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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?

Each year, there are around 212 Year 6s who come together from 19 different primary schools to make Year 7. You may well know some, lots, or none of them, but you will definitely not know everyone, and this is a great opportunity for you to make lots of new friends.

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

There will be eight forms (sometimes called tutor groups) in Year 7. Each form will have 26-28 people in them from a variety of different primary schools. We will ask you to select up to four friends who you would like to be in a form with and we will do our best but please note that there are no guarantees and you may not get all four of your choices. We will try to keep you with at least one of them, and some people may get more than one choice. There will definitely be people in your form who you have never met so again, you will be able to make lots of new friends.

Your form will stay the same throughout the whole five years at Millthorpe. You will see the people in your form every day for the first 20 minutes of school.

Who will look after us?

Your new form will be looked after a ‘Form Tutor’; a teacher in school who will look after you 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. You will start your school day with them every day. They will look after you, make sure everything is ok and ensure that you have a positive start to each school day.

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 eg 7SMR.

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 two Deputy Headteachers; Mr Beever and Mr Gillbanks, and three Assistant Headteachers: Mr Bates, Ms Simpson and Mr Baybutt. 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 Ms Simpson and Mrs Fisher 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 trying to find them all. Millthorpe will be bigger than your primary school and Year 6 students are always worried about getting lost but try not to. We will show you around, there are signs on the wall and a map in your planner, the older students will help and lots of staff carry radios (walky-talkies!), so we will know if you have not arrived at your lesson and we can talk over the radio so that we quickly find you and take you to where you need to be. Within two weeks, you will know your way around, no problem, and in the meantime, we will help you.

Mr Baybutt always reminds Year 6 students that you will never be ‘lost’ anyway…you will still be at school! You might be a little unsure of where your next classroom is, but you won’t be lost.

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. One day a fortnight (every other Wednesday), school closes at the earlier time of 14.20 for staff training. You still do 5 lessons but each one lasts for 50 minutes rather than an hour. We will explain this properly to you once you have started.

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 (you will be able to tell us which Language you would like to study if you have a strong preference and we will explain how you can do this in next weeks’ update), 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. This 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 your “Positive” stamps and where your teachers and parents can write messages to each other. Your Planner must be with you every single day and it needs to be open on the correct day 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 so 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.

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

To help you to make excellent academic progress, 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 (or clever) 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.

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

Every year, some students ask about bullying and it is normal that this might be something that you may be worried about. Please be reassured 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 can also be found here. In simple terms, if something happens that upsets you or you are unhappy about, just let us know and we will make sure that we deal with it. As soon as we are aware that there is an issue, we will work with you to make sure that it is dealt with. We will also work with the student who is not meeting expectations to help them to improve their behaviour. Bullying will never be acceptable at Millthorpe School so please do not worry about it and, in the unlikely event that it does happen, we will deal with it as soon as we are made aware.

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

Lots of primary students worry about how much homework they will get when they come to Millthorpe. You will get homework and we expect you to do it to the best of your ability and hand it in on time. But we will not take over your life! We make sure that we set a reasonable amount of homework and that it is used to help you to learn further.

All homework will be recorded by you in your planner. We will also save the details of your homework on “ClassCharts”; a website and app that you and your parents/carers have access to so you can check this even when you are not in school. 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.

For students who really struggle with 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. But for most students, you will be able to complete it at home and still have lots of time to have fun. Please do not worry about homework either…it will not be as bad as you might be imagining!

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 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. 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 provide blazers, school badged trousers and skirts, ties and PE kits. School shirts can be bought from any shop.

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 joint Heads of Student Leadership Mr Black and 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 is very active in arranging charity days and social events for students. 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?

