Frequently Asked Questions
My child has achieved very highly at primary school. How will you support them?
We have extensive support in place to motivate and inspire children with higher prior attainment. This support includes The Scholars Programme which we run in Year 9, academic monitoring and a range of activities in conjunction with Oxford University. For more information please visit our website https://www.henrybox.oxon.sch.uk/2345/higher-prior-attaining-students?search=high
How is homework set or recorded at The Henry Box School?
We set homework using an online system called 'Satchel: One'. This system is accessible through an internet browser or by downloading the app on smartphones and tablets. Parents have their own logins and are able to see what homework has been set and contact teachers through the system too.
What kind of homework will my child be set?
This will vary between subjects, so for example, in French or German, students are set regular vocabulary revision, in Maths they may set a series of questions or in English they may have some extended writing to complete. We also use our homework system, Satchel: One and other platforms to set online quizzes or tests. Each faculty will also produce a set of 'Knowledge Organisers' each term, these contain the core knowledge students will develop as the term progresses. We will often set retrieval practice work using these and begin the following lesson with a low stakes quiz. We also encourage all children to read for 20 minutes every night to help develop their literacy skills and extend their vocabulary.
Do you set students in Maths?
Initially, we group students by prior attainment. Through regular assessment and monitoring of classwork, homework and tests, students can move groupings.
How often will I get to see my child's teachers?
We have a Parents Evening once a year for each year group. In Years 7, 8 and 9 your meeting will be with your child's Form Tutor, who will collate comments from all your child's teachers. The meeting will last about 20 minutes. During the meeting, we will discuss your child's academic progress and the wider aspects of their life at school like friends, clubs, homework and any other issues you would like to raise. In Years 10 and above you have the opportunity to meet all of your child's teachers for 5 minutes each. We have an open door policy, so you are able to phone or email your child's teachers during the year and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
What do you do for high prior attaining students in Maths?
Our aim in Maths is to deepen understanding of topic areas enabling students to problem solve in all areas of Maths. We also enter students for the UK Mathematics challenge competitions which opens the minds of our young people to the breadth and depth of Mathematics.
Will we do experiments in science lessons?
Yes. You will complete scientific investigations in our specialist laboratories.
Will we cover Biology, Chemistry and Physics in science lessons?
The curriculum is split into modules that cover all 3 sciences.
Can my child learn an instrument or have singing lessons whilst at Henry Box?
Yes! We have several instrumental and singing teachers coming in across the week, and your child's lesson will be on a rota basis so they don't miss the same lesson each time.
Are there any concerts which my child can take part in?
Absolutely! We usually have a Christmas concert and a summer concert.
Can you only join a Music club if you already play an instrument?
We have some more advanced ensembles, but the ukulele and xylophone clubs are for complete beginners.
What is Personal Development?
Personal Development refers to the curriculum and provision in place at school, which incorporates Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE), Drugs Education, Financial Education and Careers Education, as well as the safe use of social media and other online platforms. It is more commonly referred to as ‘Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education’. All Personal Development sessions fit succinctly into the newly formed categories of Health and Wellbeing, Relationships and Living in the Wider World. Lessons equip students with the knowledge, understanding and skills they need to lead safe, healthy and productive lives alongside developing the qualities and attributes students need to thrive as individuals, family members and members of the wider community. For more information regarding Personal Development at The Henry Box school please follow the below link: Personal Development Policy
Will my child be taught more than one foreign language?
No. Students will be allocated either French or German on entry in Year 7 and will continue with that language until the end of Year 9. Thereafter they can choose whether or not to continue to study it for a GCSE.
Are there school trips abroad?
Each year the Modern Foreign Languages department takes a group of students in Year 8 to Northern France and in Year 9 to the Rhineland, Germany for a residential visit.
Will trips & visits go ahead in light of Covid 19-related government guidelines?
We aim to provide as broad a range of trips and visits as possible. Each proposed trip or visit will be assessed for risk and feasibility, taking into account current government guidelines.
How does the school provide for Children We Care For?
All parties involved with Children We Care For meet and agree a Personal Education Plan (PEP). This contains objectives to help the child make good progress in school and to secure their general well-being. The school has a Designated Teacher for Children We Care For who is responsible for monitoring students' progress and the allocation of Pupil Premium Plus funding, and liaising with teachers, carers and Social Care.
How does the school support students' mental health and wellbeing?
Student mental health and wellbeing is addressed across the year through Personal Development sessions, a programme of assemblies and tutor mentoring. In addition, students who are experiencing mental health difficulties can be referred to the intervention team, who will ensure that each individual student receives the support that they need. We have a lovely student counsellor who might form part of that support; students can also self-refer.
How many lessons of practical PE would my child take part in each week?
In Year 7 and the rest of KS3 PE, students take part in two separate 1 hour lessons per week. This is reduced to three lessons per fortnight in KS4. There is also an extensive extra-curricular programme involving a variety of clubs, teams, intra and inter-school fixtures for students to take part in.
Are there any extra-curricular Drama activities my child can get involved with?
