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Coronavirus Updates

Further information about how our Trust and schools are taking necessary precautions since the outbreak of the Coronavirus, can be found in our Trust’s ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19) website section’.

For responses to our National Writing Day #247challenge, please see here.

Students joining us in Year 12 September 2020: please see a page of resources for you here. 

Update 11.06.20: For an update about remote learning, to Years 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12, please see here.

Update 08.06.20: Year 10 and 12 parents and carers, please see the letter that has been sent out with your student’s bubbles. For FAQs, please see here.

Live Learning Timetables: Please see here for live learning timetables for this term for Years 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12.


For any key worker whose child is not currently using our childcare facility, and who subsequently becomes unable to provide childcare at home –  you must give the school 24 hours’ notice that you need to use this provision so that we can provide appropriate staffing. This means emailing r.martin@tsatrust.org.uk or calling 03333 602130 by 9am the day before. For Monday provision, please ensure that you contact the school by 9am on the preceding Friday.  Students arriving without giving 24 hours’ notice may be turned away if we do not have adequate staffing. To access this provision, you must also have downloaded and completed the form that can be found here and you must bring it with you to the school when you arrive.

You can access Holcombe Grammar School’s COVID-19 latest update and archived letters for the whole school and year groups, including links to resources at https://www.holcombegrammar.org.uk/support-guidance/holcombe-covid-19-update/

Welcome Year 7 2020

Welcome Year 7 2020

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.

Virtual Transition

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.

Sections

  1. Basics – houses, planners and reward cards
  2. Curriculum
  3. Extra-Curricular Activities
  4. The School Day
  5. General Appearances and School Uniform
  6. Attendance
  7. Valuables
  8. Term Dates
  9. Holcombe Habits
  10. Holcombe Connects
  11. Holcombe – A Thinking School
  12. Holcombe Year 7 Induction – recommended read for all new students
  13. Frequently Asked Questions – support for students and parents/carers

 

1. Basics

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 Hawkins.

2. Curriculum

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

For our School Uniform list, please see here. For a letter from Simmonds, about options for purchasing uniform, please see here.

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.

 

6. Attendance

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.

 

7. Valuables

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 office@holcombegrammar.org.uk.

 

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

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.

Thinking Hats

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

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.

Useful Links

Thinking Hats – A Guide

Thinking Maps – A Guide

What is a Thinking School?

10th Thinking School Accreditation for Holcombe

More Information about Thinking Maps

Habits, Hats, Maps and More

 

12. Year 7 Induction

Please see the full Year 7 induction information document here.

 

13. Frequently Asked Questions

1. First Day at School

  1. What do I need to do before September?
  2. What do I need to bring with me on my first day?
  3. Where do I go when I come into School for the first time?
  4. What is the earliest I can come into school?
  5. What do I do if I have forgotten my pencil case?
  6. What do I do if I lose my reward card, my planner, my tie, or my timetable?
  7. What if I want to call home?
  8. What if I get lost?

2. Life at Holcombe

  1. What do I do if I have a problem with someone in my class/form?
  2. Where can I find out about clubs?
  3. Where can I find out about trips?
  4. What are school meals like at School?
  5. Where do I go if I feel sick or I need help?
  6. What happens if I am late to school?
  7. What if my phone dies at School?

3. Parent Support

  1. I am a parent. How do I check if I am entitled to Free School Meals?
  2. How can I pay for meals and trips?
  3. How can I check on my child’s progress at School?
  4. How do I go about getting a red sticker, so that my child will not be given a same day detention?
  5. How do I make a complaint, or let the School know about an issue?
  6. Can I get a teacher’s email address?
  7. What do I do if my child has an appointment or will be absent for any reason?
  8. What do I do if my child is running late to school?

First Day at School

Please make sure your parent or carer has submitted their admissions form to us along with the documents we require – proof of ID and proof of address.

You can also have a look through the Induction Activities, which can be found in the section above, Year 7 Induction, and complete some. These are not compulsory, but we would highly recommend working through these tasks, as they will help you get an idea of what study at Holcombe will be like and support you in your preparations for School.

We would also suggest beginning to think about equipment – a full list can be found here. You can also begin to look at how you may travel to and from School. We are close to Chatham Train Station and Chatham Bus Station – a twenty minute walk up Maidstone Road, or alternatively you will be able to catch the 101 or the 176 from the train or bus station, which will stop at Letchworth Avenue.

For a full equipment and uniform list, please see here.

