importance of literacy. All students read regularly during tutor time. To enable students to read more in a supported environment we run Rise and Read. Year 7 students can come into school at 7.45 on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and spend 30 minutes reading in groups (we offer all students a free breakfast from 7.30am). They will be placed in groups with other students of a similar reading level.