Frequently Asked Questions
In this section, we have attempted to answer any questions you may have about our Academy. There may be some points that we have not covered here, so if you would like to ask us a question, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What time should you arrive at school?
Staff are at the main gates to welcome you every day from 7:45am. We like all students to be in the playground ready for the tutor group line up at 08:25am. Try to make sure you arrive on time, every single day. If necessary, set your alarm for an earlier time, or get an earlier bus/train to make sure that you arrive on time.
What is a Learning Hub?
We have four learning hubs at HGA - Active Science, Creative Voice, Enterprise and World Studies. Each hub has an Assistant Principal and a Behaviour for Learning Leader (BfLL).
Each tutor group also has a Form Tutor who will see you each morning, and check that you have everything you need for the school day ahead. Our learning hubs are designed to bring learning and student pastoral care (including behaviour) into the one system, rather than having different staff responsible for separate aspects of a student’s experience.
Students join their Hub in Year 7 and each one contains pupils from every year group of our secondary phase. All students have access to the same curriculum, regardless of which hub they belong to. Healthy competition between hubs also encourages teamwork, with students vying to see who can collect the most points at the end of each term.
Each hub is led by an Assistant Principal supported by a learning innovation leader and behaviour for learning leader – with all staff working closely together to make sure every student receives the best support possible.
What if you get lost?
Getting around the school is really easy. We are all in one building! All the classrooms start with a letter or number. GO are classrooms on the ground floor, e.g. GO2. Room numbers starting with 1 are on the first floor, e.g. 101. Room numbers starting with 2 are on the second floor, e.g. 201. But don’t worry! There are lots of friendly teachers and students on site who are able to help you to find your way around. Just ask someone, and they will show you the way to your classroom.
What if you are not in the same class as your friends?
There is a possibility that you won't be in the same tutor group as your primary school friends, but please do not worry. You can always catch up with your friends at break times and lunch times, and perhaps you will be in the same subject set as them, for example in PE and DT lessons. We would always encourage you to make lots of new friends at school. Lots of students feel shy and perhaps even worried about this – so strike up a conversation with someone new and see how it goes.
What if you don't understand the work?
The teachers at HGA are more than happy to help you if you need extra support with your learning. All you have to do is ask! You can ask your subject teacher, your tutor, your BFLL, the Librarian or any other member of staff. It is really important that you speak to a member of staff as soon as you are finding things tricky, so that you get the help you need early on. We will also run after school homework clubs, so you can always pop in for a helping hand.
What is the food like?
Chartwells are our caterers and they provide a range of hot and cold foods during the course of the day. There are a range of foods available including sandwiches, pizzas, desserts and salads. You will be able to get a full meal with a drink every day.
The restaurant caters for all dietary requirements and the staff are happy to guide you to the correct foods if you have specific requirements. The canteen is open at break, lunch and before school. Some students prefer to bring a packed lunch instead. Just remember to keep your lunch healthy, and remember that energy drinks and chewing gum are banned items. You should also familiarise yourself with our Canteen Manners so that the canteen remains an enjoyable and pleasant space for everyone.
What are the main differences between Primary and Secondary school?
The biggest difference between primary and secondary school is that you will have a lot of different teachers during the course of the day. You will also move around the building to lots of different classrooms. Some classrooms such as Food Technology, Design Technology or our Science labs have specialist equipment that you will learn to use under the supervision of your expert teacher. In secondary school, each teacher is a specialist in their subject. This means they are able to teach you in depth and insightful information about each topic in their subject. You will also have a 'form tutor' who you will see every morning. They will check your equipment and lead Harris News and DEAR activities.
How do students travel to and from school?
In Secondary school, students travel to and from school in a variety of ways. Some students travel with an adult. Some students travel with their older brothers, sisters or cousins. Some students walk to school on their own, and perhaps meet their friends along the way. Some students cycle to school and store their bikes in our bicycle store (if you cycle to school remember to bring your own bicycle lock).
During the first few weeks, year 7 students may travel with an adult until they get used to their journey. If you are traveling to and from school alone, practice the journey during the holidays with an adult so that you are confident about your travel route and timings.
Whatever way you choose to travel to and from school, please make sure that you are safe and that your parents/carers are aware of your travel routes.
We expect our students to display the highest standards of behaviour when travelling to and from school. When you wear the Harris Garrard Academy uniform, you are representing the Academy in the community. Wear the HGA uniform with pride, and always display positive behaviour that your teachers and parents can be proud of.
How much homework do students have?
Homework is a really important part of education. It allows students to extend their learning beyond the classrooms, revise and practice new skills, and develop independent study routines. Students should generally spend the following amount of time completing their homework each evening:
- Year 7, 8 and 9 - between 30 minutes and one hour
- Years 10 and 11 - between one and two hours
- Years 12 and 13 - minimum of two hours
We recommend that you complete your homework in a quiet place, with minimal distractions. This will help you to focus and do your absolute best. Students can also complete work in the Academy library. You will be able to keep up with your homework tasks by using our Show My Homework Portal. This will enable you to track your assignments and hand them in online. Parents will also be able to view our progress.
Can students play at break and lunchtimes?
Yes! Although your break times and lunchtimes may be shorter than they were in primary school, you will still have a lot of time to eat, catch up with your friends and play. You are able to access the canteen, library and playground during break and lunchtimes. We encourage all students to use the playground to access some outdoor time. This is great for your wellbeing and breaks up the school day. Playground sports activities include table tennis, basketball and football. If you are lucky - Mr West may even join you for a football game! You are able to bring your trainers and football boots to school and wear them during break and lunchtime…BUT you must change back into your school shoes before you enter the school building and return to your lessons.
More information about our secondary school can be found HERE.