Student Guide to Joining The Willink
Student Guide to Joining The Willink
Welcome to New Students
Welcome to the Willink School community. You are joining a supportive and dynamic school community where you will meet new people, develop knowledge and skills to become confident global changemakers who can make positive contributions to society.
At The Willink we all "Engage, Respect and Achieve". If you engage, making the most of the many opportunities available to you, in a way that is respectful to yourself, your environment and others, then you will achieve success and aspirational goals. Your teachers will have the highest expectations of, and for you, will work hard to support your individual needs and we will recognise and reward your success.
Making the transition from primary to secondary school is an exciting opportunity but we know that you may also feel nervous. Use this Welcome Pack to help you to prepare and remember that your peers are all experiencing the transition with you.
We look forward to greeting you in person in June when we embark on the next phase of your educational journey - your Willink ERA - together.
Mr Fry, Head Teacher and Ms Browning, Headteacher Designate
Student Guide for New Starters
Download, save and print our 'Student Guide for New Starters'. This guide contains all of the information listed in this webpage, plus has some fun challenges to help you familiarise yourself with the school timetable, school map and the key members of staff.
Student Guide for New Starter 2023/2024
Year 7 Key Contacts
Mr M Rakowski - Head of Learning Year 7
Ms N Browning - Headteacher Designate and Transition Co-Ordinator
The School Day
Looking at the example timetable below, you can see that we have a two week alternating timetable, week A and week B.
There are six lessons in a day and each lesson lasts for 50 minutes. You will have two break times; morning and lunch, and one form tutor registration. This is how the school day is structured:
As well as your lessons, there are lots of extra-curricular clubs you can join. Some of these clubs run at lunch time and some are run after school. To see what clubs we are running this term, click here.
Willink Ways celebrates your individual success as you make the most of your ERA: Engage, Respect and Achieve.
The Willink School has held the International Schools Award for 16 years, and since 2012 at Gold standard. We are proud to be a “local school with a global outlook”; a global perspective is integral to our school vision.
At the start of Year 7 you will be allocated to one of our seven Houses and you will remain a member of this House until you leave Willink Sixth Form.
The Willink's seven houses are:
There are a number of House activities throughout the year. These activities will provide you with opportunities to consolidate friendships with others.
Did you know: Our school community includes students and staff with at least eleven different languages, five religions and sixteen different ethnic backgrounds?
Learning Support Centre
Sometimes, students find school and learning difficult and there can be many different reasons for this. The Learning Support Centre (LSC) is there to provide extra support to those students who need it. The Learning Support Centre is located in the S Block and can be accessed by all students.
Watch this video to learn a little bit more about our Learning Support Centre:
At The Willink we are very proud of how well existing students welcome all new students into the school.
Moving from Year 6 to Year 7 can be a daunting time – and might be more daunting for students who have been completing home learning during school closures. To support students The Willink School runs an excellent Peer Mentoring Scheme and our Year 7 students agree that mentors help them to settle into The Willink. We are very proud of our supportive team of mentors and the work that they do in supporting their younger peers.
Peer Mentors are students in Year 10 who have had training to help guide their peers through school. They will be on hand to help during the transition process and on Year 7’ students’ first day at school. Peer Mentors are attached to every tutor group throughout Year 7 and several students have 1:1 mentors. They will attend Tutor sessions and help to run Inter-House quiz, meet with individual students to answer questions and offer advice and offer support to complete homework amongst many other things. Peer Mentors will also complete team building and getting to know us activities.
The Peer Mentors can be identified by a badge and are available during morning and afternoon break in designated areas (including the Head of Learning Office) and are a real presence in morning registration.
All Year 7 students are supported by the mentoring team during their transition to The Willink School. We also liaise with primary staff to find out if individuals would will specifically benefit from a 1:1 mentor.
The majority of our Year 7 students agreed that the mentors helped them to settle into The Willink. We are very proud of our supportive team of mentors and the work that they do in supporting their younger peers.
Message from our Peer Mentors
Our names are Molly and Lucy, we are peer mentors. When you join the Willink on your first day the peer mentors will be there to guide you to your lessons and will get to know all of you. Peer mentors also run a variety of clubs a lunchtime which will help you to meet other people who have similar interests to you. We are always around if you have any questions or need any help don’t be afraid to ask one of us. All throughout year 7 a few peer mentors will visit you in tutor time once a week, in this time we play games, do quizzes and other fun activities. Molly and Lucy.
Hi, I’m Thomas and I’m a peer mentor at The Willink. In the summer, you will have several year 9 peer mentors come to your school to introduce you to Willink and to get to know you before you visit the school for the induction days. On the induction days, it will be a brand-new experience and, while most of you will be extremely excited for this new school, some of you will be nervous, which is completely fine. The peer mentors will be taking you to all your classes, and making sure that you have the best possible time at Willink. Just in case you have any worries or are feeling nervous about the days, the mentors will be able to make sure that you are okay and having fun. You will also meet your new tutor teachers after school and some peer mentors will be there to help you settle in and make sure you are having fun with the new people you will meet. You will see your new peer mentors in the summer when they visit your school, and I hope that you have a great time at the Willink school. Thomas
Message from our current Year 7 Students
We understand that starting at a new school can give you mixed feelings, so below four students have kindly shared their own feelings during their first few days when they started at The Willink.
