We believe strongly that every child is unique and that they are valued by God. It is this belief which only serves to strengthen further our desire that they are made to feel welcome and part of our Bluecoat ‘family’ from the outset. Due to its popularity, the academy has approximately 75 feeder schools in any one year group which can make our ideal model of several years of school partnership very difficult beyond the schools closest to our site. However, no matter where your son / daughter joins us from, you can rest assured that we will do our best to fully support their move. As part of this, our process will typically include:
1) Family Transition meeting with all parents upon notice of gaining a place with us. We will discuss your child and their interests / needs as well as exploring friendships from primary school.
2) Primary School Visits are also an essential part of our process. Every student is visited at their own school by a member of Bluecoat Aspley staff. This gives the opportunity for students to ask questions and discuss any concerns before their transition days and for staff to meet with their primary teachers.
3) A ‘Welcome Meeting’ for all parents. We will invite all parents to join us to learn more about how best to support your child’s immediate transition to us, deal with details around uniform and our high expectations of/for parents and children.
4) Two days of transition in July. Students will come to visit the academy and experience two days of lessons in the academy in order to begin to familiarise themselves with the site, key staff and those students in their tutor group.
5) An extended opening to the year. Our Year 7 students begin the year before the rest of the school. We use these days in order to help prepare them fully for the move in a quieter environment with fewer children on site so that they feel fully confident in their surroundings. They will learn a lot about routines and expectations that will set them up to flourish across the next 5 or 7 years at Bluecoat Aspley Academy.
6) A different curriculum with ‘Enrichment’. All of our Year 7 students work later on a Thursday than the rest of the academy. This is very deliberate and our Enrichment Programme means that for either 1 or 2 hours each week students take part in a range of activities that they have selected, from sport, the arts, craft, study or STEM. We make sure that they have specialist staff, facilities and support to not just experience the tasks, but develop belief in themselves as learners and belief in the friendships that they make to support them on their way.
7) Two weeks after their arrival, all parents are invited to our ‘Welcome Party’. This is a very relaxed evening where parents and students sit with others in their tutor groups so that parents meet their tutors, their new friends and the parents of those friends. This is such a popular event as it allows people, many of whom come from primaries as the only child from that school, to cement new friendships – and for parents to know who they are talking about when they go home!
8) An ‘Activity Day’ gives children the opportunity to come off of the main timetable as a year group and play team building games as a family. This is normally after a month at the academy.
9) A ‘Meet the Tutor Evening’ also allows parents the chance to visit again and keep up to date with how their child has settled in classes. In addition, the academy also offers additional sessions for parents to attend including things like: support with literacy, keeping your child safe on-line, understanding our reporting system, developing numeracy and others.
10) Our ‘Believe Day’ also gives students the chance to reflect on the three elements of the academy’s mission statement ‘believe; in yourself, in others, in God.’ The day is split around these themes.
11) Our Founders Day Service is a very special event in the academy calendar and is the chance to share in the proud history of Bluecoat which has been established in Nottingham for more than 300 years. At this event all students are presented with a ‘Braithwaite Bible’ and they are then officially welcomed in to the academy for their five-year journey at Aspley and two further years with our Sixth Form provision.
Further support for the process:
12) It is also worth noting again that our students have a designated year leader. The Year Leader role at Bluecoat Aspley is a non-teaching post, which means that any pastoral matters can be dealt with promptly. This is especially important in the transition process, where the Year Leader plays an important part in ensuring that all students have best possible transition from their primary school, and that they quickly feel a part of the Bluecoat family.
13) There is also the provision of a Christian Youth Worker whose full-time role is to support the wellbeing of students and provide mentoring support where required.
14) Our students are also our biggest asset. Our Student Ambassadors help shadow the new students on their induction days and again for the first week of school to ensure that their experience is a smooth as possible and that they are well cared for. Our students really value and care about one another.