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Transition to Secondary School
Transition from Primary School to Secondary School
Transitioning from primary to secondary school is a landmark step in a child’s journey towards maturity and independence. In addition, moving from a smaller school, where everyone knows each other, to a larger environment in which children are taught by several different teachers and in several different rooms can also bring its challenges.
At Valley Invicta Primary School at Holborough Lakes, we believe that it is important to prepare children carefully for these changes, in order that they have the best chance of making a smooth and confident transition, by focusing both on the skill sets required and the opportunities that such a change presents. We start preparing the children in Year 5, they are encouraged to become much more self-reliant in their learning, to think about how to organise their learning and manage their time, learn how to research, to evaluate their work and to identify the next steps in their learning journey. This helps them to prepare for the greater demands for independent learning and juggling their time that secondary school requires.
In addition, children in Years 5 and 6 take on a variety of school monitor roles, helping with a range of tasks around the school, including School Councillors, Rights Respecting Ambassadors, Play Leaders and a whole host of other responsibilities. As well as making a valuable contribution to school life, these roles help the children to develop commitment, organisational skills and a sense of personal responsibility that will stand them in good stead for secondary school.
Spending time at secondary school ahead of transition
Experience of the secondary school environment is also very helpful. At various points throughout Years 5 and 6, children gain experience of local secondary schools as we participate in collaborative activities, enabling pupils to become more familiar with the physical surroundings, as well as meeting pupils and children from different schools within the Valley Invicta Academies Trust.
Transition information for parents
It is acknowledged that transition from primary school to secondary school may be just as big an event for parents as it is for children. Therefore, we invite parents to contact us for any information that they need.
PSHE work in school to support children through the transition process
Any period of transition can be emotionally unsettling and confusing, and transition from primary school to secondary is no different. On the one hand, children may feel that they are looking forward to new opportunities, or on the other may feel insecure at leaving a familiar environment; they may be looking forward to meeting new friends, or worried that they may lose touch with current ones. We explicitly recognise this and, in the summer term in particular, timetable regular PSHE sessions to voice and constructively address their mixed feelings. For example, we reflect on past experiences and look forward both to opportunities and challenges; we explore ways to make new friends and who they can speak to at their new school if they are worried about anything once they start.
What parents can do to help their children prepare
Secondary school undoubtedly places extra demands on children in terms of personal organisation, time management and a more complex journey to school. Experience shows that children who are well-prepared for these transition more successfully. Parents can play a key role in helping children to gain confidence in taking on these challenges in a progressive way. For example, throughout Year 6, children should be encouraged to take responsibility for organising their own school bags, PE kits and musical instruments. In addition, they could be encouraged to identify a regular time for completing home learning each week.
Closer to the time of transition, parents could explore bus timetables with their child and could try a dummy school run – perhaps allowing the child to board the bus independently and arranging to meet them at the other end.
Information sharing between Valley Invicta Primary School at Holborough Lakes and secondary schools
In order to ensure that children make a smooth academic transition from Valley Invicta Primary School at Holborough Lakes, to their chosen secondary school, and that new teachers are fully aware of each child’s strengths and capabilities, our Year 6 teacher fully briefs each school about each pupil. As a result, in addition to the sharing of SATS results, this affords a valuable opportunity to share teacher assessment data, as well as information about children’s sporting, artistic or musical interests.
For SEND children, our SENCo and Year 6 teacher may also hold additional meetings with the SENCo from the relevant secondary school. Furthermore, formal documentation of primary school SEN support arrangements for the child may be completed and passed over, where this is necessary.
Five key elements of a positive transition
Research by students at Oxford University found that there were five key elements - in the eyes of a child - which constitute a positive transition:
- They are able to develop new friendships, and improve their self-esteem and confidence
- They settle in to school life in a way that causes no concerns to their parents
- They show an increased interest in school and school work
- They get used to their new routines and school organisation with great ease
- They experience curriculum continuity
These may sound pretty basic, but there isn't a simple 'one size fits all' way to transition into a new environment. Every child is different: academically, emotionally and socially.
We understand the transfer to secondary school can be a daunting time for everyone and maybe even more so if your child has SEN. We will support you and your child by:
- Providing a transition programme, if needed, in conjunction with the child and Parents/Carers
- Providing information about the needs of your child to their transferring school through face to face meetings, paperwork, emails, etc
- Organising additional visits to the school if required
- Organising a Year 6 transition meeting for families
- Inviting the leader of SEND from the secondary schools to come into school to meet with the pupils, and Valley Invicta Primary School at Holborough Lakes SENCo.