Advice from existing Fullbrook parents to new parents

The Parent Voice

At Fullbrook we collaborate with parents in a caring partnership to ensure students success. Regular reporting keeps parents informed of progress and achievement. We want our parents to be involved and recognise that students achieve more when their parents are engaged. Fullbrook listens to their parents’ views and through the Fullbrook Parent Voice, parents are able to influence the strategic development of their child’s school.

Parent Voice

The Fullbrook Parent Voice is an innovative support group committed to broadening parent communication and involvement within Fullbrook and to promoting the school’s values. In collaboration with the Fullbrook Parent Voice, Fullbrook has been able to offer a series of information evenings to parents and transition events to support families through the transition process. The Parent Voice have also helped the school with several environmental projects.

To contact the FPV, please Email parentvoice@fullbrook.surrey.sch.uk

 

Mission Statement

The Fullbrook Parent Voice is an innovative support group committed to broadening parent communication and involvement within Fullbrook, and to promoting the school’s values. It was launched in March 2008 and its organisation and functions are continuing to be evolved by a Steering Committee.

Every parent belongs to the FPV. It’s important that a wide cross-section of parents’ views is heard, and that all parents are given the opportunity to provide valuable input and help. Here are some of the ways parents can get involved.

 

FPV – Information Sharing Events

These are all about two way communications between parents and the school covering a topic which is chosen in advance by both groups. Every term there is an event that is of general interest to the broader parent community examples were ‘Understanding Teenagers’, the ‘Pastoral Care System and the Careers Programme’. Additionally there can be other events for individual year groups or specific groups of parents, examples were ‘Supporting students with Dyslexia’ and ‘Supporting students in the GCSE years’.

The session usually involves a presentation by the school staff or guest speakers followed by parental discussions and feedback in small groups. Information from the event is then published to parents afterwards. Parents’ views and suggestions are sought before, during and after the event, and these are communicated to the School Leadership Team and the FPV Steering Committee. They really do shape how parents and school work together.

 

FPV – Surveys

These are another method used to canvas parents’ views. They are used when planning the FPV Information Sharing events but also on an ad-hoc basis, examples were for the changes made to the tutor group system and homework.

FPV – Projects and Work Groups

The FPV co-ordinates parent volunteers for a very wide range of school led initiatives, here are some examples:

Improving and maintaining the school environment by gardening or painting.
Taking on roles at student voting days and at student mock interviews.
Specialist involvement such as developing the Parent Portal web site.

 

FPV – Getting Involved

The FPV keeps parents informed of events and initiatives using the FPV Email List and the ‘FPV Zone’ on the Parent Portal (a web site for Fullbrook parents).

Parents can Email the FPV directly at parentsvoices@fullbrook.surrey.sch.uk, but please be aware that they cannot deal with issues relating to individual children or members of staff.

We look forward to your involvement with the FPV and Fullbrook School

The Student Voice

Fullbrook’s Student Voice

The aims of the Fullbrook’s Student Voice are to Promote two-way communication between staff and students,
Listen to students’ views and ideas and whenever possible to take these into account when school matters are decided.

Staff will have a realistic and accurate understanding of the views and ideas of students. Students will have a clearer understanding of the philosophy behind the decisions made concerning school matters and about future proposals.

The Fullbrook Student Voice is heard through meetings and discussion with middle leaders (e.g. Heads of Learning, Heads of House and Heads of Faculty) who pass feedback on to the Senior Leadership Team via their line manager. The Student Voice comprises

  • Fullbrook 6 Student Leadership Team (democratically-elected by the sixth form and staff)
  • Year Council and House Councils (democratically-elected Tutor Group Representatives meet regularly with Heads of Learning)
  • House Captains (democratically-elected, these meet regularly with Heads of House)
  • Sports Captains;
  • Teaching and learning feedback from students interviewed through Quality Assurance procedures involving senior and middle school leaders,
  • Eco Council,
  • Assembly steering group,
  • Equality steering group,
  • Anti-bullying mentors.
  • Year 10 and 11 Mentors (meet regularly with Heads of Learning) ;

Fullbrook’s Student Council meets termly. This group is led by the democratically-elected Head Boy and Head Girl in Fullbrook 6. They set the agenda in consultation with the Senior Leadership Team and Heads of Learning following Year Council and House Council meetings. Minutes from these meetings are shared back to the Senior Leadership Team, Heads of Learning, Year Councils and House Councils and then to Tutor Groups via their Tutor Group Representatives. The council consists of

  • Fullbrook 6 Head Boy and Head Girl,
  • Two appointed representatives from each Year Council and House Council,
  • A House Captain (these attend in rotation),
  • member of staff from the Senior Leadership Team.

