Welcome to Highworth Warneford School. To help prospective students and their parents get to know the school better, please click on the following links to view a video presentation by Mr Steele, Headteacher and a virtual tour containing current students talking about their experiences at the school.
If you would like to speak directly to a member of the school's Senior Leadership Team to answer any further questions you may have, please contact Lorraine Lewis to book a phone or video call by email email@example.com or by phone 01793 762426.
In an ordinary year, we are able to answer questions from prospective students and their parents face-to-face during our many open events. However, given this is not possible at the moment, we have put together a list of the most commonly asked questions and answers below.
Pastoral Issues, Friendships, Wellbeing and Safety
Q/ How does the pastoral system work?
You will be put into a tutor group that belongs to one of four Houses (Buscot, Coleshill, Hampton or Stanton). However, each tutor group only has students from your year. If you already have a brother or sister at the school, you will be in the same House as them. Your tutor is the most important person at the school, as they look after all of your pastoral needs and is the person you talk to first if you have any problems. They are supported by a Head and Deputy Head of House, along with two pastoral support workers.
Q/ Can I go into classes with my friends?
We use information from your primary school to help decide tutor and teaching groups. At secondary school, you will be together with other children in lots of different combinations, so this doesn’t matter so much as at primary school. You can always see your friends at break and lunch anyway!
Q/ Why do you have Houses?
We want everyone to be proud of being a student at Highworth Warneford School but also want to have some healthy competition as well. We think this is the best way of doing this!
Q/ What do you do if you have a problem?
Although your tutor is usually the first person you’d talk to, they are supported by a whole load of other people who can help out in lots of different situations. There is always somebody who will help, no matter what you are worried about.
Q/ I am worried about making new friends
Moving from primary to secondary school is an important step and some of you will be arriving with friends from your current school and some of you might be the only person from your primary. Either way, there are loads of opportunities to get to know new people – in your tutor group, your lessons, at social times and by doing clubs and other activities. The year group is bigger than you are used to, so there is somebody for everyone!
Q/ Will I get lost?
Probably! To start off with, secondary school will feel much bigger but it won’t take long to learn how to find your way around. Older students and staff are always happy to help you.
Q/ How is bullying dealt with?
Fortunately, bullying is not common at HWS but the important thing is to know that it is not tolerated and you must tell somebody straight away. We have a very clear anti-bullying policy on our website that will tell you how we deal with things if they do happen. Bullying is wrong and, if it happens, we will stop it.
Someone being mean to you once is not necessarily bullying and we will also work with you to make you resilient and able to manage this sort of thing without getting upset or making it worse.
Q/ What is the behaviour like?
The school has a reputation for very good behaviour. This is because the teachers know how to get the best out of our students and have really good relationships with them. Lessons are interesting and expectations clear and consistent.
Q/ What happens if there is poor behaviour?
We always try to deal with things at the lowest level possible and “nip things in the bud” before there are any real problems. On the rare occasions where somebody gets things wrong there are sanctions (e.g. detentions) but we expect all students to behave well, so they usually do!
Q/ Do my parents/carers get to know what happens in school?
I am afraid so! We use a great system called Class Charts that shows them both the good things that you have done that have earned you merits but also any bad things too – you can’t get away with them not finding out.
There is also loads of other communication with your tutor and teachers via reports, letters, phone calls and parents’ evenings.
Q/ How do the older students behave towards younger year groups?
We find our older students to be incredibly supportive. Anyone in your House in particular will be looking out for you and is there to help. You will quickly get to know your House Captains too.
Q/ Where can I go at breaks and lunchtimes?
Year 7 always have an allocated outside social area that they share with Year 8 students – the Lower School Tennis courts. If you want somewhere to read quietly or study, you can always go to the Library. You might also choose to go to a lunchtime club. All areas are properly supervised, so there is always a teacher or other member of staff to talk to if you need to!
The Curriculum and Lessons
Q/ What’s the difference in how lessons work?
Well, first of all, there are a lot more different subjects every week. Some of these you will have done before and some will be brand new. In Year 7 you will study:
English; Maths; Science; Geography; History; Philosophy & Ethics; French; PE; Computing; Design Technology; Art; Drama and Music.
You will have specialist teachers who have a real passion for their subject and will be able to take your learning to a new level. We want you to do your best!
You’ll do loads of experiments in Science and practical things in DT like cooking, textiles and woodwork.
Each lesson is an hour long and you have five lessons each day, moving from room to room – you’ll soon get used to this.