Yes! We run extra-curricular activities for all KS3 students. This year will differ slightly owing to Covid-19 restrictions; however, we will have these up and running as soon as we can.
What sports do Year 7 students do in PE?
The students do a variety of team and individual sports, including Hockey, Football, Rugby, Netball, Handball, Cricket, Basketball, Badminton and Table Tennis. They will also take part in Athletics, Health Related Exercise (Fitness) and some Team building activities. We do not swim in PE lessons but we do enter the West Oxon Swimming championships and School Games events.
Will I be in the same House as my brother/sister/cousin?
Not necessarily - we often split family members across Houses.
What transition activities will you run?
As we have done previously, we plan to have a 3-day transition event in July so that your child can experience what life is like at a secondary school, including lessons, assembly and break times. In addition, we offer other aspects such as a phone call to parents and a visit to your child in their Primary School.
How many tutor groups are there?
There are 42 tutor groups, spread across 4 different Houses.
Will I be with my friends?
During the transition process, we ask you to give the names of 3 friends you feel safe with and work well with. We guarantee to put you in a group with at least one of these people.
How will I find my way around the school site?
You will be given a map when you come for your transition visit and your tutor will help you to find your way around. You will also have a treasure hunt challenge to practice finding your way around with your friends. You will be given a map again on your first day in September and will have the chance to practise finding your way to your lessons. If you get lost, staff and older students are very friendly and will help you.
When will I find out which House I’m in?
In July, when we officially welcome you as a new member of The Henry Box School, we’ll let you know your House and who your tutor is going to be.
Why do we do Vertical Tutoring?
Please follow this link to our website which outlines key questions and answers - https://henrybox.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/document/FAQs-on-Vertical-Tutoring.pdf?t=1599033938
What do I do if I’m worried or upset about something?
If you’re worried about anything, you can talk with your tutor or someone from the Student Support Team.
Who will be my main point of contact at school?
Every student has a form tutor, who they meet with at the start of each day. They are your key contact in school and will help you to solve any problems you have. They will also be the first point of contact for parents.
Will I sit next to someone outside of my Year group bubble?
There will be a mixed seating plan in your vertical tutor group and you are likely to be seated beside someone from a different year group.
How will my hard work be recognised?
Teachers make phone calls home and send postcards for exceptional work and effort. Our homework app, Satchel One, gives teachers the opportunity to give you badges for great work and contributions in class. House points can also be given for succeeding in house competitions and for contributions to the wider school community.
What is the House System?
Please see the information about the House System on the school website: https://www.henrybox.oxon.sch.uk/305/house-system
How do you address poor behaviour?
We take a positive and proactive approach to behaviour management, knowing that prevention is better than cure. Rather than systems of punishment, we focus on positive, restorative conversations, building respect between all members of the school community. Our dedicated Learner Engagement Team comprises of highly trained professional counsellors, family and student support workers who prioritise the well-being of the child to ensure ongoing progress at school. Working in partnership, we build close relationships with parents. Where students are still unable to meet our expectations, we use a range of appropriate interventions including alternative provision, EdLounge and, where absolutely necessary, exclusions.
How often do students cook in D&T?
In a typical Year 7 rotation of 10 weeks students will cook at least 5 times.
Do parents/carers need to provide ingredients for Food and Nutrition lessons?
Yes, students will get a list of ingredients at the start of a food rotation with the dates of the practical sessions and what students need to bring in.
How many Art lessons a week do Year 7 have?
Year 7 have one lesson of Art a week.
How often is homework set a week in Art?
Homework is set every two weeks in Art. Students are expected to spend approximately one hour a fortnight on this work.
Do students work in sketchbooks during their Art lessons?
Students work in a sketchbook each lesson and also complete their homework in this book. Sketchbooks and some Art equipment can be bought via ParentPay.
What are the extra curricular opportunities in Art?
We aim to run a Year 7 Art club each week after school.
Frequently Asked Questions about SEND
Why is my child on the SEND Register?
If your child was on the SEND Register in primary school, initially they will automatically be placed onto the SEND Register in secondary school. There are several different reasons why your child may be on the register. They could need some extra support with their learning, they may be having trouble with interacting or communicating with others, or they might need some emotional support while at school. If your child has a physical or sensory disability, they will also be on the Register. During their first term at HBS, we will evaluate whether or not your child should remain on the register; this will be done in consultation with you and your child. If you would like to find out why your child is on the register and which specific needs he or she has, please contact the School Leader of Inclusion or SEND Administrator, as they will be happy to speak to you more in depth.
How will my child with SEND transition from primary school to secondary school?
Transitioning from primary school to secondary school starts before the end of year 6. Once it is clear that your child will be attending HBS, our School Leader: Inclusion and Yr6 Transition Lead will visit the SENCo of your child's primary school to discuss the support your child will need at secondary school. Furthermore, HBS Inclusion department organises SEND taster days, when year 6 SEND students come in and experience life at HBS, learn to interpret the timetable and meet the Inclusion Team. These are on top of the whole school Yr6 Transition days. If you believe your child would benefit from multiple taster days, we are happy to arrange this where possible. As soon as your son or daughter starts year 7, our School Leader of Inclusion/Specialist teacher runs a range of assessments so we are aware of any academic struggles your child may face. Based on transition notes from your child’s Yr6 SENCo, a face to face meeting with a HBS TA and the new assessment data, a student passport is made up to hand out to all your child's new teachers so their needs are recognised straight away. If your child is on an EHCP in primary school, the final annual review before leaving primary school will be attended by our School Leader of Inclusion.
