We are delighted to welcome students back to Siena, and to see and hear their excitement as they reconnected with one another. I also take this opportunity to welcome all our new families to our Siena community. We are committed to providing opportunities for all students to make connections and feel connected, especially after the last two interrupted years. Connections make us feel a part of something, part of a community, so, it is with our students. Some may have lost confidence and may require extra support and opportunities for connection. Our teachers are providing opportunities for students to work in different groups, pair up with new students and build positive relationships in all their classes. We also have a number of clubs for students to join, as well as GSV sport and music ensembles.
Starting a new year, starting at a new school or starting secondary school are all transitions that require new skills and a positive mind set. Dr Michael Carr-Gregg puts it like this: "All transitions are an invitation to grow." On Tuesday, 1 February, we had the pleasure of welcoming Michael to Siena where he addressed our Year 7 parents on ways in which parents can support their children with these rites of passage. We are very grateful towards him for allowing us to record his presentation which can be found on Siena Central.
Starting Year 7 poses many new challenges, but also offers exciting opportunities. It can come with a number of mixed feelings. Unfortunately for these students, 2020 and 2021 were marred with school closures and remote learning due to the pandemic. The overall impact of this is still unknown, but we do know that students need our support more than ever.
During this time of transition, parents and guardians need to be supportive, but also realistic in their expectations. This is an important milestone in your child’s life. There will be feelings of exhilaration, but also the fear of the unknown. Therefore, it will be important for parents and carers to be vigilant in monitoring their child’s mood and mental health during this time. They may become overly anxious and upset. You may also wish to share your concerns with your daughter’s House Group Teacher, Head of House or the College Counsellors. Our counsellors can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are a number of strategies offered that can make this transition period smoother and start things off on the right foot! We hope you take time to reflect on the information offered in this Special Report.
There are many provisions in place at Siena to support you and your daughter at any time of the year. The Heads of House are a great point of contact as they can assist with a range of issues or concerns that may arise.
The counselling service at Siena aims to support students, families and College staff to create a successful and enjoyable learning environment, where young people can learn to manage their own wellbeing. The counsellors work to support students’ mental health concerns in a confidential and respectful way while striving to develop personal insight, problem solving skills, greater self esteem and stronger relationships. Additionally, the counsellors take on a broader pastoral care role within the school to support the wellbeing of the full student cohort. A systemic approach underpins the counselling interventions with a focus on strengths and change, rather than on diagnosis and pathology.
Today, parents face a multitude of modern day challenges in raising happy, well and resilient young people. Whilst there is a great deal of information available, this can often be confusing and overwhelming for parents looking for guidance.
SchoolTV addresses this as an online resource designed to empower you as parents, with credible and sound information with realistic, practical and ongoing support strategies. An excellent feature of SchoolTV is that it is available in your own time when you need to access it. Evidence based recommendations and strategies are provided by specialists who practice in the field.
I invite all parents to explore this resource which can be accessed here.