Prenton’s Guide to moving from primary to secondary school – we’re here to help!

If you are a Year 6 pupil, or the parent or carer of a Year 6 pupil, this is the time when a decision has to be made on which secondary school is best for you. We understand that making this choice can be a difficult one, often causing anxiety and concern, so we have put together a guide with frequently asked questions to offer advice and information. We hope it helps you to make the process less stressful and enables you to make an informed choice of secondary school for your daughter. You are welcome to visit our school at anytime – just call the school office on 0151 644 8113 to make an appointment. We look forward to seeing you soon.

1. Why should I send my daughter to an all-girls’ school?

Research undertaken by the Good Schools Guide found that girls do better in all-girls’ schools. Some mixed comprehensive schools have even divided pupils into boy/girl classes as a result of this research. At Prenton we revel in the students’ enthusiasm and we are able to focus their energies in an environment with fewer distractions.

2. Will my daughter be happy?

We firmly believe that students learn and develop best when they are happy; by putting the needs of students first we ensure that a positive environment is created where your daughter will thrive.

3. Will my daughter be safe?

Safety is absolutely paramount in all that we do. We are a secure and safe school and students are unable leave the premises during the school day. We take the safeguarding of all students very seriously and ensure that whether in school, or on activities out of school,  safety of students is never compromised. In addition, students are encouraged to learn to take responsibility for their own health, safety and well-being.

4. Will my daughter settle in?

Our Student Services team was identified by Ofsted as providing care and support for students of the highest standard and we provide an environment and atmosphere where students feel safe. Each form is allocated between four and five peer mentors who are two years older. Students meet the peer mentors on their induction day and throughout Year 7 helping to resolve any initial problems that may occur. These fully trained peer mentors also work closely with our dedicated team of Learning Mentors who are allocated to each House, through our House system. Our Head Girl, Deputy Head Girl and senior prefects are available at lunchtimes in our new studio area, where students can drop in to discuss any friendship issues they may have.  Our Year 11 girls offer advice and support.  No girl is forgotten about and at Prenton we are small enough to know and care for each individual, working hard to address any issues quickly and effectively. If you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us at school.

5. Will my daughter make progress?

We monitor closely the progress of all students from their very first day.  Every year group has a progress leader who monitors the progress and achievements of every one of our students.  The progress leaders remain with their year group as they progress through school.

Challenging individual targets are set and progress towards these targets is monitored closely. We will report to parents five time a year in a range of ways, including: progress updates, a formal written report and a parents’ evening.

6. Is there bullying at the school?

Our entire teaching staff, the Student Services team and members of staff throughout the school are primed to identify any areas of concern and to act quickly. Indeed, Ofsted made particular reference to the high standard of care and commented that students were part of a safe and nurturing environment. Alongside the support given through the House system, any issues are dealt with swiftly and promptly and students are confident that they will receive every support possible. Our students themselves tell us they feel safe and cared for. Students are encouraged to report any incident of bullying; all reported cases are dealt with swiftly and appropriately.

7. What opportunities does Prenton offer my daughter?

Firstly, a sound academic grounding. Our results have consistently improved for the last eight years and this year 85% of students achieved 5 A* – C GCSE grades and 66.4% achieved 5 A*- C including English and Maths.  In Maths, 74% of students achieved A*-C and in English, 75.5% achieved A*-C. Regularly, almost 90% of our students progress to Higher and Further Education. For a school that is non-selective, these are excellent results. We offer more subjects for the most able and tailor the offer at GCSE to the needs of the students in our care. We believe that if they enjoy their subjects, they clearly do well. The wide choice of extra-curricular sports is one of our many strengths -netball, cricket, football, basketball, and volleyball to name but a few. For example, we are Wirral champions for cricket. In robotics, our Robocup teams have been national champions and represented the UK on the World stage in the USA, China, Austria, Singapore, Turkey and Holland. Recently students have had the opportunity to enjoy trips to the Battlefields in France and Flanders, skiing in Italy, learning about the culture and language in France and Spain and our biennial water sport trip to Spain. In addition, we take a party of students to Auschwitz, Poland each year.

8. What extra-curricular activities are open to my daughter?

As the answer to the previous question indicates, we are proud of the extensive range of activities we provide for all our girls. Every student is given a booklet listing all the activities that are on offer throughout the year.  Our lunchtimes are crammed full of activities with students wanting to participate and take advantage of the very many opportunities available. These range from participation in the school’s Gardening club, the Boccia (a seated, all inclusive team game similar to Boules) club, the school choirs right through to a whole host of sports. There is an activity and role for every student at Prenton – and every club and activity is supported by teachers, teaching assistants and mentors. We compete annually in the national Robotics Championships having won both at national and international level in previous years.  We actively support nationally recognised ‘Into Film’ which has seen a number of our students attending film premieres in London, interviewing some of the leading actors and actresses.

