As each 2017 Year 7 student walked through the gates of Heyington Place on 1 February, they were warmly greeted by a Year 12 leader, resplendent in their pale blue jumpers and gently guided to the Clocktower.

Here, the newest additions to the St Catherine’s School community excitedly found their lockers and nervously bid farewell to their parents to begin their Senior School journey. And begin they did! Propelling themselves into organising their locker, finding their classrooms, deciphering the timetable and tackling the colossal enigma that is the combination lock.

To their credit, the girls all hit the ground running and met each challenge with optimism. They were guided in their transition by Year 11 mentors this week, during a communal lunch where the girls were able to ask questions pertaining to School life in a safe and supportive environment.

Young adolescents of this age group are confronted with rapid physical, emotional and intellectual changes, whilst simultaneously seeking to establish their own place in the world, and having a knowledgeable guide, such as a Year 11 mentor, helps alleviate some of the apprehension that many students were no doubt feeling.

Transition from Junior to Senior School involves a myriad of emotions for students and their families, from nervousness to excitement; the promise of a new group of friends, different teachers, new subjects, the food at the Café and an adolescent environment bustling with adventures and challenges is compelling for most students. Even the most curious and courageous young person possesses some vulnerabilities at this age and stage in their development. And yet, the positive attitude and enthusiastic approach demonstrated by the Year 7 students has been evident to staff and students alike.

The Year 7 wellbeing theme; weBelong already seems to have been embodied and embraced by the cohort.

Ms Kanako Yokouchi, Dean of Year 7