The Fullbrook Student Council may

  • Discuss whole school matters,
  • Make proposals to be put forward for consideration by the Principal or other appropriate person,
  • Express opinions that it may wish to have conveyed to senior staff,
  • Not rule upon matters.

Fullbrook Parent Voice - Managing Change

Every year, Fullbrook and the Fullbrook Parent Voice hold a “Preparing to make the Change together” event. This initiative is aimed at supporting parents who are perhaps new to the transition from primary to secondary and would like support in making it a less stressful process or who are wanting help managing the changes that many young people go through as they mature and become more independent. There are always two events – an evening one in mid March and a daytime version in mid April. Please contact the school if you would like any further details.

Preparing for September

This checklist has been put together by the Fullbrook parent voice using advice from existing parents as well as advice given on national websites.

 

Journey To and From School

Investigate bus times!

If using a bicycle, find out the school policy. At Fullbrook we will only issue a cycle permit on proof that your child has a helmet and that their bike is roadworthy. It is also desirable that you child has passed a Cycling Proficiency Course.

A bicycle lock is also advisable and if it is raining, a plastic bag to cover the seat during the day! If you child repeatedly fails to wear their helmet, the cycling permit will be revoked. Appropriate lights will be needed during winter months. Rehearse the route (ideally at the same time of day).

Is your child aware of road safety as local roads can be very busy at this time of day?

Travel safety – does your child know to travel in groups and never alone, especially in more vulnerable areas and during winter months? Plan alternative arrangements for after school or if a bus is missed.

Get your child to practice taking the house key out with them.

 

Mobile Phones

Use an inexpensive phone for school.

Practise using it first – especially turning it on and off so that your child does not have it switched on in lessons. Phones are NOT allowed to be used during the school day except at breaktime or lunchtime. They should be encouraged not to use their phones as an alternative to a watch for telling the time.
Program your contact details into the phone.
Program in phone numbers of any other adults that your child is able to contact if they need to.
Talk about where and how your child can keep their valuables, like phones, safe.

 

Routines

Homework – when and where will this take place? What extra resources might you need to acquire for September?

Meal times – will these need to change now that your child is starting school uk/images/page/preparing/7earlier in the morning and could be home later if they take part in after school activities?

Packed lunches or school meals – where possible, negotiate this with your child as it may impact upon whether your child is able to socialise with friends at these times. This can change on a daily basis acccording to your child’s need.

Talk about the clubs and activities on offer. These are published on the school website. Be aware that it is sometimes necessary to cancel a club at short notice due to staff absence. Ask your child to let you know.

Plan when your child will be able to get their bag ready for the next day at school.
Refer to your child’s timetable. This is in their record book.

How will your child going to secondary school affect the routines of other family members?

Will you have to renegotiate shower times etc?

Have you allowed enough time in the first few weeks to spend extra time talking to your child about their new school and helping them to adjust?

 

Friends

During the holidays try to plan opportunities where your child can socialise with other children who are in the same tutor group, or who your child is likely to be friends with in September. Also make opportunities for your child to see existing good friends.

Talk to your child about why they like certain people and what it means to be a good friend. Talk about suitable ways of dealing with minor upsets between friends. Discuss the perils of posting too much ‘comment’ on Facebook!

Talk about what is ‘friends falling out’ and what is actually bullying.
Build up your child’s friendship skills and their self esteem.
Reassure them that they will not lose touch with existing friends, even if they are in a different school or tutor group.

 

Uniform

If you have brought the uniform early does it still fit?

Be prepared for your child to change their mind about their uniform preferences within the first few weeks, for example, girls may prefer to wear trousers as opposed to a skirt.

Be prepared for your child wanting to ‘adapt’ the school uniform rules on jewellery, make-up, tights, shirts etc. Email info@fullbrook.surrey.sch.uk if you have any Fullbrook uniform questions that you would like clarification on.

Ensure your child does not talk you into an ‘extreme’ hairstyle. Colours, shavings or haircuts below a grade 3 are NOT allowed.

Ensure that your child has a school bag that is big enough to hold all of their books and equipment. Order a locker for your child once you have attended the June Transition Evening. Lockers are available to book online.

 

Talk To Each Other

Try to balance any of your child’s worries or fears with excitment and hope. Start talking about secondary school now. Don’t bottle up feelings.

