Last week we were in Wokingham’s secondary schools for the final part of Mind the Gap 2019… welcoming the new Year 7s and helping them settle in.
Our staff and volunteers really love this time of the year. We get to see young people who we met as Year 6s step out into their new world – hopefully remembering some of the tips and reassurance we gave them last term. Our familiar faces are there to give them whatever extra confidence or practical help they need during their first days of secondary school.
What our volunteers said
“Students who I had delivered the primary school workshop to recognised me and came to say hello. It was really nice to have that continuity.
“I noticed one young boy on his own in the playground and had a chat with him. He was meant to meet his friends there for lunch but they hadn’t arrived. He thought they might be in the canteen but he didn’t want to go in by himself. We walked together into the canteen – he immediately saw his friends and I was soon forgotten as he joined them. He just needed someone to give him the courage to explore a place he hadn’t been before.” – Anna
“I spotted a year 10 girl sitting on a bench in tears and felt that something wasn’t right. I went and spoke to her, and it turned out she was completely new to the school too. I was able to sit with her during break time so she wasn’t alone. I felt like my time there was valuable – not only to the year 7s but to others who were new to the school as well. We are a trusted face with the T-shirts on, and actually our role goes beyond whatever is required at each school, and the teachers really value that.” – Savannah
On Friday I had a girl and her mum come to me at drop off. The girl was in tears (in the same state I had left my own Y7 an hour earlier!) The mum and I had a chat and swapped Y7 stories. At break I saw the girl and we had a brief chat and got her to the loo. At lunch time she was in a group of girls and I noticed her pause when she saw me. I gave her a tiny head nod and smile and she continued happily on her way. Job done!” – Lou
What the schools said
“Thank you so much to your team for their wonderful work – it makes such a difference to the girls knowing that the support is there if they need it. As I walked round I could see some of the volunteers identifying girls sitting quietly on their own and going to talk to them; it definitely makes the settling in period easier.” – teacher, The Holt School
“As a school, we are once again indebted to the Mind the Gap volunteers for their dedication in ensuring young people have a smooth transition to secondary school. They build such strong positive relationships with the students which leads to them feeling confident, reassured and comfortable as soon as they walk into St Crispin’s on their first day. It is an absolute joy to stand with the volunteers on the first day whilst the new Year 7s walk up the drive and see their faces light up when they see the volunteers. Thank you to the whole team for all you have done and continue to do.” – teacher, St Crispin’s School