There are now more pupils in one class than there were in their entire primary school but Caedmon College’s new intake haven’t looked back.
There are 120 year sevens this term who are the first intake at the merged former Caedmon School and Whitby Community College.
A month into the new term, the Whitby Gazette spoke to those directly affected by the biggest shake up education in the town has seen for decades.
While they admitted they were nervous about making the leap from the comfort of primary school to a college they added that they now felt more grown up, were enjoying more freedom and a different kind of learning.
Louis Nelson, who has moved up from Lythe School, said: “I did think about it when they were merging and what would happen and the effect it would have but I was more interested to see how it would happen.”
Annabel Scholey who was a pupil at West Cliff said: “It has been a lot better than I thought. I was quite worried about it before it merged and when it did I was scared there would be lots of bigger people from the college coming over but there are not that many and when we do see sixth formers they are really nice.”
At the moment year 7 and 8s are primarily based on the old Caedmon site (now called Scoresby) while year nines transfer between the two and the majority of sixth formers continue to be based at the Normanby site (formerly the college).
However, there is more sharing of resources as Scoresby has the benefit of astro-turf and sports facilities while there are new science labs at Normanby.
Molly Smith from Lythe said: “At primary school we were in the same classroom with the same four walls.
“We have got more lessons now and get to try new things for the first time.
“This week I cut a piece of plastic in Design and Technology. I was really happy, I had never done anything like that before.
“The most I had done at Lythe was cut a piece of card.
“Also, we are not being referred to as kids but more as students. It is not ‘be quiet children, it is be quiet class’.”
As the bell rings and the newcomers scurry off to their next lessons, some still checking the timetable as they go there is still some ‘behind the scenes’ work to be done .
Tony Hewitt, assistant headteacher, said the IT systems and website changes were still being put in place but the day to day running of the college was working well.
He said: “We did spend a year planning this and the experience for students seems really positive.
“But we have got to move forward, there will be challenges and challenges we would have had whatever the situaton. There is nothing we are not working on.”
He said there were benefits for staff as well as pupils. For example, where there was only one art teacher at the old Caedmon - there are now four.
And, teachers can work across the GCSE and A level spectrum to develop their own careers.
He added: “The big plus is that the transition has gone and there is not that end in year nine. I am up and down from the Normanby site every day .
“The head of year ten was head of year nine last year and that is something that wouldn’t have happened and even within a month you can see how much better that is.”