9. My daughter is academic – will she be challenged?

Results have continuously improved for the last eight years. In 2015, 85% of students gained 5 A* – C grades, with 66.4% attaining 5 A* – C grades including English and Maths. Staff work closely with all students in order to recognise their strengths and support them to achieve at the highest level. Homework is set regularly and checked. There is a Homework club each evening in the Learning Resource Base, with two Teaching Assistants and the LRB Manager on hand to provide guidance. We carefully and regularly assess, monitor and track our girls to ensure that they are meeting their challenging targets and we employ a whole raft of intervention strategies in order to ensure that they fulfil their true potential. We identify students who require a higher challenge and we set study and course work accordingly to ensure that students are challenged and stimulated according to their ability. We are moving forward with enthusiasm to meet the needs of the English Baccalaureate qualification. Almost 90% of our students go on to higher and further education having completed their GCSEs – many of whom remain in contact with the school, updating us with their progress. We are introducing an additional programme for academically able students in Year 7 to run alongside their curriculum provision. Opportunities will include Latin classes delivered by University of Liverpool, master classes and a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) focus.

10. My daughter sometimes struggles academically – will she receive support?

Prenton High values every student. It is not just a claim but a reality that every child matters to us. We value the achievements of each of them. We do not just acknowledge academic excellence but also girls that have achieved their potential. On Awards evening there are categories for effort and special prizes for students achieving their best despite adversity. As an all inclusive community, we value all of our girls. We cater for individual student needs and will work closely with you to ensure that your daughter achieves her full potential.

11. Will my daughter like school dinners at Prenton?

Healthy eating helps concentration in lessons. We hold a certificate to say that we are a Healthy School, meaning that we encourage exercise and healthy eating through the curriculum. Our caterers, Chartwells, provide varied and well-balanced menus. The student-led School Council has had tasting sessions and said what they have liked and disliked – they were even involved in the banning of crisps! Friday is always ‘home-made fish and chips’ day but on other days it can be as varied as curry, pasta bake etc with Eton Mess a popular dessert. A fresh fruit and salad bar is available every day, again at the request of our School Council. We also cater for a range of dietary requirements e.g. gluten-free, halal, vegan and vegetarian.

12. My daughter is sporty – what opportunities are open to her?

Prenton students are involved in a wide range of sports that suit all abilities – see the answer to questions 7 and 8 above.

13. My daughter loves music, drama and performing arts – is that something Prenton provides?

Every year we hold a carol concert for the public and in the summer there is a school musical production. Recent productions include Disney Classics, The Little Shop of Horrors, Return to the Forbidden Planet as well as Grease. And there are also regular drama lessons and mini-productions. In years 7 and 8 girls study Performing Arts as part of their curriculum focusing on Drama, Dance and Music. Students have peripatetic lessons for musical instruments at Prenton and they also have the opportunity to perform at various school events, external events such as at the Lady Lever Art Gallery, and Award evenings.

14. My daughter loves reading – are there plenty of books in school for her to read?

In addition to a wide selection of books available from the English department, the Learning Resource Base is a popular area for students to both read and study. It includes a well-funded and stocked library with a wide range of books suitable for all reading abilities and tastes. Each year, a number of students accompany the LRB Manager Mr Taylor, his assistant Mrs Haynes, and a member of the English Department to Waterstones in Liverpool to select a range of new books for the library, ensuring that many of the books on the shelves are selected by their peers.  In September 2014, a selection of e-books became available for students.

15. Are there any buses to Prenton?

There are no dedicated school services, however Prenton High School is on a number of routes in addition to the 659 school bus – 418/419 Mill Park – Birkenhead, 464 New Ferry – Liverpool, 487 Neston – Liverpool, 38 West Kirby – Bebington, and 17 Moreton Cross – Clatterbridge are some examples. To learn about eligibility for a free bus pass, the number to call is 0151 606 2020.  For further information, visit www.merseytravel.gov.uk.

16. I pay for breakfast club at my daughter’s primary school; does Prenton have a breakfast club?

Prenton High School provides FREE breakfast for students from 8am – 8.40am and this is subsidised by the school and costs the students nothing. They can have toast, tea, coffee, hot chocolate or juice. Students can purchse additional items from our Dining Hall. We believe that busy parents may need this support and a breakfast at school is a good start to the day for our girls.

17. What time does school open and what time does school close each day?

School opens at 8.00am and finishes at 3.30pm. Homework club starts at 3.30pm and finishes at 4.30pm; there are other activities that can finish beyond 4.30pm – for example sports’ practise and competitions and Into Film, our weekly film evening. School Day , Clubs & Activities

18. Is my daughter able to stay in school until 4.30pm?

Yes, if she’s involved in any activity that requires her to stay longer (see previous question). Otherwise, students leave school at the end of the school day at 3.30pm. Clubs & Activities

19. What lunchtime activities are there at Prenton?

At Prenton we have a full hour to have lunch and to participate in a range of activities. Students can go to the Learning Resource Base to study, make use of the active playground, join games clubs, robocup teams, netball, trampolining, Mathletics, revision clubs, Into Film, coursework support, boccia, cricket, tag rugby, football, Orchestra, Samba Band, Ukulele Orchestra, Junior Choir, Senior Voices and Big Sing – to name but a few! For further detail, see the Extra-Curricular section on our website.

20. Will my daughter be prepared for Post 16 opportunities?

We work closely with Further Education Colleges and Schools to offer guidance and a range of impartial advice. Colleges deliver assemblies and offer drop-in support. All students receive careers guidance from as early as Year 8, including individual support at Key Stage 4.