"Even though I have only been at Willink for less than a year, I have been welcomed so much. There are so many more opportunities to embrace here than at primary school and I think that has been the best bit; whenever I complete a challenge or go to a club, I find another thing to do or complete, I don’t think I will ever finish all of the activities. I also love the variety of lessons, particularly the interactive and practical lessons. Who doesn’t love a science experiment, a re-enactment of the Blitz, or baking brownies? Everyone is so friendly and remember every single person in the school has been a year seven or is a year seven, so everyone knows how you feel in order to help you. I hope you embrace the Willink Ways as much as possible in order to enjoy the Willink school." Lorraine 7B
"My time at the Willink has been great. The school seemed big at first but after a day of exploring I learnt my way around very quickly. Also, if you ever need help finding your way around the staff are kind and understanding and will take you where you need to go. You may not know anybody at first but you will make friends quickly in the nice community. Here are some top tips: get involved in clubs and trips, speak kindly to your teacher, do your work and make friends. You will always have someone to approach for help." Noah 7N
"When I first started Willink, I was very excited but also nervous, because I didn’t know most people there, but there was nothing to worry about as they were all friendly and open to making new friends. One thing I was excited to try though was the food from the canteen as I had heard that their food is amazing, and I was not disappointed! I recommend trying the paninis! Good luck." Imogen 7N
"Dear Year 6, Firstly, I want to tell you that you will fit in the Willink. How do I know? From experience! I came from a private school, and I had only 2 friends at the Willink when I started and yet I didn’t meet them as they were in different tutor groups, but in only a week I already made a couple friends showing that no matter what, someone will feel the same way you do. Secondly, you shouldn’t be worried about things like, “How big is the school? Will I be able to find where my classrooms are?” You shouldn’t worry because every building shows what classes are in there, also every teacher is nice and will always be there to help you. I am sure you will have a fantastic time at the Willink school. Sincerely, Neil" Neil 7L
"Coming to a new school (especially a big one) can be nerve-wracking, but what is the worst that could happen? You’ll quickly realise that there is nothing to worry about! If you are thinking you’ll get lost, my tip would be to stay with a group of people from your class. That way you’ll all be together. Another top tip would be to try to talk to people from all different primary schools. I was from a non-feeder school and I really appreciated people taking time to get to know me and being friendly. Also, join clubs that interest you. There is a lot more variety of lessons than in primary school so take advantage of the opportunity." Samantha 7T
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I eat lunch?
You can eat inside the school hall or at our outdoor picnic benches within the courtyard (labelled Fire Assembly Point Y7-11 on your map) and table tennis area (next to Language Block). The canteen provides a wide selection of cold and hot meals (the live cooking station is particularly popular), or you can bring your own packed lunch. A room is open for Year 7 during the cold/rainy season.
How do I join after school and lunch time clubs?
In September we run a Club Fair for Year 7 students where representatives from lots of different clubs come along and encourage you to sign up. As well as attending the Club Fair your form tutor will tell you where and when the clubs are and your PE teacher will tell you more about the sports clubs. There is a Clubs List in this booklet and a new one will be issued when you join. Students who attend clubs receive credits towards Willink Ways Certificate.
How many different lessons/classrooms will I have in a day?
The answer is 6. You will see 6 teachers, usually in 6 different rooms. Peer Mentors (older students) will be there to guide you on your first day and you will quickly learn your way around so don’t worry.
Where are the toilets?
There are toilets located in most of the blocks and they are easy to find.
What do I do if I feel unwell at school?
If you feel unwell, let your teacher know. They may advise you to have some water or fresh air. If you are really unwell the main office (above the Library Resource Centre in the Admin Block) will contact home for you.
Are mobile phones allowed?
Mobile phones should be turned off and stay in the bottom of your bag if you need to bring it to school. Mobile phones seen or heard during the day will be confiscated. Staff working in the main office will contact home if you are unwell so there will be no need to use your mobile phone during the school day.
What will happen on my first day in September?
On your first day you should go to the school hall where your form tutor will meet you. Only Year 7 students and Peer Mentors will be in school then so you have some time to get to know your way around.
How much homework will there be?
Year 7 students can expect to have homework from each subject weekly. Some subjects such as Maths, English, Languages and Science may be slightly more frequent. Homework tasks and deadlines will be set on the ClassCharts website and app. Our Library Resource Centre is open to students during morning and afternoon break and until 4pm. You can attend Homework Club in the Library after school which provides the additional bonus of staff to help you with your work.
Are we allowed to have lockers?
Yes. Lockers are located in your tutor room. You will be given a form to order a locker.
What do I do if I am ill in the morning before school?
Just ask your parent or carer to call the absence line office and explain why you won’t be in school.
Who can I talk to if I have a problem?
You can speak to any adult in school. You will see your tutor every morning so this will give you an opportunity to talk to them. You can also talk to your Head of Learning, Mr Rakowski, or Year 7 Pastoral Assistant, Ms Fullbrook, Assistant Head, Ms Browning, Peer Mentors or Inclusion Staff in the Learning Support Centre.
Where can I go if I have a problem?
You can go to the Head of Learning Office next to main reception before school, during breaks or after school where Peer Mentors or pastoral staff can help you. Alternatively, you can go to Learning Support Centre in S Block.
What is Learning Support Centre?
The Learning Support Centre is located in the S Block and can be accessed by all students. We aim to provide all students with structured and coordinated support to overcome barriers to learning caused by personal, social, emotional or behavioural difficulties.
All students at The Willink School are provided with a rich set of learning experiences and opportunities which begin in the classroom, extend to the wider school, and the local community beyond that. However, we recognise that some students will find accessing these opportunities challenging.
Support is provided to students and families via different approaches and covers a range of issues:
- Special Educational Needs
- Emotional Literacy (recognising emotions, social skills, self-esteem, loss and bereavement)
- Complex medical conditions
- Financial hardship
I am a child of service family. Is there anybody who I can talk to about that when I need to?
The Willink School has a significant number of students who are children of service families. All can access support via individual mentoring in Learning Support Centre or by attending our Willink Armed Forces Group.