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Transition – FAQs

Frequently asked questions

Below, we have tried to cover everything that we think you might want to know about Millthorpe School. If you have a question that is not covered by these FAQs, please contact us.

What do I need to know about Millthorpe?

Millthorpe is a big secondary school in the South Bank area of York. We have over 1,000 students and over 150 staff. This might seem quite scary, but please don’t be worried; we are a welcoming and caring community and the staff and older students will help you to settle in and find your way around.

How many people will be in Year 7 at Millthorpe?

There are 212 Year 6s coming together from 20 different primary schools to make Year 7. You will have plenty of opportunities to make lots of new friends.

How will we be organised? What are 'Forms' or 'Tutor Groups?'

There will be eight or nine forms in Year 7. Each form will have approximately 30 students in them from a variety of different primary schools. We have asked you to select up to four friends who you would like to be in a form with. It is unlikely you will be with all four friends, but we will ensure that you are placed in a group with at least one of the friends you have selected.

There will definitely be people in your form who you have never met so this is a great opportunity to make lots of new friends. You will see the people in your form every day and you will stay in this form throughout the whole five years at Millthorpe. Many of our students view the students in their form as their school family.

Who will look after us?

Your new form will be looked after by a “form tutor”; a teacher in school who will look after you and offer guidance and support every day. You will see your form tutor with the rest of your form every morning. They will do the register, pass on any messages, check your uniform, equipment and make sure you have everything that you need for the day.

Your form tutor will get to know you really well; a bit like your Year 6 teacher does. They will look after you, make sure everything is okay and ensure that you have a positive start to each school day. In effect they will ensure you are READY to learn.

Your parents or carers will be able to contact them if they need to and they will be the teacher in school that you can go to if you need any help, support, or advice. Your form will be 7 (for Year 7) and then the three initials of your form tutor e.g. 7HBO.

You will also be looked after by Millthorpe’s Pastoral Team – we will share more information about who they are and how they will support you when we come to visit you.

Who is in charge of the school? Who is on the Senior Leadership Team?

Millthorpe is managed by a close team of Senior Leaders. Ms Greenhalgh is the Headteacher. She leads the school and you are likely to see her around school every day. There are three Deputy Headteachers; Mr Beever, Mrs Armitage and Mrs Rothenburg, and three Assistant Headteachers: Mr Baybutt, Miss Boyd and Mrs Norman. The Senior Team also includes Mr Collins, the Business Manager.

Who else will look after us? Who is on the Pastoral Team?

Everyone on the Pastoral Team will work really hard to help you to settle in at Millthorpe. They are also there to help you with any difficulties that you might have, either at the beginning or at any point throughout your five years at our school. They make sure that everyone is well behaved, working hard, making excellent progress, attending every day – on time, that their uniform is correct and that you are happy, healthy and well supported. You can talk to any member of the pastoral team if you need their help, advice or support. This can be about school but can also be for things happening outside of school that you need a trusted adult to help you with.

What about students who have additional needs? Who looks after SEND/Inclusion?

Some students might need an additional layer of support for a variety of reasons and they will be supported at Millthorpe by the Inclusion Team. If you need any specific or additional support, you will be working closely with Mrs Armitage and Mrs Norman and they will be in touch with your families in the near future to talk you through these arrangements.

The Inclusion team is fortunate to have a large team of very experienced and dedicated Teaching Assistants who will work with and support students with any additional needs.

What will my school day look like?

Your school day at Millthorpe may be very different to what you are used to at primary school. The main difference is that you are not in one classroom with one teacher all day, every day. You will have five one-hour lessons each day, doing a different subject, in a different classroom, with a different teacher.

Your teachers at primary school were able to teach you every subject to people your age; at secondary school, your subject teachers are all experts in their chosen subject so they teach one subject (or sometimes two) but they teach it to students aged 11 to 16, from Year 7 right through to GCSEs in Year 10 and Year 11. There will be people in your lessons from other forms as you are not taught as a form. This gives you even more opportunities to work with lots of other people and make many new friends.

Although you will have lots of different classrooms, please do not worry about getting lost or trying to find them all. Millthorpe will be bigger than your primary school but there will be Student Ambassadors who will support you and show you around the building. There are also signs on the ways to show you the way to different classrooms and staff on hand to help.

Your timetable

You will be given a timetable on your very first day so you will always know what lessons you have each day. You will then know which books to bring and if you need anything else such as PE kits. You will not need your PE kit on the first day.

You can see more about the school day here.