Bear in mind that this change for your child will have a knock on effect for the whole family.
Help your child to understand that it is natural to be apprehensive when you start anywhere new.

Use the Fullbrook website to initiate key conversations with your child. Look at it with them.

Encourage your child to talk to other people about going to secondary school for example, friends, grandparents, teachers etc.

Don’t always feel that you need to a push a point out of principle in the first few days (eg travel arrangements, lunch arrangements). Try to be flexible.

Using A Computer At Home

Access to a computer at home will assist in your child’s learning and homework. Most of the homework is set online via the school’s VLE (virtual learning environment).

If you do not have one at home, then students are able to easily access PC’s during their break times and in the LRC after school.

Ensure that your home PC is set up so that your child has safe access to the internet.
Microsoft Word and Power Point will be used across the curriculum. Is your child comfortable in using these? If not contact the school to see if there are any planned sessions that you and your child can attend.

Buy a memory stick for your child so that they are easily able to take work into school.

 

Transition Activities

Take part in the activities that are arranged by your child’s primary school and Fullbrook. The Fullbrook events will be posted onto the website in advance.

It is often a good idea to buy a folder to store all of the information you will receive from Fullbrook over the months between March and September.

Common Concerns

Fullbrook is so big. How will my child find their way around and get to where they need to be on time? Is there enough space for all of the students?

Yes, Fullbrook is a big school but students soon learn to find their way around. During the first two weeks Year 11 mentors take Year 7s from lesson to lesson. Students are also given a map. Mentors wear different ties so that they are easily recognisable to Year 7s.

Fullbrook operates a split timetable which means that not all students go to break and lunch at the same time. This makes break times and communal areas more pleasant and less crowded.

 

With so many children how will the teachers at Fullbrook get to know my child?

At Fullbrook we really take the time to get your know your child while they are still in Year 6. Meetings occur with all of the primary teachers and headteachers throughout the year and we work in partnership with our primary schools regarding student achievement and attainment. We get to know your child’s social circles and Year 6 teachers provide us with their Teacher Assessment scores as well as the SATS results. This information is used together with Fullbrook’s own assessmnets in order to group your child for English, Maths and Science. Fullbrook staff also meet with the students before the induction days and allow them to ask any questions that they may have. Ex students from the Primary schools who are now at Fullbrook also go in to give the year 6 pupils an excellent insight into how they know feel about being at Fullbrook.

 

Is my child going to be with any of their friends and will they make new friends?

A lot of effort goes into making sure that students know and like at least one person in their tutor group and ideally more. While at primary school students are given the opportunity to choose 3 friends that they would like to be with. Students meet in their new tutor groups on the Induction Days. It is vital that your child attends. As parents you can support your child by helping them to think about who they would like to nominate as their friends and why.

Making new friends takes time for many students and friends can change a lot in their first year. For the first six weeks students are kept in their tutor groups for all lessons and when they are grouped for English, Maths and Science, this then allows students to meet even more new people. There are a range of clubs and activities (see website) and you should encourage your child to take part in at least one. Tutor time activities and Citizenship lessons encourage team building and relationship work throughout the year.

You should let the school know if you feel that your child is unhappy. At Fullbrook, we would much rather know sooner rather than later if this is the case. If you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to email the school using either:

info@fullbrook.surrey.sch.uk

Or:

concerns@fullbrook.surrey.sch.uk

Or if your query is about homework, then please email:

homework@fullbrook.surrey.sch.uk

Make opportunities for your child to meet both new and old friends outside of school.

 

What if my child is bullied. The older children are so much bigger?

Bullying is treated seriously and is dealt with promptly at Fullbrook. Parents and students sign up to the Fullbrook Anti Bullying Policy and lots of work regularly goes into talking to students about bullying as part of Citizenship. We educate students about the difference between being unkind and bullying. Incidents of bullying are rare but are investigated thoroughly and will involve communication with parents.

 

I am worried about my child’s personal safety. How do I know that they will be safe travelling to and from school? Inside the school? Will my child be able to access the internet easily and if so, how do I know that they are safe if I can’t monitor it?

Your child’s safety is of utmost importance to Fullbrook. Initially new students can feel intimidated by the much larger/ louder students but they quickly adapt! The Year 11 mentors act as a bridge between the older and the younger students and allow the Year 7s to build positive relationships and confidence around communicating with the older students.

Try practicing the journey to and from school with your child before September. This will build their confidence and yours. Time it to see how long it takes and try it at the correct times of day.

Fullbrook holds a yearly talk about Internet safety and it is open for any parent to attend. Fullbrook have very strict filtering and monitoring systems in place.

