Campbell College one week in

Campbell is a massive school with a number of quite large buildings, a fair number of smaller ones plus assorted sports fields dotted around an enclosed estate of around 100 acres. Or, in short, it’s a massive place for an 11 or 12 to get used to.

As a consequence of that, they have a whole day of familiarisation for the new starts the day before the rest of the school starts back. In theory, that gets them to know where all their classes are but in practice they all seem to have forgotten by the next day. That combined with the school ethos of always doing your best, has led to some tears with some of the kids who find that they haven’t a clue where to go first thing in the morning as they get quite worked up about being late. It’s fine after that because in the first year, the class is just that as all of those in each of the classes go round in a group for the whole year so if one kid knows where to go, they’re fine. Older kids would realise that the teachers will be very forgiving in the first few weeks and they’re not surprised about a few stragglers who’ve gotten lost, but at 11 or 12 it is, of course, a different matter. Courtesy of the two week timetable, it’ll be next Wednesday before they’ve been to all the classes at least once.

Homeworks have, so far, been very easy going affairs ranging from hunting out medieval images for history through to writing out a short critique of a book for English. There’s very much a concentration on English and maths in the timetable with both subjects on nearly every day whilst the other subjects seem generally more like two or three times over the course of the two week timetable (mind you, that’s just my impression as I’ve not got his timetable in front of me).

There is a choice of several after school activities every weekday though they don’t seem to have started yet. That’s understandable as I don’t think the first year people could cope with any more at the moment. Possibles for our little guy include the languages club, fencing, reading club, young enterprise club and perhaps drama. Basically they’ve a mix of sporty things and academic things. On Saturday mornings, there are rugby and hockey with swimming on Saturday and Sunday though he’s ruled out anything that involves getting up early at the weekend.

Other firsts seem to be in the process of being overcome, with the ties getting a touch neater as the week has progressed and the shoes will have been tied a little faster too. Writing with a pen most of the time is something that our little guy has adjusted to really fast – his writing was so neat the other day that I thought someone else had done it. We’ve still not quite a full set of gear for him though I think the main thing remaining is the white sports socks with the mouth guard being measured up for yesterday.

We’ve not quite got properly into our two school routine yet though that’s mainly down to the heap of road works that are ongoing at the moment along seemingly every road. Surprisingly, James being a touch late means that John is a touch late too – we’d expected that John would always be early so long as James was more or less on time. Picking him up is more of a rush than we’d expected too as it can take almost 30 minutes to get between the two schools rather than the 15 or so that we’d expected. Mind you, that doesn’t matter a whole lot as the traffic jam in Campbell is something else sometimes (so far, Friday has been by far the worst day taking 40 minutes to clear last week!).

One major change for us is that his class is tiny so it’s a lot easier to have a chat with his teacher than it has ever been. It’s a big change for him too as there’s no more hiding at the back of the class and I imagine that the level of participation is a good deal higher which can only be for the good.

Overall, it still seems like it was the right choice for him.

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