Will i go straight into lessons on my first day in September?

No, we always give you time with your Form Group and Form Tutor on your first day. 

What subjects will I study in Year 7?

In Key Stage 3 (Year 7 to 9), you will study English, Maths, Science, French or German, Art, Design Technology*, History, Geography, ICT, Music, PE, RE, Drama, PSHE and Citizenship.

*Design Technology includes Food Technology, Graphics, Resistant Materials and Textiles.

What equipment will I need?

We will give you a planner when you start at Millthorpe. The planner is a vital part of your equipment, and you must look after it. It has lots of important information in it and it is where you record your homework. It is also where you collect Rewards and where your teachers and parents can write messages to each other. Your planner must be with you every single day, on your person (in your bag or pocket) at all times around school, and on your desk in every lesson.

All of your teachers will give you an exercise book for their subject for you to work in. You need to bring the correct books with you for each day. Make sure you check your timetable for the next day every evening and put the correct books in your school bag. Lockers are available for everyone if you have a lot to carry.

You also need equipment such as black or blue pens, pencils, ruler, green pen (for peer and self-assessment and improving your work/acting on your teacher’s feedback), maths set and a scientific calculator. You are very welcome to bring additional stationery such as highlighters, rubbers, felt tips etc if you have room in your pencil case or school bag.

Your form tutor will check you have this equipment every morning, this is to ensure you are Ready to learn. One of your form tutor’s jobs is to help set you up for the day. You should leave your tutor at 8.55am with everything you need to be the best you can be in all five lessons that day.’

How will you encourage me to do the best that I can?

We want you to come to Millthorpe and have an amazing time: make lots of new friends, join new clubs, enjoy the trips and extra-curricular activities, and make many happy memories.

We are also here to make sure that you are learning to the best of your ability and are making excellent academic progress. To help us to do this, all students are encouraged to Go for Gold on their Learning Conduct. We use the phrase Learning Conduct to describe the characteristics and expected learning behaviours of a student who is aiming to be the best that they can be and make the most progress that they possibly can.

Students who achieve a Learning Conduct of 4 (Gold) across all or most subjects are rewarded each term. Those whose Learning Conduct is a cause for concern will be supported to make the improvements that they need. Learning Conduct is completely different to how academic you are. Even if you struggle with your learning, this is about your effort and attitude to learning so we expect all students to “Go for Gold.” We will help you to achieve this; we just ask you to try your best and have a really positive attitude to learning.

Learning Conduct of 4 (Gold) behaviours

  • Highly motivated and engaged; effort is consistent and sustained
  • Contribution in class is active and sustained n Always responds well to challenge and perseveres when work is difficult
  • Will take active steps to find out more without prompting
  • Is always motivated to respond positively to feedback and improve work
  • Both oral and written work are always the best that the student can produce.
  • Meets deadlines and completes homework to the highest standard
  • Works highly effectively independently and with peers treating all students and staff with dignity and respect at all times

What about bullying? is there an Anti-Bullying Policy?

Please let us reassure you that bullying is very unusual at Millthorpe and we are clear that it is totally unacceptable.

That said, all good schools understand that bullying could happen anywhere, and they have a clear plan in place just in case it does. At Millthorpe, we have a very clear anti-bullying policy. This is explained on a page in your planner and it is also on our website.

In simple terms, if something happens that upsets you or you are unhappy about, just let us know; we take all concerns seriously and ensure they are dealt with promptly.

You can speak to your form tutor, Deputy Head of Year, Head of Year or any other member of staff in school. There is also a Report Bullying button on the school website or you can speak to a friend, an older student, one of the Student Leaders or your parents/carers and ask them to speak to a member of staff for you.

Any bullying is recorded by the pastoral team and monitored to see if the actions we have taken have successfully supported the victim. We need to know if this issue persists and new strategies will be put in place to address the issue. We do promise to address any bullying and will keep coming back to the issue if it persists.

For us to be successful in addressing bullying, students have to talk to us and support one another to make it clear that bullying is acceptable.

Will I get lots of homework? What if I am struggling?

A common worry for primary students is how much homework they will get when they come to Millthorpe. We do set homework and we expect you to do it to the best of your ability and hand it in on time, but it will not take over your life! You will still have time to have fun, to see your friends, enjoy your hobbies and spend time with your families.

We make sure that we set a reasonable amount of homework and that it is used to consolidate or build on the learning. All homework will be recorded by you in your planner and will also be uploaded to Google Classroom, so that you can check it from home…and your parents/carers can also check to see what you should be doing! If you are ever struggling with your homework, just speak to your teacher before the homework is due and they will be happy to help.

