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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
ANSWERED BY BALLAKERMEEN STUDENTS
Q. What food is available to buy from the canteen?
The canteen opens at 8.00 am and serves items of food such as toast, sausage/bacon baps, fruit, yoghurt and cold drinks. At break time there is a choice of hot and cold snacks, fruit, yoghurt and cold drinks. At lunch time - the hot meal for the day (a vegetarian option is also available), salad boxes, sandwiches, wraps, fruit, yoghurt and various snacks.
Q. Can you go to the canteen at any time during the day?
No, you can’t go to the canteen at any time during the day, but you can go to the canteen before school and at break or lunch time.
Q. Do you get enough time to eat your lunch?
I get more than enough time to eat my lunch. I always have extra time to go to the library or catch up with friends as well.
Q. How many Houses are there and what are their names?
There are five houses: Maughold (blue), Hillary (yellow), Conister (red), Langness (green) and Patrick (purple). The stripe on your tie will show which house you are in. Students from each year group will be in your house so when we have house assemblies, you will meet new people. We do lots of fun activities as well as raise funds for charity.
Q. What equipment do you need for lessons?
Pens, pencils, a rubber and ruler are the essentials you will need. A pair of scissors, glue stick and highlighters will come in handy. Your Maths teacher will tell you what calculator is needed for maths lessons. Don’t forget to put your name on your equipment and your pencil case!
Q. If you get lost, who can you ask to help you?
If you get lost you can ask any teacher or student to help you find your way. They will be happy to help! There are also lots of signs on the wall.
Q. How long are lessons?
Lessons are 50 minutes long. Lunch is 50 minutes (because while half the school is on lunch the other half are in lessons). You will have a double lesson for Design & Technology and PE and single lessons for all your other subjects.
Q. How much money can you put on your smartcard?
Any amount! This can be done by using the machines in reception (you put notes/coins into the machine) or electronically through a website called ParentPay. Parents/Carers can limit how much you are allowed to spend each day and they can also check what you have been buying each day! If you receive free school meals the money is credited to your account after break time but in time for lunch time. You will be shown how to use your smartcard and the machines in reception in September.
Q. Why are there so many classrooms?
We have lots of classrooms in the school because each of your lessons are held in specialised classrooms. Each section of the school is for a specific subject. This might seem confusing when you first arrive but it is actually very simple once you get the hang of it! All the Design and Technology classrooms are on the ground floor in C Block with the Science Laboratories on the first floor.
Q. What time does school start and finish?
School starts at 8.45am and finishes at 3.20pm. Don’t forget that the library is open after school and is a great place to visit to do homework!
Q. Will I get a locker?
It is not compulsory to have one but we suggest that you do take up the offer! Your locker will come in handy for the days you have PE or swimming. Your Tutor will tell you how to go about getting a locker. The locker you will be allocated will be near or even in your tutor room.
Q. What happens if I forget my planner?
If you forget your planner tell your tutor during tutorial and you will be given a temporary planner to use for the day. Your planner is a very important piece of equipment, so get into the habit of checking it is in your bag every morning!
Q. What do you get detention for?
We rather hope you will not be given a detention! Again, your tutor will explain further but very simply, we have a behaviour policy which all students are expected to follow. There are different stages to it with different actions and outcomes.
Q. If I'm having a packed lunch, can I sit with my friends who are having school dinners?
Of course! You can sit with whoever you like as long as you are in the designated canteen (your tutor will tell you all about this when they see you!). We say “designated” canteen as we have two canteens. We call the canteen with the glass doors that open onto the outside seating area, the “new” canteen, and the canteen that is the other side of the canteen kitchen, the “old” canteen.
Q. How many friends can I put on my friendship form?
You can write the names of three friends on your friendship form. You might not be in the same tutor group as all three friends but you will be with at least one. Mrs Harrison will also take into consideration feedback from your year 6 teacher and/or your parents/carer.
Q. What can you do at break and lunchtime?
You can catch up and chat to your friends (the library is a lovely place to go to, or the seating area, canteen or outside on one of the many benches). You can use the computers in the library or play out on the field with your friends. You can also go to the Dome at lunchtime to play table tennis, pool or table football.
Q. Is the whole school on lunch at the same time?
No, there are two lunch times. Years 7, 9 and 11 are on lunch between 12:00 and 12:50 and years 8,10 and Sixth Form are on lunch between 12:50 and 13:40. Half the school is on lunch while the other half are in lessons.
Q. Can you go to the toilet during lessons?
Yes, you can go to the toilet during a lesson, but you need to ask your teacher first. Your teacher will sign your planner which you need to take with you.
Q. Can you use the Library at break and lunch time?
Yes, there are two libraries and you can go to either. The non-fiction library is the biggest and can be found down the main corridor, heading towards the canteen. It has just recently been updated and it is absolutely lovely. The fiction library is opposite the Studio Theatre and is also a great place to visit. The non-fiction library is also packed with computers which can be used during both break and lunch time. Ros will often run story telling sessions in the fiction library – well worth visiting! The non- fiction library is also open before and after school.
Q. How do I get involved in the school shows?
Your drama teacher will tell you all about the school show and the auditions for the various parts. Don’t forget that you can also help out with costumes, make-up, props and stage!
Q. Do you have the same teacher all day?
No. You will start the day with your Tutor and then follow your timetable. You will have a specialist teacher for each of your subjects which will also be in different classrooms.
Q. What should I do if someone is being horrible to me?
If someone is being mean to you, tell either your tutor or a teacher. They are here to help you!
Q. Is secondary school scary?
Before I joined secondary school I was really worried about fitting in and thought no one would like me. Don’t worry about work, making new friends or teachers. Secondary school is different to primary school, but it’s not scary. If you have any problems with the work, talk to your teacher, or your tutor, or Head/Deputy Head of Year. Come and find one of us and talk to us. Everyone starting year seven is in the same position as you. Treat people how you want to be treated and you will love it here!
Homework is definitely nothing to worry about! Your teachers will give you clear instructions for what you need to do, and when it is due. If you don’t understand anything, speak to your teacher. Our advice is that you write your homework in your planner and don’t leave everything until the night before! Keep on top of everything by doing a little homework each day.
Q. What will happen if I am late to a lesson?
If you continue to be late to your lessons you will have a late marked on the register. Lates are monitored weekly and you will be spoken to by your Tutor or Deputy Head of Year.
Q. How do you know which classroom you are going to?
Your timetable will show which room you will need to go to for each of your lessons. On the door of each classroom you will find the name of the teacher as well as a letter and number, which will match what you have on your timetable. Don’t worry, your Tutor will explain this to you!
Q. What happens if I miss the school bus?
This can happen to the best of us at times! Try not to worry. When you do arrive to school, go straight to reception and sign in. You will then go to class as normal.
Q. Who do I speak to first if I have a problem?
Your tutor should always be the first person you speak to if you have a problem. There are of course other people you can chat to – your subject teachers, teachers, pastoral team, Head and Deputy Heat of Year and of course, us!
Q. What do you use your smartcard for?
Your smartcard is used to pay for any food or drink that you buy in the canteen. It is also used to take out books from the library and open the door to the Year 7 toilets. You can of course use any of the toilets in the school but if you feel happier just using the year 7 toilets, you will need your smartcard to unlock the door. No year 7 smart card, no access to the year 7 toilets!