Moving up to ‘big school’ can be a daunting time in children’s lives, and researching our article on best practice in transition made me realise how important it is for primary and secondary schools to work together to get it right. Luckily, there is some really useful research from the DCSF that pinpoints which aspects to focus on when planning a transition programme. The study identifies the core elements of a successful transition, including curriculum continuity and improving pupil’s self-esteem and confidence.
A report on transition in Wales published by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) has case studies describing how schools worked to familiarise pupils with their new surroundings and teachers. I was also really pleased to find some great examples of this from Seaton Burn College in North Tyneside, which runs activities for primary pupils from Key Stage 1 upwards, and Ernest Bevin College in Wandsworth, which operates a two-week summer school for year 6 pupils involving various team-building activities.
I also found that a number of schools only have year 7 pupils in school on the first day of term. I would certainly have appreciated this back in September 2001, when I made my way to secondary school for the first time with a tortoise-like backpack, tie knotted by my mum, and a feeling of impending doom …
For a more uplifting point of view, members of The Key for School Leaders can read our article on best practice in transition and find out how other schools handle the move from primary to secondary.