'It's not as scary as you think' - The first pupils to be welcomed into Forest School in Horsham since it became co-educational are loving school life

The first pupils to be welcomed into Forest School in Horsham since it became a mixed school have a message for students contemplating the move to secondary education in September - 'It’s not as scary as you think'.

There are just 27 girls in the first Year 7 intake, but 100 more will be joining them this autumn.

And they told the West Sussex County Times, they are loving school life.

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Effy Lyons admitted she was nervous when she found out she would be attending Forest and thought it would be difficult to make friends. But she was ecstatic to discover that her experience was quite the opposite.

The first pupils to be welcomed into Forest School in Horsham since it became a mixed school have a message for students contemplating the move to secondary education in September - 'It’s not as scary as you think'. All photos contributed

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Effy said: “I was a bit nervous at the start because I was like, ‘oh my God there’s going to be so many older boys here’.

“But to be honest they are actually quite nice. They aren’t scary!

“I thought that being able to make friends would be a lot harder. I barely knew anyone here but all of the people that I’ve met are really nice and it was easy to make friends with loads of other people here.

From left to right: Effy Lyons, Josh Thorn, Eliah Page and Warwick Hart

“You don’t need to be scared. It’s not as scary as you think.”

Josh Thorn thought Forest was just going to be like any other school but he was pleased to be proved wrong, especially by the standard of teaching.

Josh said: “I thought it was going to be like another school but it’s engaging. The teachers want to help you learn.

“They want you to up your game but they’re not going to force you to. They’re going to encourage you and push you in the right direction.

“[I like it because] it makes me feel like I’m not average at things. They want me to do more work because that’s what they expect.”

Eliah Page, who attended a mixed primary school, said it meant a lot to be part of the ‘Forest family’, and was delighted that the school had exceeded her expectations.

She said: “It means a lot [to feel part of the Forest family] because it doesn’t feel like a school. We’re all supporting each other. It really does help that it feels like a family.

“I do feel that teachers are really supportive, along with the students. They’ve been a big help by being nice and [I’ve made] very good friends.”

“I thought Forest was going to be really big and scary but it’s gone above my expectations. Everybody is super nice, lessons are fun and all the teachers are supportive. That made my fears die down.”

Warwick Hart was also quick to reassure new starters that they had nothing to fear from going into secondary school.

He said: “First days are always scary. Even if you know people here, it’s still quite daunting seeing all the older kids coming in.

“It’s scary the first couple of days but you make loads of new friends and I guess understand the school a bit better.

“I was worried about getting lost but now I know the school like the back of my hand and it’s so easy to navigate.”

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