We understand that many young people use (and in many cases, are very attached to!) a mobile phone. It is good that your parents/carers are able to contact you on your way to and from school, especially in the early days when you are getting used to your new journey to school. However, mobile phones are huge distractions and are not helpful when you are in school and trying to learn. You are very welcome to bring your phone to school, but it must be switched off once you arrive (perhaps after texting parents/carers to let them know you have arrived at school safely) and must not be used at any point during the school day. This includes break and lunch time. You can switch your phones back on as you leave your last lesson of the day so you can contact friends or parents/carers so you can make arrangements to get home safely but using your phone between 8.45am and 3.10pm is not allowed. If you are seen using your phone during this time, it will be confiscated by a member of staff and handed to the Main Office/Reception for safe keeping. It will be returned to you at the end of the day, which will be 3.20pm as you will have a 10 minute reminder detention for using your phone.

If your parents or carers desperately need to contact you during the school day, they will call the school office and we will come and speak to you so you do not need your mobile phone during the school day. At all times, your own phone is your responsibility and you must keep it safe. We recommend that you hand it in to the Main Office/Reception for safekeeping each morning, or lock it in your locker. If you decide to keep it with you, it must be switched off and out of sight (e.g. blazer pocket or school bag) at all times. If your phone is lost or damaged, this will be your responsibility.

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

There are plenty of lockers available for you to use at Millthorpe. They are free to use; you just need a padlock. You can buy your own (small) padlock or buy them from school. We will show you how to use the lockers and help you to claim your own on your first day at school. We strongly recommend that you get a locker as it is handy to keep your mobile phone safe, and also to store things like PE kits during the day until they are needed as it means you do not need to carry everything around with you. It is totally up to you if you want a locker but if you do, we will make sure you get one.

What happens at break and lunchtime?

Break and lunchtime are very popular at Millthorpe! Not because students do not want to be in lessons, but because the food provided by our caterers Dolce is so nice!

At break time, there is a range of food and drink to choose from, including toast, toasties, pizza bagels, fruit, water and fruit juices. At lunch time, choose from a range of options; main meals which change daily, the snack bar including wraps, paninis, burgers, sandwiches and pasta pots and several desserts, biscuits, cake bars and more fresh fruit. The main meals are advertised on a display board so you will know what is available. You can also take a look at sample menus here.

We use a cashless system in the canteen, so you “pay” for your items using your thumb print (which we will register when you arrive) or a 4 digit pin number. Your parents/carers can add money using the website “ParentPay” and when you ‘buy’ something using your thumbprint or pin code, the money is taken off your account. There is a daily spend limit and your parents/carers can see what you are buying to make sure you are not being too greedy, spending too much or being unhealthy! Students who have Free School Meals are able to buy what they want up to the daily limit and they use the same thumb print or pin code system.

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!). After this, we use a rota so that each year group takes turns to go to the canteen first. The other year groups go out and play or socialise and then come to the canteen a little bit later in the lunchtime. There is always plenty of food available and we will never let you go hungry!

If you prefer, you can bring your own packed lunch and we provide a space in the canteen for you to eat this, or you can eat it outside if you prefer. Just make sure that you use the bins and recycling bins available to keep our school clean and to do our bit for the environment.

Aside from eating, there are plenty of activities available at lunch time. The library is always open, as are some of the PC Rooms. There are also lots of clubs and activities which you can get involved with (you can see a full list here). Or, you can go outside, socialise with friends, enjoy the huge fields and open space that we have or set up your own games. There are always lots of staff out on duty to help you if you need anything at lunch time.

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. These include the library, ICT, sports, music, dance, drama, STEM club, cooking club, karaoke club, coding club, drone club, Young Carers, various department clubs and more. 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, but you must be well behaved and meet expectations in school if you want to come on a trip and also, many of them do cost money…so you must be very good to your parents/carers if you want them to pay for you to enjoy the many memorable and life changing trips that we offer.

Some of the trips will be done in 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. We also run a Y9 residential trip to Carlton Lodge and also invite Y10 and Y11 students to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

We also offer many trips abroad (remember they cost money and you must be well behaved!) and these include:

  • Exchange trips to see “pen friends” that you might make in Germany
  • A cultural languages trip to France
  • A ski/snowboarding trip to Poland and another ski trip to Austria
  • A geography trip to see the volcanos 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.

In your time at Millthorpe, there will be all of these and many more trips on offer.

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

Yes – below are ‘top tips’ written by a group of Year 7 students which they wanted to share with you.

  • 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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