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Transition from primary to secondary school

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Elements of a successful transition

A research report on what makes a successful transition from primary to secondary school explains that analysis of data revealed that a successful transition involves pupils:

  • Developing new friendships and improving self-esteem and confidence
  • Having settled in so well to school life that they cause no concerns to their parents
  • Showing an increasing interest in school and school work
  • Getting used to their new routines and school organisation with ease
  • Experiencing curriculum continuity

It notes: "Children who felt they had a lot of help from their secondary school to settle in were more likely to have a successful transition. This included help with getting to know their way around the school, relaxing rules in the early weeks, procedures to help pupils adapt, visits to schools, induction and taster days, and booklets."

The report was published in 2008 by Department for Children, Schools and Families, now the Department for Education (DfE), and is now available from the National Archives.

Primary school strategies: Taster days, events and information for parents

Malcolm Sargent Primary School in Lincolnshire explains on its website that to ensure a smooth transition from year 6 to year 7, the school:

  • Organises taster days
  • Puts on joint events with local secondary schools throughout the year
  • Invites local secondary schools to the school for an evening in the autumn term to tell parents about options for secondary school

The school's website also features a presentation for parents about applying for secondary school places, and what the local secondary schools are like.

Secondary school strategies: Transition programme

Roding Valley High School in Essex runs a transition programme for year 6 pupils who have been given a place at the school. The programme includes:

  • Communication between each pupil's year 6 class teacher and the school, including about key assessment information and the pupil's strengths, interests and motivations
  • Taster days for pupils that enable them to meet their new tutor group, other pupils and staff
  • Information evenings for parents of pupils joining the school
  • Individual meetings between parents of new pupils and members of senior staff

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