From Year 8, some of you will have the opportunity to do German and you get to choose option subjects higher up the school!
Q/ Do I get put into set groups?
You will be put into an ability group for Maths from Year 7 based on information from your primary school. There is some movement during the year to make sure you are in the correct class and can make the best progress. English and Science set from Year 8 onwards.
Q/ How big are classes?
It depends on the year group and the subject. In Year 7, most classes would have around 27-28 students but there are fewer in subjects like DT, where classes are smaller to allow for lots of practical activities to take place safely.
Q/ How are teachers addressed?
You can either use their title and surname e.g. Mr Smith or call male teachers “Sir” and female teachers “Miss”.
Q/ Do I have to do homework?
Homework is a really important part of your learning, so this will be set regularly (using our Class Charts system, which your parents will also have access to).
However, we know that lots of you do things outside of school, so we won’t set hours and hours of homework every night or expect you to do it for the next day. As long as you are organised and keep on top of things, you will easily cope.
Q/ How strict are the teachers?
The teachers are in charge but they won’t want you to sit in silence all of the time! Lessons are interactive, with lots of chances to ask and answer questions and explore ideas. As long as you do as you are asked and follow the rules, you will find the teachers very approachable.
Q/ Do I have to know what job I want to do when I’m older?
Some people will have a good idea about what they are interested in doing but there is a long time until you have to really decide. However, you will get lots of careers advice and be able to build up some key skills that will help you when you’re older.
Q/ What other things can I get involved in?
Lessons are only one part of what makes this a very good school. There are loads of opportunities and we would encourage everyone to get involved in something. Here are just some examples:
- Lunchtime and after-school clubs
- Music (including peripatetic lessons)
- Sports – including representing the school
- Trips and visits
- Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) activities
- Student leadership e.g. form captain or library monitor
- A gifted and talented programme
Q/ How does SEN work at Warneford?
If you or your parents have any SEN-related questions then please contact our SENCO, Mrs Hills directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
Q/ Will I still get a place if I don't live in Highworth or Blunsdon?
Although most of our students come from the local area, we still get plenty of students from outside our traditional catchment of Highworth and Blunsdon. Although we are oversubscribed in some years, we can always advise about whether you are likely to get a place. If you want to come here then we want you to have that opportunity!
Q/ How do the buses operate?
About a third of our students use a bus to get to school. If we are your closest secondary school and you live more than three miles away, you are eligible for free transport.
We also run our own coach service from North and West Swindon for those where we are not the closest school – this has an equivalent cost of around £5 a day return.
Some students also use the scheduled Number 7 public bus service.
Q/ Can I cycle to school?
We would encourage all students who live close enough to the school to either walk or cycle. If you do come by bike, we have a secure area to lock it up. We do need you to use a helmet, make sure your bike is roadworthy and that you use lights when it starts to get darker.
Q/ Can I bring a mobile phone to school?
You can bring a phone but only to allow you to contact parents after school. It can’t be used during lessons or around the site and needs to be switched off and put away. You might find it easier to not bring it at all!
Q/ How does the canteen work?
We have an excellent canteen that offers a wide range of hot and cold food, snacks and even breakfast when there isn’t a pandemic! A meal costs around £2.80.
We use a cashless catering system that means you don’t have to worry about bringing money in. You are given a card and your parents will top it up online.
If you are eligible for Free School Meals, it will automatically be topped up every day, so you use a card just like everybody else.
Q/ Tell me about the uniform
There is a full guide to our uniform on our website. Compared to some schools, our uniform is relatively inexpensive and we don’t rely on lots of branded items, so you can shop around to get the best deal. However, our students look smart and we do expect the uniform to be worn properly. Students really like their House ties in one of the four different colours.
Q/ Can my parents get involved in school?
Although some students like their parents to not be as involved as at primary school, there are still plenty of opportunities. The school has an active PTA and some parents also become trustees (governors).
There is lots of communication between school and home. Parents can see all merits and behaviour points and keep up-to-date with homework that has been set. They still get to know everything that is going on!
It’s also worth having a look on our website more generally and, if you know a student/parent already connected to the school then ask them!
In general, students are most interested in knowing about making new friends and finding their way around school whereas parents want to know about wellbeing, behaviour and the curriculum. The FAQs will hopefully cover things from both points of view but have been answered as if a young person was asking them. If there is anything else you want to ask that is not included then please consider the other ways of getting information above or email the Headteacher, Andy Steele, directly: email@example.com