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Your first day in the biggest school in Ireland | Belonging Plus

Everyone remembers their first day. For some it is a positive, exciting experience, for others it can be little daunting, a big adjustment. We have just finished working on the 2013/2014 edition of the Belonging Plus workbook for the first year students in Gorey Community School in Wexford. Gorey CS is the largest school in the country, with well over 1,000 pupils. The staff working at the school recognise that new first years can be intimidated by such a huge change. Every parent knows that the adjustment from primary to secondary school is a big step in their child's education and Gorey CS aims to make this transition as easy as possible. The staff have worked with the National Behaviour Support Service (NBSS) to develop and deliver a programme tailored to their incoming students.

4Schools.ie got involved with the project last year when the school approached us about designing and printing the materials for the Belonging Plus programme. We were very excited about the project and worked closely with the staff in the school to get the balance right. This year we worked with the school again, adding more content and streamlining the design of the booklets until everyone was pleased with the results.

The booklet, a full-colour production, is personalised with the school's name and crest. The bright, colourful cover has space for the pupil to write their name and their class group. Inside, the content is broken down into modules which address some of the main challenges of starting secondary school. The individual and group-based activities offer new pupils a solid introduction to life at Gorey CS. Working in class groups, the booklets set the students up with the school-specific information they need (lockers, staff lists, etc.) but also cover the basics of being a teenager, like making new friends, diet, exercise and how to deal with bullying.

We also produced a poster for the school to re inforce a key point from one of the modules in the booklet. The poster reminds students about the work they have done on making choices and offers them a framework to consider the outcomes, positive and negative, of any choice they will make.

"The Belonging Plus Programme dramaticlaly reduces anxiety and behavioural issues for incoming first years."

- Nuala Dunne, Belonging Plus Co-Ordinator, Gorey Community School

Belonging Plus Behaviour For Learning

Belonging Plus Gorey Community School

Belonging Plus Talk About Primary School

Belonging Plus Choices Posters