Nah - do the fun stuff first! There is no reason why you have to follow what the school did before. My personal view is that a Carol service should traditionaly be in a church - In every school I have worked at I have done the carol service/concert in the local parish church and they have been grateful to have us. I have had the local incumbent do a bidding prayer or blessing or talk (that did backfire once as he took the opportunity to preach hell fire - so do insist that any message needs to be appropriate). I invite the WHOLE OF YEAR 7 to the event and we use four lessons to prepare. I give them two items to sing in easy parts then split each class in two. If you can pursuade colleages to let them out of class you might get the whole year group in the hall for 20 minutes to put it together a few days before hand. By getting the whole of Year 7 you do two things - fill the venue with parents and give some of the Year 7 a taste for performance. You might even feed a choir this way - I do. I have congregational carols which I teach to Year 7 and to my choir. My orchestra play the carols however if you have not got one and you do go to church try to get the organist to play for you. I have various other little solos etc and I end with a big ensemble number such as "I don't want a lot for Christmas" On the day I spend the morning preparing. You DO need support staff to walk them down the church and permission slips from everyone involved to get them out of school. I admit the Hall is easier BUT the chuch is more special. But this is just my opinion - what works in one school could be a disaster in another so . . . I STRONGLY SUGGEST THAT YOU GET A FEEL FOR THE SCHOOL BEFORE MAKING HARD PLANS and that you CONSULT YOUR LINE MANAGER. A first step might be to find the local parish church. Oh . . . and don't forget to plan and resource at least two units of work for each year group before you start in September and understand what the school will expect in terms of assessment and reporting. And make sure you have your KS4 course planned out from start to finish, making sure you plan in time for coursework, recordings and revision - you shoudl do a week by week plan for this just outlining what you will teach and when so you don't rush things at the end. And GOOD LUCK and HAVE FUN.