Generally the students are used to either boy-girl or alphabetical, some people combine the two - so if you want something different move away from this.
A simple twist is to take the boys A-->Z and the girls Z--> A.
* Seat by ability, you can either put the similar ability students
together or you can mix up the struggling with the higher ability.
* Seat by previous data (not necessarily the same as ability) put those flying
together, or mix up as above.
* Completely random - have a classroom plan, seat the students as they come
in, or get them to line up and seat them - make sure you write this down.
* Have a seating plan on the board - get students to pick 1 person to sit next
to (I use this more with 6th form)
* Let them chose where they sit - personally I avoid this like the plague!
There is nothing more obvious to the students that they rule the room than
choosing their own seat
* If you have behaviour data and pupil premium data you could use this to seat
Always make sure you are taking into account SEN data and information, be prepared to change the seating plan on meeting the class or getting information from form tutor - you may have inadvertently put students together who are not allowed to sit together.
If you have the time before you see the class I would run the seating plan past someone else in the dept who has taught the students before (I know you can't with yr7) but you will often get a "shhheeezzz.... don't put them
together" or "those 2 work well together!" which will alter your seating plan.
Lastly try to have an isolation space if you can, it is often the first step in a behaviour policy to move seats and this is not always possible if you don't have a space, without moving a good student too.