Please note our physical induction day has been cancelled due to Coronavirus. Transition will now be virtual.
Congratulations on being offered a place at Holcombe.
We have created your very own Year 6 Holcombe page on our website which will give you everything you need to know before you begin your educational journey with us. The transition from Year 6 to Year 7 can be daunting at the best of times, and must seem mountainous with the current circumstances we find ourselves in. Here on your page we will do everything we can to make this transition as smooth and easy as possible for you.
This page, therefore, is designed especially for you. It will contain everything you will need to know before your first day with us and will answer the questions you may have. It will also provide guidance to support your parents and carers to support you getting ready for your new school.
Read on to find out about everything Holcombe.
Please have a look at our Year 7 Induction section, in particular, which contains some induction activities aimed at supporting you before you join.
We look forward to welcoming you into our great community.
Please see our full virtual transition page here: https://sway.office.com/4EesPHR7XFKsHDjP?ref=Link. A fantastic tool for all our incoming students and their parents and carers to really give you all a glimpse into our brilliant school, including clips from our students and form tutors and an introduction from Mr Preston, our Principal.
- Basics – houses, planners and reward cards
- Extra-Curricular Activities
- The School Day
- General Appearances and School Uniform
- Term Dates
- Holcombe Habits
- Holcombe Connects
- Holcombe – A Thinking School
- Holcombe Year 7 Induction – recommended read for all new students
- Frequently Asked Questions – support for students and parents/carers
When you join Holcombe, you will be given a reward card, which you must carry around with you at all times. You will also be given a school planner. You will be placed into your house – Conquest, Barfleur, Shannon, Guardian, or Ardent.
The curriculum in Key Stage 3 at Holcombe Grammar School is designed to help you develop a solid foundation and support you in your high level academic studies and in your development as a productive and valuable member of society.
Our fortnightly timetable (Week A and B) ensures you will have access to a range of lessons and home learning opportunities to attain knowledge and abilities in preparation for your GCSE courses. Our curriculum builds on many subject specific skills, including numeracy and literacy covered in primary school, and develops transferable thinking skills that are used throughout the subjects. Many topics studied are demanding and unfamiliar but enable you to discover new ideas that may shape your future choices in work and education.
Academic mastery in KS3 is rooted in a student’s wider reading, research and general world knowledge that supports the classroom-based learning. Therefore, throughout KS3 lessons, form time and extra-curricular activities the development of a love of reading is a priority. In addition, you will be encouraged to make use of the School Library, share book reviews with peers and attend extra-curricular book clubs to extend interests and reading skills.
Individual focus days include Thinking Tools training and Revision Skills. These days are led by the Form Tutors to introduce the Thinking Tools that form the basis of Holcombe’s approach to teaching and learning, and by the School Captains and Prefects to help you prepare for your exams successfully.
3. Extra Curricular Activities
We have many clubs available on offer, which change every term. We will be finalising our new clubs list for the new term soon, but to give you an idea of some of the clubs that may be available to you, please see an old clubs list here. In particular, we have Debate Society, Book Thieves, where we are joined by a librarian from Medway Libraries, and the Medway Victory Sea Cadets, where you will be able to challenge yourself and learn new skills. You will be able to take part in all of these clubs in Year 7. Please see more information here.
Have a look at Section 10, Holcombe Connects, to see how we use our school website and social media pages and other communications, including our fortnightly blog, to encourage our students to participate in extra-curricular activities and celebrate their achievements and extra-curricular growth.
4. The School Day
Please see the timetable for the school day here. All students must be in school by 8:35am, ready for a 8:40am start.
5. General Appearances and School Uniform
Should you arrive to school with incorrect uniform, your parent or carer may be contacted by telephone and you may be sent home. This will be recorded as an unauthorised absence. Always ensure you come to school well-presented and in correct uniform.
