July 2020: Frequently Asked Questions re Year Seven in September 2020
Here are some of the questions that we have been asked during Zoom calls for new families with students joining Year Seven in September 2020. Thank you to all of the JPA volunteers and students who participated in the calls. If anyone has further questions or guidance to share please email firstname.lastname@example.org
All of this guidance applies to a pre-covid world. It will be updated when further guidance on yeargroup bubbles, catering and transport is received in August/September 2020. The New Parent Pack sent out in June can be viewed here
How many houses are there?
Six: Bryant, Evans, Morgan, Rendall, Starling and Taylor.
More information on houses is available at https://www.judd.online/pastoral
House t-shirts are worn when students participate in some house competitions. Don't worry if you can't get the official Judd house t-shirt for the start of term. A plain t-shirt in the house colour will be fine initially. We know there has been a bit of a lead-time on Morgan orders. The house colours are red (Bryant), orange (Evans), yellow (Morgan), green (Rendall), light blue (Starling), purple (Taylor).
Which bags are best?
Backpacks for books need comfortable straps and the capacity to hold four or five slim text/exercise books alongside a pencil case, lunch, snacks and water.
Sports bags need to be big enough to fit a couple of pairs of trainers/boots, a tracksuit, shirt and shorts. Combination padlocks are required. Waterproof liner bags (that you can buy from camping shops) can be useful if your son's sports bag falls off the racks on a rainy day. Boot bags are also helpful to keep mud contained.
It’s good to have bags that can be spotted easily if they are in a big heap or in the racks. Bright colours/trims can save time and accidental pickups! For naming, a woven nametape stitched on the inside of a shoulder strap works well. Best to avoid putting full names on the outside where they may be visible on public transport.
If you already have sports bags and backpacks at home please don’t feel as though you must have new bags for the start of term. Try using what you have and then upsize/downsize accordingly as the year goes along.
Do Year Seven Judd students need laptops/ipads during school hours?
Which type of mobile phone should students have?
A phone with a camera and internet access sometimes helps when teachers give permission for them to be used in lessons to look things up or take snapshots of the board.
Year Seven do not use their phones at break or lunch. They are encouraged to socialise, attend clubs and talk to each other.
Do many students have packed lunches?
Quite a lot of students bring packed lunches, especially if they go to lunchtime clubs, as they can then eat their lunch at break (10.50-11.20) and spend more time at their club. Some find the queues at the dining hall a bit long so bring their own lunch so that they can eat as soon as possible at lunchtime. They might prefer to buy snacks at break, so will still use school catering. There is always plenty of food on offer to buy at break and lunchtime. On Fridays they have chicken burgers at break time which are very popular and fill you up ready for games (which for Year Seven is after lunch).
Do students need to buy A4 notepads or text books?
Which boots are best; rugby or football?
There aren't any restriction on studs any more, but studs are recommended on the 3g astro ahead of blades (so any studs).
Any pair of football boots is fine (traditional rugby boots had a higher ankle which are not needed). There isn't much difference between rugby / football boots any more.
Do indoor trainers have to be white?
No. Trainers can be any colour. Make sure they are named and that the indoor pair has non-marking soles.
What’s the best way of naming uniform?
The consensus across a broad range of experienced parents is that woven nametapes sewn in to the collar/waistband work best. We have found that embroidered initials limit re-use/handmedowns and QR codes caused needless expense/hassle. If the name is visible on a collar/waistband then the school office and lost property volunteers do a grand job of getting lost kit back to students via their form trays or breaktime recovery sessions.
What should students have in their pencil case?
A selection of blue/black pens
Pencils and colouring pencils
Rubber, pencil sharpener & ruler
Highlighters / fine-line coloured Pens
Compass, protractor & calculator
Glue stick & scissors
Board marker – non permanent
Tissues, hand sanitiser and PPE (if using public transport)
Which uniform is essential for September and which items can wait?
Jumpers and tracksuits can generally wait until October half term (or even late November) as the weather tends to be mild enough to go without. Some boys never wear a jumper!
Rugby/football boots can mostly wait until then too as the ground is hard and students can just wear trainers. The fields will be muddy soon enough though and students will need studs once it gets rainy.
There are no science practicals due to covid so lab coats are not required. Once restrictions are lifted there are spares in the labs. If you’re on a budget, strike this optional item off the list!
Blazers are washable, can be ironed and keep their colour well.
One blazer, one pair of trousers, a few white shirts, a tie, a rugby top, rugby shorts, rugby socks, PE vest, white shorts, house tshirt and sweatshirt should see you through the first term. Charcoal trousers and white shirts do not have a logo and can be purchased at many clothing shops and supermarkets. That's roughly £200 if you buy everything new. If you can get a summer appointment at the second hand uniform shop you may be able to find some items at a fraction of the price.