You will be collected upon arrival through the dark green pedestrian gate at the front of the School, next to the main gate, and you will be directed where to go. You should see many other students coming in as well. You can begin to come into school from 8am onwards. You will be taken to your form, where you will meet your form group and your Form Tutor. This is the teacher who will be overseeing your form this year and looking after you. Please do not go to the old gate at the side of the school, which is not used and is locked.

Breakfast Club opens at 8am in the hall, so any time after 8am is suitable ready for an 8:40am start. We may also have some clubs running before school, for example this year we had Gym, Basketball and Badminton as some of our clubs taking place before school.

Please let us know in the Holcombe Office and we will be able to help you.

Reward Cards: Please speak to your Form Tutor to obtain a new reward card.

Planner: Please speak to Holcombe Office for a new planner. A new planner costs £4.95. If you haven’t lost your planner and have only forgotten it, you can get a day sheet from your Form Tutor.

Tie: Please speak to Student Services who will provide you with a tie to sign out and borrow for the day. You will also be able to purchase one from them if needed at a cost of £6.95, which your parent/carer can pay via ParentPay.

Timetable: Please speak to Student Services or Holcombe Office, who will be able to print you a new timetable.

Please do not use your phone in School. Speak to Student Services in H20 and they will be able to contact home for you.

We are very helpful at Holcombe. We are sure our fellow students and your teachers will be more than happy to help you. Please let someone know. If you feel nervous, you can always come to the School Office or Student Services.

Life at Holcombe

Please report the issue to Student Services, who are here to support you throughout your Holcombe journey.

We have a noticeboard outside Reception, which we keep up to date with everything Holcombe. The School Office, Student Services and your Form Tutor will also be able to advise. A clubs list goes home every fortnight alongside the school blog, so make sure your parent/carer is signed up to receive emails from us (see Holcombe Connects for more).

You will be well informed about any trips happening at School. Letters with consent forms attached will be sent out whenever we have a new trip coming up, and information will also be sent via the school blog, social media and our noticeboard, and Form Tutors and your teachers may also let you know of anything coming up. If you lose your letter, come to Holcombe Office and we will issue you with a new letter.

Our school meals are provided by Chartwells, or you can bring in a packed lunch. For the Chartwells menu, please see here. If your parent has given consent for you to have your fingerprint taken, you will use your fingerprint to purchase your food at break and lunch. Parents and Carers – you will be set up on ParentPay, where you will be able to see what your students have purchased, pay for meals, and later on in the year, pay for school tips and other materials also.

If you are feeling unwell, please go to Student Services. If you feel sick during a lesson, please put your hand up and let your teacher know. They will send you to the medical room if they feel this is needed.

At Holcombe we have an amazing Student Services team, led by our Student Services Manager Ms Gould. They are located in H20, and they will be able to answer any questions you may have, provide you with support and help you for any number of reasons, including if you are feeling sick, if you have forgotten something, or if you want to talk to someone about any issues you are facing.

We also have our Holcombe Office, who will be happy to help you. You will also have a Form Tutor, the teacher who will see you every day and carry out morning and afternoon registration with you and your form, and will also be able to provide you with help and support.

Please sign in at the Holcombe Office, where you will be given a late slip.

Unfortunately, we are unable to charge phones at School for safety reasons. However, if you let Student Services know, they will be able to contact home for you.

Parent Support

Please speak to Holcombe Office, who will be able to provide you with a Free School Meals form. Please complete this and return this back to us. This is the form we will use to check if you are entitled

You will be set up on ParentPay, where you can begin paying for meals and trips. Please log into the platform when you receive your letter with your username and password.

We have Parents’ Evenings and there will be other opportunities to speak to your child’s teachers. Please contact the School Office if you would like details of your child’s progress before these events and we will be able to put you in contact with your child’s Form Tutor.

Please write to us in the School Office via office@holcombegrammar.org.uk, and we will liaise with your child’s Form Tutor and/or Head of Year to try to arrange this for you.

Please write to us at office@holcombegrammar.org.uk. Your complaint will be formally logged and we will ensure it is responded to by the relevant individual promptly.

Unfortunately, we are unable to give out the email addresses of our teachers. However, if you email the School Office, we will be able to forward your email and ensure you receive a response, chasing up for you if needed.

Please let us know in advance if your child will be absent or late for any reason and provide us with evidence such as doctors’ notes, appointment cards, etc. Please refer to our Attendance Expectations for more information here.

Please call us to let us know if your child is running late to School for any reason, so that we can inform our Attendance Officer. Your son should sign in at Reception when he arrives at School.

If you have any further questions, please contact the School Office via office@holcombegrammar.org.uk.