Hairstyles should be appropriate and not contain exaggerated colours, styles or adornments. No hats, hoods, caps or other head coverings are to be worn in school other than for religious purposes. If belts are to be worn they must be discrete and appropriate. No badges are to be worn other than those that are issued or approved by the school. Jewellery should not be worn, other than a practical watch. Earrings, visible piercings and rings should be removed before arrival at school. Students are expected to maintain full uniform and a smart appearance on their journey to and from school.
Regular attendance to school is a legal requirement for all children of compulsory school age. It is a proven fact that students whose attendance is below 96% do not achieve their full potential. The TSA-Trust and Local Authority target is 96%. The TSATrust expectation is that every student should strive for 100% attendance. Parents and Carers – please report your child’s absence by calling 03333 602130 and selecting option 1 by 9:00am on each day of illness.
Absences of three or more days must be covered by medical evidence. Any absence during the week before, and the week after any school holidays, must also be covered by medical evidence regardless of the amount of days. Medical evidence can be in the form of an appointment card, medicine label or prescription. Time off school for reasons other than illness must be applied for in writing and in good time before the date requested. Non-essential medical appointments, where possible, must be made after school hours or during school holidays. Leave of absence in term time (includes holidays) will not be authorised, in accordance with the TSA-Trust and government guidelines.
Any application for leave must be for exceptional circumstances and the Head of School/Executive Principal must be satisfied that the circumstances warrant the granting of leave. Parents can be fined for taking their child on leave during term time without consent from the school. The Trust will make contact with you should your child’s attendance drop below 96%. Encouraging regular school attendance is one of the most powerful ways you can prepare your child for success, both in school and in life. When you make school attendance a priority, you help your child achieve the best grades possible, develop life habits and avoid dangerous behaviour.
For more information about attendance at Holcombe, please see here.
You should not bring any valuables into school, if you do then you do so at your own risk. In PE lessons any valuables must be handed to your PE teacher at the start of the lesson and collected at the end – this is your responsibility.
8. Term Dates
For our Term Dates, please see here.
9. Holcombe Habits
At Holcombe, you will be learn about and be encouraged to use our Holcombe Habits. These are skills that we want all of our students to get used to using in all of their lessons and their day-to-day activities at School. You will be shown how to immerse yourself in the Habits, in order to help you with your learning, your studies, and your successes. Please see the full list of Habits below. Which Habits have you used today?
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For further information about the Holcombe Habits, and more, please see Habits, Hats, Maps and More.
10. Holcombe Connects
At Holcombe we have numerous ways that we keep our community connected and informed. Firstly, we have our school website. We post key information and news articles here, so it’s useful to keep checking the site. The website is also the go-to in the event of school closures, e.g. in the instance of adverse weather updates will first be posted there.
We also have a Facebook page, TSAT – Holcombe Grammar School, and a Twitter page, https://twitter.com/holcombegramma1, which we keep up to date with useful information about goings on at School to support parents and carers. These pages also contain posts and news that give a glimpse into life at Holcombe and celebrate the achievements – both school-related and extra-curricular – of our students. Please do encourage your parents and carers to follow us on these pages to keep up to date with everything Holcombe related. Parents and carers may also wish to follow the Thinking Schools Academy Trust’s Facebook and Twitter pages: TSAT – Thinking Schools Academy Trust and https://twitter.com/tsa_trust.
We also have the fortnightly blog, another way we communicate with parents and carers and stay connected. The blog is distributed to them via email every fortnight. It is a document that compiles together all of the exciting news stories about events at Holcombe over the last two weeks, keeping your parents and carers up to date with what you and your peers have been doing at School. Also in the blog is the ‘Quickfire Week’ – the fortnight in bulletpoints, which allows parents/carers to see, at a glance, both the main events of the past fourteen days and a quick briefing on what to expect in the fortnight ahead. This means that, even if parents/carers are short on time one week, they will still be able to catch up on key events and prepare for the coming weeks. Our blogs always contain anything they may need to know about, i.e. clubs, notices, upcoming events, trips and fundraising efforts. All blogs sent the past two academic years can be found here. Parents and Carers – please ensure we have your current email address, so you don’t miss out when we send this useful document via PS Connect, our parent emailing system.
