King Richard School is no longer scary for these children

TASTER From left, Luke Rampton, Loren Varndell, Millie Arnell, head of science Donna Mitchell and George Carnell.   Picture: Steve Reid
TASTER From left, Luke Rampton, Loren Varndell, Millie Arnell, head of science Donna Mitchell and George Carnell. Picture: Steve Reid

THIS WEEK IN 1993: Nursery school for all three-year-olds

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FOR youngsters there are few things more terrifying than making the leap from primary to secondary school.

But not in Paulsgrove, thanks to a pioneering scheme at King Richard School which for the past three weeks has opened its doors to more than 100 primary schoolchildren due to join in September.

Year six boys and girls from Paulsgrove, Portsdown, Victory, Medina and St Paul’s primaries have been enjoying life at their future secondary school in every possible aspect – from the curriculum to socialising.

The experience has been so positive, they can’t wait to return after the summer break.

Loren Varndell, 11, a pupil at Paulsgrove Primary, said: ‘I was scared before I came up because I didn’t know what to expect from lessons. I imagined the teachers would be strict.

‘But everyone is friendly. I feel a lot calmer now and I’m looking forward to coming up in September.’

Luke Rampton, 11, also at Paulsgrove, said: ‘Everything from lessons to eating lunch is done differently.

‘I’m glad I had the opportunity to get my head around it all so that I won’t be wasting any time in September and can get on with work.

‘I’ve enjoyed the range of subjects at King Richard School, and especially dance which I’ve never done before and science where we use Bunsen burners and other equipment we don’t have at primary school.’

George Carnell, 11, who goes to St Paul’s Catholic Primary, said: ‘The first thing that struck me was how huge this school was compared with what I’m used to.

‘Then I had to adjust from being the oldest in school to the youngest. It was difficult at first, but over the weeks I’ve grown in confidence. September will be fun.’

For years, secondary schools in the city have put aside one day in July to host their feeder primary schoolchildren.

But Rhona Stokes, King Richard’s transition manager, with 25 years’ experience in primary education, didn’t think that was enough.

She said: ‘Youngsters tend to lose their focus after Key Stage Two exams, which means a drop in performance that takes half a term to adjust to with the added nerves and apprehension.

‘This scheme has been an overwhelming success.

‘I’m confident our new year sevens will hit the ground running.’