Talk to your child to find out what they know already about keeping themselves safe in different situations. Ask them ‘What would you do if…?’ If you are still concerned then you can contact Family Information Services to find out more.

 

I am worried that my child may be told off. What if they get a detention? How are children dealt with if they misbehave in lessons?

Staff understand that a new environment and new rules are hard for new students initially. They will be more lenient in certain situations, but they will also want to ‘start as we mean to go on’ – it is a difficult balancing act for staff but one that they are used to performing. We have a merits and sanctions system that you can monitor daily via the internet at home. This allows both you and us to identify how well your child is doing.

We do not tolerate unacceptable behavior in any lesson or around the school site and we act upon it very quickly. Staff and students understand the clear systems that are in place at Fullbrook and use them to quickly resolve situations. Talk to your child to ensure that they understand the Fullbrook Way (our code of conduct). This is displayed in every classroom and in the front of the student’s record book.

 

I won’t feel involved in my child’s learning anymore. How will I know of there are any problems? How can I help my child’s learning now that the work is getting harder?

Your child may not want you to be involved in their immediate school life, however, Fullbrook DO so this is actively encouraged. There is lots of reporting and academic monitoring so use opportunities to attend parents evenings and meetings. Get involved with the Fullbrook Parent Voice, look at information on the website regularly. There are plenty of tips on helping your child to learn on the website and there will be ongoing meetings at Fullbrook in order to help you to stay involved.

Support and Advice

Making the connection between primary and secondary

Click on the link below to view the video clip from Parent TV Channel used in the ‘Managing Change’ event, containing some useful advice and tips about the transition from Primary to Secondary schooling.

http://www.parentchannel.tv/video/making-connections-secondary-school

The list below was produced by the Fullbrook Parent Voice (FPV) with input from Surrey Family Information Services (FIS). If you have any comments or suggestions about this list please email the parentsvoices@fullbrook.surrey.sch.uk

A lot of the information listed below is available by using Surrey County Council’s FIS web site www.surreycc.gov.uk/fis. You can then access more information using:

  • Family Information Directory
  • Information for Young People
  • Support for Parents and Carers
  • Education and Learning Advice

 

Organisations (general advice …first point of contact):

Surrey Family Information (FIS) is a free internet, telephone and outreach service. We offer parents and prospective parents information about all services for children aged 0-19 years old (up to the age of 25 if the young person has a special need). We are a one stop place to find out where to go for more help, and help parents ‘self serve’.

Tel: 08456011777
Email: surrey.fis@surreycc.gov.uk
Website: www.surreycc.gov.uk/fis

Parentline Plus – Got a Teenager is a national charity that works for, and with parents. They offer loads of on-line support and services to help raise teenagers (eg games consoles, sibling rivalry, bullying), online parenting classes, telephone advice from experts, fact sheets etc. They do also provide a telephone service. They could be used in a crisis, but is probably best for parents who want to research, or reflect and plan for the future.

 

Tel: 0800 800 2222 (24 hours)
www.gotateenager.org.uk is part of Parentline
Plus www.parentlineplus.org.uk

Family Line Surrey – A confidential telephone help line. No problem is too big or small. A listening service for families going through hard times. Good to call when thinks are going badly and you need a listening ear. They will refer parents on to support organisations in Surrey.

Tel: 0808 800 5678 (not 24 hours)
www.familyline.org.uk

 

Partnership with Parents – The service provides information, advice and support to parents of children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) at all stages of their child’s school life, from pre-school early diagnosis through to school-leaving at 16 or 19 and for those with learning difficulties and/or disabilities to age 25.

Tel: 01737 737300
www.pwpsurrey.org

 

Organisations (Specific family or child situations)

eg Single parent families, Bullying, ADHD, Drugs
Refer to the Surrey Parent Handbooks below
Contact Surrey Family Information Services.

 

Booklets:

Surrey Parent Handbooks – guides for parents of children aged 11-19. Includes information and further sources of help for lots of issues (eg friendships, drugs) including web sites and phone numbers for surrey and national services. Paper copies from FIS, libraries and downloadable from: www.surreycc.gov.uk (do a search for parent handbook) Copies are usually available at the school office.