If you find that you have quite a lot of homework at once (which is very unlikely), please speak to your form tutor and they will help you. For students who really struggle with their homework or for those who need a little bit of help to complete their homework, we do offer a “Homework Club” where you can do your homework in school at the end of the day before you go home.

What do I need to wear?

We expect all students to look smart and wear full uniform at all times.

Your Millthorpe uniform will probably be very different to what you had to wear at primary school. We wear blazers, (optional) school jumpers, smart white shirts, ties, school trousers or skirts both with the Millthorpe badge on and, a big change for some who were allowed to wear trainers at primary school, you must wear smart school shoes. Trainers are not allowed.

Please see a labelled example of what our uniform looks like:

Below, you can also see what types of shoes are acceptable and what types of footwear are not allowed.

The photographic examples are by no means exhaustive, but serve to show key features of footwear that is not acceptable for school.

  • Footwear must be shoe and not a trainer, pump or plimsoll.
  • Shoes made by sportswear manufacturers will be deemed to be a trainer.
  • Sports branded footwear is not acceptable.
  • Shoes advertised as “school shoes” may not be acceptable at Millthorpe School.
  • Shoes which cover the ankle are deemed to be a boot and are not allowed.

It is important that you wear your uniform smartly. This includes fastening top buttons, ties done correctly, shirts tucked in and skirts being worn so that they are roughly knee-length.

In addition to this, hairstyles should not be ‘extreme’ and should be natural in colour. In terms of jewellery, you can wear one pair of small plain studs, a watch and one ring. No other piercings or jewellery is allowed.

Where do I get my uniform from?

The main uniform items are available from Keal Teamwear, 105 Walmgate, York

Tel: 01904 624497

Keal Teamwear will provide school blazers, school jumpers (optional), school badged trousers and skirts, ties and some items of your PE kits. School shirts and shoes can be bought from any shop.

If you are entitled to Free School Meals, we will also send you a voucher to help with the cost of your school uniform. We would recommend that you wait to receive this voucher before beginning to purchase your uniform.

Eco Laundry

We also have an Eco-Laundry in school (check it out here). This gives you the chance to buy clean, pre-loved uniform items in very good condition for a fraction of the price. This helps you to keep the cost of uniform down, and also reduces the impact on the environment.

We will let you know how you can purchase items from the Eco-Laundry soon but please note that it will be offered to families in receipt of Free School Meals in the first instance and we will be in touch with these families in due course.

You can find out more here.

How can I have my say? Do you have a Student Council?

We have a very committed and active Student Council at Millthorpe which meets regularly under the guidance of our Head of Student Leadership Mr Sloan. The Student Council work hard to ensure that students have a voice and can influence decisions that are made that affect them and the school. 

The Student Council helps to shape changes within school and decide on non-uniform days, which charities we support each year, and they also lead on projects to benefit the school, our students and the local community.

Mr Sloan (right) makes sure that the views of the Student Council are heard by Ms Greenhalgh and the Senior Leadership Team. The Student Leadership Team is made up of Y10 students with form reps from Y7 – Y9 providing information from their year groups.

If you would like to be involved in the Student Council, we will explain how you can do so when you join us.

Am I allowed to use my mobile phone in school?

Mobile phones are a huge distraction whilst you are trying to learn. Furthermore, if we allowed them to be used at break and lunch time, it would hinder your chances to socialise face to face with your friends. Sometimes, young people (and adults) can use mobile phones to send unpleasant communication to other people. We are keen to make sure that this doesn’t happen so whilst you are at school, you will not be allowed to use your phone.

In the unlikely event that you needed to urgently speak to someone on the phone, you would need to speak to your Deputy Head of Year or Head of Year and explain what the matter was. If they agreed that it was important that you made a call or sent a text during the school day, they would arrange a private space for you to do this. Afterwards, you would be expected to switch your phone back off. This would only happen in exceptional circumstances.

Your mobile phone is solely your responsibility at all times. If it is lost or damaged, this will be your responsibility. The school cannot be held responsible.

Where can I keep all my belongings? Can I get a locker?

Your form tutor will take you to find a locker close to your form room. You choose the locker that you wish to use and then it becomes your locker once you put a padlock on it. You just need to bring your own small padlock or some money to buy one from school. The padlocks cost £3 if you wish to purchase one from school.

What happens at break and lunchtime?

