New Year: Day One

Yesterday at Magna Academy Poole, we enjoyed welcoming our new Year 7 students to their new 'home from home'. They looked wonderful in their uniforms and were really well behaved - very much a tribute themselves and to the social skills they have been taught at home and at previous schools.
 
Our first Academy day in September is always particularly delightful. We open the site to Year 7 and to Year 12, which is a cohort made up of returning Year 11s and new students joining us for the two-year A-Level courses we offer. Staff members are genuinely excited to meet all the new students, many of whom are brothers or sisters of existing students. Teachers today were visibly enjoying making new acquaintances, discussing siblings and making everyone feel equally at home at Magna.
 
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Left:
New Year 7 students registering fingerprints
for access to the cash machines for lunchtimes
.

We have created this special day in our calendar because it brings with it many complimentary benefits for the students. With the Academy largely empty of other children, the five tutor groups in Year 7 have a good opportunity to find their way around the building and to begin to familiarise themselves in what must be quite a step-change experience for them. The ratio of teachers to students is much better than it would otherwise be and ensures that we can be highly attentive to every need.
 
The new Year 12 also have an opportunity to bond as a group and for our former Year 11 students to welcome and integrate with faces new to the Academy. It is a real delight to see Year 11s returning after a gruelling GCSE summer, having shed their uniforms in favour of business wear. It is fantastic to see the transition such a small change makes from lower school to young adults, climbing the next challenging stage of the mountain to university. The attendance yesterday of our Year 12s serves another very important purpose. We passionately believe that our community at Magna is not just one where teachers set and maintain standards. We believe that students should be able to look up to their older peers as role models, so we invite these young adults to play their part.
 
Our Year 12s use part of this day to act as 'tour guides' for their Year 7 peers and it is an absolute treat to see how well the younger students behave during these sessions. If we had brought them together on a whole-school first day, each would have been working to timetable and, from distance, these young adults in business wear could seem utterly intimidating to a new Year 7. Instead, we have created a programme that puts them together for mutual benefit. The Year 12s get to experience from Day One their new, more senior status. The Year 7s are welcomed not only by teachers but fellow students.
 
These students may be coming through our doors for the first time or stepping up to new challenges in familiar surroundings. For either group, our careful planning at Magna always considers how we develop as a community and how we deliver maximum benefit to everyone on special and very important days like yesterday.

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