Introduction by Mr. A Blunt, Head of Lower School
Boys join this school in Year 7 and form part of the Lower School until the end of Year 9. They join one of our four forms on entry to the school, and each form is associated with one of the four school houses: Blue House, Brown House, Green House or Red House. The house system helps greatly to foster team spirit, as various competitions and a House Points scheme (more details below) mean each boy's house has a real meaning for him. The numerous house competitions, held throughout the year, range across the whole academic, sporting and cultural domains, and most competitions offer every boy the opportunity to participate.
All boys are helped to develop by working within a firm, disciplinary framework which nevertheless allows staff to deal with each boy and his problems on an individual basis. All staff are constantly aware that individual boys may sometimes have problems, and great care is taken to respond to these quickly. The pastoral care centred on each form group encourages a real community spirit within which problems - such as bullying and absenteeism - are minimised.
New pupils to the school are invited to an afternoon induction in July where they have the chance to meet the rest of their form, their Form Tutor and their 'buddy'. All new pupils are allocated a 'buddy' (one of the previous year's new Year 7 pupils) whose duty it is to ensure that he finds his way around the school, understands the routine and does not feel excluded by any already-established friendship groups formed in Primary Schools. Parents/Guardians are given the opportunity to meet their son's Form Tutor - as well as other members of staff and other parents - at a welcome evening in July.
In addition to this induction afternoon in July, new pupils attend an induction day on the first day of the Autumn Term. They spend most of the day with their Form Tutors, who go through various administrative tasks such as assigning lockers, going through the Student Planner, and going through the class timetable. They are also given the opportunity to 'tour' the school (the other school years are not present on this day) and are asked to complete a quiz afterward, aimed at familiarising them with the school. New pupils also take part in various 'lessons' during the day, such as Science and P.E, specially designed for the day.
One major difference between Primary School and Secondary School is the use of specialised staff for each subject. Different parts of the school are specially equipped for the various subjects and boys move between these areas for each lesson. Lower School boys have the majority of their lessons in their form groups, although they are sometimes taught in sets for Science and Maths. At the end of Year 9, pupils choose their 'options' for GCSE - these are the subjects/courses they will take at GCSE-Level in Years 10 and 11.
Pupils are given homework on a regular basis and are all supplied with a student planner in which they must write details of the homework given for a particular day. The types of homework given may differ from subject to subject but they should expect to be set between one and three pieces of homework per night in their first year at Sutton Grammar School. The volume and variety of homework tasks will increase as the pupil moves up the school, however.
All pupils attend regular assemblies. These take place in the school hall on Mondays and Wednesdays. The content of these assemblies varies, but provides the occasion for worship, reflection upon events or stories and a sense of shared responsibility and common endeavour. Pupils also participate as readers, or by presenting form assemblies which they prepare with support from their Form Tutor. Guest speakers are also regularly involved in assemblies.
Students in the Lower School participate in a House Points scheme; individuals, groups and sometimes whole forms can be awarded points, and these, along with the results of various house competitions, count towards the House Shield Competition - the overall award for the house that perfoms best across all aspects of school life, both academic and sporting. Pupils are awarded House Points for...
- Excellent pieces of homework, suggesting special care and conscientiousness
- Outstanding classwork, including performance, reading, contribution to class discussion, or written work in class
- Work showing a major improvement, or work showing that a pupil is really trying their best, perhaps in a subject they find difficult
- Exceptional behaviour that suggests - either inside or outside the classroom - that they have the best interests of the school and/or their fellow pupils in mind.