FIRST DAY FRIGHTS
The first day at school can be traumatic for many pupils as they wave goodbye to the summer holidays and step into the unknown – unfamiliar faces and surroundings, a new routine and sometimes a new bed.
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This week, Christ College, a leading co-educational school set in the heart of the Brecon Beacons, welcomes 97 new pupils aged from 11-16 into the school, over half of whom are boarders. Around 20 per cent of their boarders are overseas pupils who not only have to settle into a new school but also a new country.
The first to arrive were the lower sixth pupils who, after unpacking and spending their first night in their new dorms, were sent back-packing around the hills of the Brecon Beacons for three days. This leadership course, which includes activities such as mountain biking and abseiling, aims to encourage pupils to bond and develop leadership skills, standing them in good stead to become prefects.
Meanwhile, the new pupils from the first to the fifth form arrive at the school. The induction day, which excludes lessons but includes a detailed tour of the school and an opportunity for the pupils to meet staff and settle in, comes to a close with a first supper - a great chance for everyone to get to know each other.
By today (Wednesday) the whole school is back in and the established pupils have joined the now relaxed new pupils ready to start lessons.
Phillip Jones, Headmaster at Christ College, Brecon, believes the first few days of term are an important stepping stone in ensuring a pupil settles into the school environment and performs at his or her best for the whole academic year.
“Pupils arriving at a new school often imagine they will feel lost for the first day but we try to make the experience as comfortable and purposeful as possible for our pupils. We invest a lot of time in organising the first week and preparing a timetable of activities which encourage the pupils to get to know each other and work together,” he said.
“Christ College is not just a school – it’s a community with a great sense of camaraderie which is represented by the numbers who board here. Around half of our first year students board but over 90 per cent board by the sixth form.”