TRANSITION FROM PRIMARY TO SECONDARY SCHOOL MANAGING THE PROCESS.
IS TRANSITION FROM PRIMARY TO SECONDARY SCHOOLS A PROBLEM? (The context) For most young people, transition from primary to secondary schools is a manageable experience. (84% according to EPPASE 3-14 project study) 16% feel ill prepared for secondary school, however, only 3% felt this way after the term had started. (EPPASE 3-14 project study) Sometimes, the children that pose few or no problems in primary schools have difficulty with transition.
The context There is a marked increase in both permanent & fixed term exclusions from year 6 to year 7 in Wales e.g. 06-07 number of permanent exclusions in year 6=8, number of permanent exclusions in year 7=22. Number of fixed term exclusions in year 6=528, number of fixed term exclusions in year 7=731. However, exclusions do tend to rise every year until year 11 when there is a reduction in rates. The biggest rise in exclusion rates happen at transition from primary to secondary.
The context There is an acknowledgement that too many children still find the transition from primary to secondary school-some fall back in their learning as a result (DFES 2004- 5 year strategy for learners) Historical perspectives on transition do not help in the process. Parental expectations, values, experiences, anxieties all have an impact. Sometimes, unnecessary heightened anxieties and processes make transition more difficult for the children.
Some Factors That Influence Adjustment To Secondary School Environmental- The schools, Socioeconomic status, Number of concurrent life events, Support infrastructure, (family, teacher, friends) Individual- Race Gender Maturity Academic ability Health Disability
The differences between primary school and secondary school THE PRIMARY SCHOOL THE SECONDARY SCHOOL Generally small buildingsLarge spread out buildings Generally one teacher teaches a range of subjects Subject specialists teach their own subject only. Many contact members of staff. Pupils usually have a good knowledge of everybody in their class and of the teacher and Vice versa. Pupils can not have a sound knowledge of all others in their groups or the teachers that teach them and vice versa especially in the early stages of transition Parents and teachers meet readilyParents and teachers generally meet at parents evenings only. Pupils in year 6 are the oldest in the schoolPupils in year 7 are the youngest in the school Levels of responsibility in the school are generally given to year 6 pupils. Levels of responsibility in the school are generally given to the higher year groups.
The differences between primary school and secondary school (contd) THE PRIMARY SCHOOLTHE SECONDARY SCHOOL Levels of responsibility in the school are generally given to year 6 pupils. Levels of responsibility in the school are generally given to the higher year groups. Children generally come from the immediate local community. The modernising schools agenda may influence this Pupils come from the wider community and often are bussed to school. Opportunities for enhancing self esteem are enhanced when there are fewer pupils to target for such things as musical productions and sports teams. Opportunities to be involved in school representation are often less, when there is a larger number of pupils to choose from. Esteem may not be enhanced as readily. Learning difficulties can be easily identified when there are fewer contact staff. Pupils who have learning difficulties may not be identified as readily when there are more contact staff.
What makes a successful transition? (EPPSE project) Developing new friendships and improving their self esteem and confidence. Having settled so well into school life that they cause no concerns to their parents. Showing an increased interest in school and school work. Getting used to their new routines and school organisation with great ease. Experiencing curriculum continuity.
National Behaviour and Attendance Review (NBAR 2008) Evidence that there are varied practices from authority to authority and also from school to school across Wales. Planning for induction into secondary schools is now more difficult due to parental choice and admission requirements/arrangements. More use should be made of existing WAG guidance. Those with difficulties at primary school with attendance, behaviour and those with identified special needs-have more difficulty with transition. A suggestion was, that secondary schools adopt a more family and pupil friendly atmosphere with fewer contact staff at least for year 7.
National Behaviour and Attendance Review (NBAR 2008)-Good practice Secondary staff visiting primary schools and informing pupils about their new school well ahead of time. Enabling pupils to visit their new school one or even two terms before they actually transfer. Offering participation for pupils in a series of taster days to begin to equip them for their new school career. Taking would be pupils on a residential event ahead of their transfer to school so that they meet and learn about their new teachers.
National Behaviour and Attendance Review (NBAR 2008)-Good practice Targeting pupils who are known to have SEBD in primary school and key staff building a relationship to bridge them into school. Adjusting the secondary timetable so that in their entry year, pupils are taught by a small team of three or four teachers who come to know them well as individuals and provide high levels of personal support. Taking would be pupils on a residential event with an older year group from the school who then ask as coaches and mentors when the new pupils arrive in the school.
The Role Of Emotional Intelligence- (a study by Catrin Williams Phd student Bangor University, email@example.com) Examined the transition between 2 secondary schools and ten primary schools in 2006-2007. Focused on self esteem, anxiety, depression, anger and disruptive behaviour and the role of emotional intelligence. Overall findings summary- generally no change in self esteem, declines in anxiety, depression, anger and disruptive behaviour across transition. However, there was a minority of children who showed to have difficulties with psychic disorders on transition.
Some Options! Develop further guidance and legislate to ensure that good practice is followed nationally. Consider Middle School development as a stepping stone between key stages. Involve the whole community in transition.
Some Options! (continued) Further develop the notion of real community schools/centres, so that all young people are educated on one site i.e. nursery, primary, secondary and special including SEBD. There should be multi agency representation on that site including Social Services, Doctors, Health Workers, Youth Workers, ALN professionals etc. There would be no transition