101 Tips for Parent : Feelings and Friendships … a Manual for the teenage years – Pocket sized, easy to read ‘trouble shooting and how to guide’ full of ideas of what to do in typical situations with teenagers (including communication, rule setting, anger, responsibility, assertiveness feelings, managing change and saying good bye) www.futurelinkpublishing.co.ukAvailable to purchase (£3) from the Fullbrook School

 

101 Tips ‘GCSEs – what can a parent do? 101 tips to ensure success’
Pocket-sized guide offers parents and their children a comprehensive, accessible and practical guide to each stage of the GCSE process, from tried and tested revision and exam techniques, with tips on setting up a work corner, establishing routines and expectations, dealing with excuses, handling lack of motivation, planning for coursework, dealing with stress and much more. Useful appendices list the best websites, clearly explain the GCSE system and offers a ‘what to do if….’
guide. www.futurelinkpublishing.co.uk . Available to purchase (£3) from the Fullbrook School office.
Video Clips

www.parentchannel.tv – this web site is full of short and informative video clips for handling some common topics for parents of all ages, including aged 9-14 ‘Moving to Secondary School’ and ‘Friends – Friendship Blues and Bust-ups’. This is a collaborative project funded by the Department for Education, and one partner is Parenting UK, a national membership body with access to parenting knowledge across the sector.
Other Web sites

www.kidscape.org.uk – Although this site is focused on bullying it also has a section about ‘Making Friends’ and ‘Assertive Techniques’. The ‘Making Friends’ is within the ‘child and young people area and is targeted at young people encouraging them to think about and explore what is a good friend or not? what kinds of friends do you like? and having a plan to work towards. The ‘Assertiveness Techniques’ are within the ‘parent’s section’ and it includes a downloadable leaflet for young people.

www.childnet.com – Know it All (KIA) for parents. Everything to get you set up to spend time understanding the internet world and supporting your children with their internet usage, including video clips.

www.gov.uk – government site with a section for Parents. Information and support for parents about how to help with your child’s learning, including advice on choosing a school and finding.

 

Parenting books:

Surrey Library has around a hundred of different books for parenting
Teenagers (reserve online via www.surreycc.gov.uk and have them delivered to your local branch).

All the following book are available from the library service except those marked with an ‘*’.

Parenting Pre-teens:

  • Talking to Tweenies – Getting it right before it gets rocky with your 8-12 year old (Elizabeth Hartley Brewer) – understanding their world and supporting them at this age.
  • How to Talk So Kids will Listen and Listen so kids will talk Adele Faber and Elain Mazlish).
  • *How to hug a porcupine – negotiating the prickly points of the tween years (Julie A Ross)
  • *Why are they so weird? What’s really going on inside a teenagers brain (Barbara Trauch)
  • Adolescence – a guide for parents (Michael Carr-Gregg & Erin Shale).
  • Whatever! A down to earth guide to parenting teenagers (Gill Hines & Alison Baverstock).

 

Parenting Teenagers:

  • As listed in Supporting Your Teenager – Signposts for Parents :-
  • Teenager, the agony, the ecstasy and the answers: How to bridge the gap between parents and teenagers (Aidan MacFarlane and Ann McPherson).
  • How to Talk So Kids will Listen and Listen so kids will talk (Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish).
  • The Fathers’ Book: Being a good dad in the 21st. century. (David Cohen).
  • Parenting Girls (Janet Irwin, Susanna de Vries and Susan Stratigos Wilson)

Also recommended:

  • The Terrible Teens : what every parent needs to know – Kate Figes.
  • Teenagers!: What Every Parent Has to Know- Rob Parsons.

Gems of Wisdom

  • “It’s us that worry more as parents – the kids will be fine!”
  • “For my son, I know that having a mentor was very helpful and reassuring.”
  • “You have to let them grow up and get on with it. They settle in and make friends sooo quickly. It’s amazing!”
  • “I think it’s a major transition, not only for the child but for the whole family. He is my oldest child, and I found it very hard to believe he would be ‘grown up’ enough to cope with secondary school. I was happy that he was starting Fullbrook, but I think I was as worried, if not more worried than he was.”
  • “It is a great stepping stone and part of lifes journey – one more step along the road I go!!! And that’s for the kids and the parents!”
  • “My son met the tutors and was shown around in a small group. The teachers were so kind and he was totally put at ease…and so was I!!! I can’t thank you enough for my son’s start. I have spent the 6 weeks summer holidays with a happy child.”
  • “There is a huge emphasis on children socialising when they first go into Year 7 which I must say was very good for the children.”
  • “Don’t worry about your child coping as they soon make lots of new friends.”
  • “Overall the transition was excellent. It went far better than I could ever have hoped for. My son knew his way around Fullbrook after one week.”
  • “Don’t worry, they will be fine.Let them do it themselves and try not to get too involved :-)”