Your journey through secondary education begins the moment you accept your place at The Dean Academy and we consider you to be a member of our community when you attend the Year 6 Transition Days at the end of your time at primary school. Visiting your new school, experiencing life in lessons and your new tutor group will help you to feel settled, make friends and find your way around. We hope that this familiarity will make September’s start, and the whole of Year 7, a smooth transition and an exciting time for you.
We believe that Year 7 is a time to really establish yourself as a part of the community in school. You have opportunities to build friendships, embed school routines and explore extra-curricular opportunities. Tutor time is a key part of this as you get to know those in your tutor groups as well as your tutor, who is your first point of contact for any worries or problems you might have over the first few weeks. Don’t worry if this is a scary time; it is for everybody and no question is too small to ask. We know that you will quickly become friends with a range of students from other schools and we encourage you to do this. Taking part in the huge range of clubs — sporting, creative and academic — will help you to meet more people and taking on the challenge of getting involved will also make you feel like an important part of the school.
As you move through Key Stage Three, it is important that you continue to take full advantage of all the opportunities life at The Dean Academy gives you. Year 8 gives you a chance to really focus on developing your teamwork and leadership skills: being part of a team, either sporting or part of the School Council, for example, gives you the opportunity to develop your sense of pride and belonging. We really value the feedback we get from Student Council and it is always a pleasure to help support you when you put your ideas into action. We are also regularly recruiting Restorative Practice Ambassadors, who are trained to help support their peers with friendship issues and talking through problems which might arise throughout the school day.
By Christmas in Year 9, you will begin the process of choosing your subject options for GCSE. You will be supported through this process by a wide range of people, spending a lot of time in assemblies and tutor time discussing your possible choices. The relationships you have built with teaching staff will help you to have frank and honest discussions about subjects and possible career choices to help you make the decisions that are right for you. Where you have concerns, talk to someone. Staff are always willing to discuss concerns and help you to choose subjects to study alongside your core subjects of English, Maths and Science. We pride ourselves on the wide range of academic and vocational courses available, so there is always a course to suit you.
As you move through Key Stage 4, the work will begin to feel harder, but you will also notice that the support is even greater. It is important that you continue to take opportunities to be part of teams and positions of responsibility — the Student Leadership programme has opportunities which culminate in the Senior Student Team in Year 11. You are very much recognised as an adult, and opportunities to take part and lead aspects of Student Council will increase. For some, this step up in expectations is hard to adjust to, so we particularly focus on support in the beginning of Year 10 and Year 11, making the most of tutor time and involving experienced members of staff in mentoring for students who need extra support. We spend a long time focussing on helping you to help yourself during your GCSE studies: focussing on good mental and physical health in tutor time and spending time exploring revision techniques and understanding the most effective ways of working.
By the time you reach Year 11, you are ready to enter the next stage of your life. You are supported in the decision making proves involved with working out your next steps: we explore all options available post-16 and trips and visiting speakers will keep you up to date with new courses and routes available to continue your studies until you are 18. The Prom at the end of your final year is a huge celebration of all you have achieved in your time in school and we encourage you to take those final opportunities to shape your school experience and reflect on your successes at this wonderful leavers event. We hope that your time at The Dean Academy will have been integral to you becoming the happy, healthy and successful adult that you have the potential to be.