Don’t use fabric conditioner on any Judd uniform. It damages it, often beyond repair!
The rugby shirt should be quite fitted (to prevent pulling when tackling).
The PE vest should be quite baggy (with lots of room under the armpits - like a basketball player's top).
Which sports are played?
Have a look at juddsport.com and click on the Team Fixtures & Results link. That will show you the teams in 2020 so far and give you a good overview of the sports played. In a normal year, September would begin with Rugby training and Cross Country in games lessons. This may change due to covid restrictions. We should know more in late August.
There are usually two PE lessons (50 minutes each) and one double Games lesson (1hr40) each week. Games is done as a year group and there is an element of choice in what boys would like to play. PE tends to focus on different activities including gymnastics and fitness/strengthening.
Does everyone have a locker?
Backpacks and sports bags should go home each night. Lockers do exist but covid regulations and space/movement restrictions may make them hard to assign/use.
Do students get a lot of homework?
Homework is set for each subject. Students write the homework in their planner (a book that looks like a diary that all students are given on joining the school). It is also assigned in Google Classroom. It rarely has to be in the next day but one of the first skills to master is to work out when homework needs to be handed in and plan sufficient time to do it accordingly. There can be evenings when 40 minutes to 90 minutes is needed to get all homework done, but there may be times when there is no homework left to complete. Time management is key. Parents can see daily lessons via an app called Weduc. This also alerts parents to commendations and detentions. Students can track their homework and see messages in Google Classroom via the Google account that they will be given.
How are allergies catered for?
The catering manager has an excellent record of communication with parents of students with allergies. If you would like to speak to her please contact the school office.
Do students have a lot of food available to them during the school day?
Yes! Lots of options are offered at breakfast, morning break and lunch. Covid bubbles may knock out the breakfast provision (we'll know more in late August/September). Squid cards are used to pay for food at the dining hall (hot meals) and pod (paninis, pasta, waffles, pretzels). A main meal and pudding is around £2.50. The average spend for a student is around £4 per day (and is limited to £6 per day by default). You can limit your son's daily spend on his squid card if required and you can view the things he has purchased via your squid account.
How do most students get to school?
Most students travel to school on public transport (trains, buses) but a significant minority arrive by car.
The Government continues to advise that the use of public transport should be kept to a minimum. ‘One metre plus’ social distancing requirements will remain for any users of public transport including students. This means the capacity on buses and trains is reduced from normal times. DfE guidance is for schools to continue to advise parents to find alternative means to get their child to school wherever possible.
Leave plenty of time for your journey. Traffic in central Tonbridge was very congested between 8am and 8.30am before lockdown. We hope that more people working from home may alleviate that. A ten minute journey in to Tonbridge would frequently take 40 minutes or more before lockdown.
West Kent College doesn't return until September 9th (phew!). Weald and Hayesbrook have all years in on Thursday 3rd September. TGS have only Y7 and Y12 students in on the first full Judd day (Thursday 3rd September).
Who are the teachers for Year Seven and when will we meet them?
There is a Parent Portal within Weduc that shows the timetable and a teacher for each subject. You son will also have a form teacher.
There is a messaging part of Weduc which can help you to manage your communications with school. Don't be afraid to contact the school office with queries. It's best to get them off your mind and they know all about school life and are super helpful. Form teachers are a good first point of contact and it's good to copy them in to any correspondence with subject teachers, especially in the early days. If your query is pastoral you may wish to contact Mrs Middleton, who is the Assistant Head, Pastoral. There is always someone there to help you find a resolution to an issue, however big or small.
In normal times, a social evening would be held in early October to hear a little bit about Year Seven so far from Mr Wood and then to meet form teachers and heads of house. Let's hope this can happen. If not, then videos and or Google meets will possibly be planned. We were very lucky to have a full Year Seven Parent Consultation evening at the end of February, so we could meet subject teachers and hear about progress in each subject directly before lockdown began. When you receive invitations to parent consultations please log in to the system straight away and book your teacher meetings. They have a limited amount of time and if you leave it then the slots get booked up and you may only be able to see a small number of teachers.
The recommended calculator is expensive. Can students use a cheaper version?
There are minor differences between the Casio FX-85GTX (£16.99) and the Casio FX-85GT+ (£45.99). Either calculator would be appropriate for year 7 through to year 11. The price difference might be because the GTX calculators have been discontinued.
When can we all get together socially?
At present, government guidelines dictate that only 6 people can meet outside. Businesses and clubs can organise larger gatherings (up to 30 people) as long as they show that they have taken measures to mitigate covid risk. The JPA will organise social events for new families and across the school community when government guidelines allow us to do so without putting public health at risk. In the interim, please use the house whatsapp groups to get to know other new families. If you would like the JPA to arrange a Google Meet in the summer holidays please let us know.