The lunchtime schedule In your first few days, you will be allowed into the canteen first so you can get used to it and get the first choice! There is always plenty of food available for everyone.

If you prefer, you can bring your own packed lunch and we provide a space for you to eat this, or you can eat it outside in our new benched seating area. Please make sure all rubbish goes in the bins provided.

Aside from eating, there are plenty of activities available to do at lunch time. The library is always open. There are also lots of clubs and activities which you can get involved with (more about clubs and activities in a future edition of Moving to Millthorpe). Or you can go outside, socialise with friends, enjoy the huge field or play football on our all-weather pitch. There are always lots of staff out on duty to help you if you need anything at break or lunch time.

Things have changed a lot over the last few years. We operate a summer and winter plan. You will arrive whilst the summer plan is still being used. This means the large field in front of the old house is used by all students. Students queue at the back of the school and using the one-way system work their way through the dining spaces and out onto the field.

There are three main internal eating areas; the mezzanine, the downstairs dining hall and the canopy. Please ensure you tidy up after yourself so we can continue to enjoy a litter free site.

What fun activities are on offer?

We have so many fun things for you to try. There is a full programme of activities every lunch time and after school. Over the years these have included: the library, ICT, sports, music, dance, drama, STEM club, Manga club, cooking club, karaoke club, coding club, drone club, Young Carers, LGBTQ+, Culture Club (Diversity), various departmental clubs…the list goes on! Our staff and students go above and beyond to make sure there are lots of clubs for you to get involved with and enjoy.

Will we go on any trips?

At Millthorpe, we are very lucky that we are able to offer a lot of trips for you to enjoy. Some of the trips will be during school time.

These include Geography field trips to Bolton Abbey and Flamborough Head, a History trip exploring the city you live in and various other trips planned by your teachers. Some of the trips are free but many of the trips incur a cost so parents and carers will have to help you decide which trips you may be able to experience if you’re lucky…and well behaved!

We run a Y9 residential trip to Carlton Lodge and also invite all Y10 and Y11 students to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award. We also offer many trips abroad these have included:

  • Exchange trips to see “pen friends” that you might make in Germany.
  • A cultural languages trip to France.
  • Two ski/snowboarding trips; one to Poland and another to Austria.
  • A geography trip to see the volcanoes of Sicily, and walk on the famous Mount Etna.
  • A GCSE geography trip to Iceland (when you’re in Y10/11).
  • A GCSE history trip to the battlefields of the First World War (when you’re in Y10/11).
  • A GCSE RE trip to Poland to study the events of the Second World War (including a trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau) – Y10/11.
  • A beach and water sports trip to Spain in the summer holidays.

These trips don’t run every year so you can think about what you may want to experience in your time at Millthorpe if you are fortunate enough.

Are there any 'top tips' from current Millthorpe students?

Of course! The following ‘top tips’ were written by our current students when they were in Year 7. We hope that you find them useful and if we haven’t been able to put your mind at rest, these will!

  • Don’t worry about losing friends with people from primary school, even if they are not in the same form as you. You will still be friends with them as long as you both make the effort.
  • Don’t worry about being told off! The teachers are really understanding, especially in the first term when you are getting to know the school. We worried that we would be shouted at for being late if we weren’t sure where to go but it just did not happen!
  • On that note, don’t worry about getting lost. The peer mentors (older students who have volunteered to help you) will show you around and other older students are really friendly too. We were surprised at how keen they were to help us. Perhaps they do remember what it feels like to be in a new school!
  • Don’t worry about making new friends. We have ALL made lots of new friends with people from other primary schools and you will too. Some of us have friends in older year groups too.
  • Don’t worry about homework. You don’t get as much as you are probably thinking that you will. It is challenging, but it is manageable and the teachers will help you if you are finding it tough.
  • Don’t worry about not knowing something. If you are not sure about something, just ask. An older student or a member of staff will always help you.
  • Don’t stress! There really is nothing to stress about.
  • Do try the food in the canteen. It is REALLY nice!
  • Do try new things and have a go at new clubs and activities. There are loads to choose from and they are both enjoyable and another way to make even more friends.
  • Do come with the right attitude to learning. We have been challenged in our lessons this year, but it is a good level of challenge. Being challenged is important because we always want to improve. At Millthorpe, you are challenged to do your best and if you need some help or support, you will get it. But you must have a good attitude to learning and aim for “Gold” on your Learning Conduct.
  • Do ask us if you need our help with anything. We’d be happy to help you to settle in at Millthorpe.

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