Finally, we have our school newsletter. The newsletter is sent at Christmas, Easter and Summer. It compiles all news stories from the past two terms in one place, so the Holcombe community can reflect on the weeks behind us, take pride in and celebrate what has been achieved and look ahead to the future. To view our newsletters, please see here.
You may also wish to download the My Ed School App, which we would also encourage all parents and carers to have. For any queries about PS Connect or My Ed, or the other communications we have mentioned, please contact the School Office via email@example.com.
11. Holcombe – A Thinking School
At Holcombe we believe passionately in providing our students with the best foundations on which to build their academic and personal success. In doing so we draw on the very latest pedagogic research to place cognition and Thinking Skills at the heart of our teaching and learning provision.
As part of our journey toward being acknowledged as a centre of best practice in this field, we recently gained accreditation as a Thinking School from University of Exeter’s prestigious Cognitive Education Development Unit. We were delighted after we became one of only thirty schools in the country to receive the ‘Thinking School’ accreditation from the University in September 2019, a status we will hold until September 2022. In its report, Exeter University highlighted the strong partnership between the School and the Trust, noting that staff at Holcombe Grammar School have “fully embraced” the Thinking School vision and are “committed to creating a positive learning culture”.
“The philosophy of developing students’ thinking skills is being developed well… evidently motivating students to challenge themselves and step outside of their comfort zones.” – Ofsted October 2014
Ofsted have also noted how our School’s ‘vision to develop pupil’s thinking skills was having a positive impact on the quality of learning and teaching.’
What is a Thinking School?
Thinking Schools follow many different paths, but one useful definition that encapsulates our approach at Holcombe is that offered by Knapp:
“A school which is successfully developing as a thinking community will strive to ensure that all pupils are developing and demonstrating independent and co-operative learning skills using a range of thinking tools and strategies. The school will generate high levels of achievement and an excitement and enthusiasm for lifelong learning. ”
Thinking Maps are eight graphic organisers that are used here at Holcombe. They will enhance your abilities to see connections across your studies and encourage lifelong learning. Taken together they form a visual language of learning that is shared by staff and students.
Widely used in business, Thinking Hats provide a practical method of directed cognition. Each of six distinct types of thinking are represented by a different coloured hat. When an individual is ‘wearing’ a specific hat they focus their thinking in the associated manner. Consequently the method helps people be more productive, focused, and mindfully involved.
Thinkers’ Keys are a set of twenty different ways of approaching an issue or subject designed to engage and motivate learners in a range of thinking activities.
12. Year 7 Induction
Please see the full Year 7 induction information document here.
13. Frequently Asked Questions
1. First Day at School
- What do I need to do before September?
- What do I need to bring with me on my first day?
- Where do I go when I come into School for the first time?
- What is the earliest I can come into school?
- What do I do if I have forgotten my pencil case?
- What do I do if I lose my reward card, my planner, my tie, or my timetable?
- What if I want to call home?
- What if I get lost?
2. Life at Holcombe
- What do I do if I have a problem with someone in my class/form?
- Where can I find out about clubs?
- Where can I find out about trips?
- What are school meals like at School?
- Where do I go if I feel sick or I need help?
- What happens if I am late to school?
- What if my phone dies at School?
3. Parent Support
- I am a parent. How do I check if I am entitled to Free School Meals?
- How can I pay for meals and trips?
- How can I check on my child’s progress at School?
- How do I go about getting a red sticker, so that my child will not be given a same day detention?
- How do I make a complaint, or let the School know about an issue?
- Can I get a teacher’s email address?
- What do I do if my child has an appointment or will be absent for any reason?
- What do I do if my child is running late to school?
First Day at School
Life at Holcombe
If you have any further questions, please contact the School Office via firstname.lastname@example.org.