How does the school know my child needs extra support?
There are a number of ways that the school can pick up when a student is struggling. Here at HBS we track the academic progress of students using progress data. The progress data predicts the minimum rate of progress a student should achieve by Year 11. The school uses check point data to check if students are above track, on track, behind track or if there is a cause for concern. The Inclusion Faculty responds to these concerns based on regular checkpoint data.
Another way the school can pick up on potential issues is via communication between members of staff. If teachers feel that one of their pupils is struggling to keep up in lessons or struggling in any other way, concerns are communicated to the Inclusion Faculty internally. Once concerns have been brought to light, the School Leader of Inclusion/Specialist teacher will do the necessary assessments to corroborate the concerns.
Finally, you as a parent can voice your own concerns to the school.
What do I do if I think my child needs extra support?
If you believe your child is struggling academically or in any other way, you can raise these concerns with the school yourself. You can speak to your child's tutor or other teachers at parents' evening, or you can contact the Inclusion Faculty using the Questions/Concerns Form.
How will the curriculum be matched to my child's needs?
At HBS we aim to implement schemes of work with appropriate differentiation of tasks. This means that a student will be supplied with different avenues of learning suitable to their academic level. Teachers work hard to provide teaching materials, content, and assessment methods appropriate for each student's individual needs. If further support is required, students are sometimes taken out of agreed upon lessons to attend interventions. Interventions are run in small groups or in some cases on a 1:1 basis, most commonly for English and/or Maths support. Students that need help to engage in lessons are given in-class support from an allocated Teaching Assistant wherever possible.
My child is autistic. What can HBS provide?
Students with autism are assigned a Teaching Assistant to work with them 1:1 on a regular basis. Together with the student, the TA sets goals and develops targets based on the student's needs. The targets are broken up into manageable steps for the student to achieve. The TAs act as a point of contact for parents or guardians and help them to build social skills and self-advocacy. Your child's TA can help with anything ranging from anger management and frustration to building organisation skills. We also have a TA currently training to be an ELSA, who will then run Interventions designed to provide bespoke support to children and young people to develop their emotional well-being, emotional literacy skills, and resilience skills.
HBS also works extremely closely with SENSS at County to bring in Specialist ASD support if needed.
My child has a Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD), ie Dyslexia. What can HBS provide?
Students that have been diagnosed with an SpLD are provided with differentiated learning materials and Exam Access Arrangements. The Inclusion Faculty also provides coloured overlays and reading rulers for pupils, and laptops for those whose processing speed causes them to fall behind in lessons. All SEND students at KS4 are tested for Exam Access Arrangements to ensure that they achieve their true potential in their examinations and they can perform on a level playing field with their peers. Most commonly these arrangements consist of receiving extra time, a reader, a scribe or the use of a word processor.
What interventions does the school provide?
The school provides a wide range of interventions in several subjects from year 7 through to Year 11. In the lower years, the focus for interventions lies mainly in Literacy (English) and Numeracy (Maths). Aside from in-class support from TAs, the school offers Fresh Start interventions to increase phonic awareness and reading age for those who need it. Students that are in Fresh Start in Year 7 are withdrawn from mainstream English lessons to raise their attainment and help them access the KS3 curriculum. Fresh start is taught by SEND Teachers and literacy trained TAs. To increase numeracy abilities, HBS offers Third Space Learning, an online 1:1 Maths tutor lead programme that selected Year 7 students access during timetabled Maths lessons; lessons are tailored to students specific learning needs and help close knowledge gaps.
In Year 9 when GCSE options are chosen students on the SEND register are given the option to take part in Study Plus lessons in KS4, this enables them to focus on their chosen GCSE subjects in smaller bespoke groups where they receive pre and post teaching with specialist curriculum teachers. They can also complete homework in a supported environment and get the best possible results from their focused GCSE option choices.
How do I find out about my child's progress?
The easiest way to find out about your child's progress is to speak to their tutor, subject teachers or someone from the Inclusion Faculty. You can get in touch by phoning the school. To contact someone from the Inclusion Faculty directly, simply submit the Questions/Concerns Form on our contact page, after which someone will be in touch with you shortly.
We also run two SEND Review Days during each academic year, where students, parents and carer can meet face to face with staff from the Inclusion Faculty to discuss your child’s progress and set specific SEND targets for them to focus on during their academic studies. Details of these days will be published on the school website, and all students on the SEND Register and their parents or carers will get an invitation to attend.
My question isn't here...
If you have a question but cannot find it here, you can fill in the Questions/Concerns form on the SEND Contact page. Someone will be in touch with you shortly to answer your enquiry.