New Transitus settle fast at 'warm and welcoming' UCS

Our new Transitus pupils clock a significant milestone today as they enter their second month at Frognal.

UCS Sixth Form welcomed 61 newcomers this term, whose debut month was bookended by an induction day for pupils and an induction evening for parents. Now October dawns, and according to two of the September starters, Thalia Kermisch and Maya Selby, the past four weeks have confirmed that UCS is the school they envisaged when applying to join.

In short, it does what it says on the tin – beginning, for Maya, with its sense of community. “It was one of the main aspects that made me want to attend UCS,” she explains. “The student-teacher relationships … the school and the year groups are all bonded in such a unique way.”

The “warm and welcoming” community Maya has encountered attest UCS’s ambition to be a kind and pupil-centric school. She has also “enjoyed all the smaller communities” within the larger one, which include Forms, Demes, Music, Sport, Drama, clubs and societies.

“Form time is a particularly special time,” she adds, “and helps to start the day in a relaxing way. We have done mindfulness activities and organisation techniques and this has been really helpful. It’s also great to see the same group of people each morning before lessons.”

It was the UCS ethos, meanwhile – the “liberal atmosphere” – that brought Thalia here and she already appreciates how “I don’t need to be the best at everything – just to do what is right for me and work hard enough to reach that place”. She also noticed “from the very first day how kind and warm the teachers are and the feeling of mutual support in every classroom.”

Strong relationships are no accident. A first induction day for new Transitus took place in June, offering the chance to meet future Deme mates and build relationships during outdoor games.

Since the second induction, held on 2nd September, the newcomers have benefited from the encouragement of Form Tutors, Deme Wardens, Heads of Year, Subject Teachers and also a buddy system in which a Sixth pupil provides an extra layer of advice and assistance, starting before term begins. “I feel with every staff member that I can go to them for help,” says Maya.

Also hastening the settling-in process for pupils is the positive atmosphere pervading the Sixth Form Centre, socially and academically. “Having small classes, paired with the incredible student-teacher relationships, creates a welcoming and exciting work environment. The laughter, smiles and motivation all lead to a hard work ethic,” says Maya.

Thalia adds: “Our teachers genuinely enjoy their job – they seem to care about our individual progress and value what we bring to a classroom. I think this is so special and so rare.”

And how would each student describe their first month at UCS? For Thalia, “exciting, uplifting, a change, supportive and freeing”, while Maya calls the experience “motivating, colourful, stimulating, welcoming and inspirational”. Yes, we’ll take that.

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