Senior teachers in our cluster have discussed their thoughts on how to make transition from year 6 to year 7 successful. This is one of the biggest changes children face during their school career, which is so important to get right.
First they identified some of the challenges:
What are the barriers facing new year 7 students?
Everything is much larger scale
Children have to make new friends
There’s a new behaviour expectation
Children have to travel to school and around the building (can get lost)
Children have to organise themselves (bring the correct equipment to lessons)
Children have to get used to different teaching styles and to working with 10 teachers not just 1.
Children start new subjects or subjects approached in a different way (eg History not through topic, new modern foreign languages)
Our teachers then discussed how schools can prepare for the transition:
What do secondary schools need to know about new year 7 pupils
Information about childrens’ home lives, history and individual needs
SEN information and data
Useful to bring a portfolio of their work to a secondary.
Useful for year 6 and year 7 teachers to meet in the summer term and share expectations.
What kind of pastoral support needs to be in place for year 6/7 transition
Its worth secondary staff visiting their feeder primary year 6s.
Buddy children up with year 7/8 students
Arrange for secondary students to visit primaries or talk to new year 7s about their own experiences of transition.
Hold a special morning for SEN and vulnerable pupils to visit secondary school.
Make sure new year 7s know where to go to for pastoral support eg student services, the librarian – the people who they can go to and chat if they have a problem or feel vulnerable and get to know.
Hold Taster days at a secondary school for primary pupils.
What do primaries need to do to support their pupils academically in transition?
Enable more collaboration between year 6 and year 7 teachers
Make sure year 6s still keep up with their subject knowledge after SATS – maths problems, looking at texts, taster lessons at a secondary in humanities/languages/science
Make sure primaries take some samples of their work with them to show at secondary school.
Invite ex pupils back to primary schools to update on how they are getting on and what it was like
prepare year 6s for working independently and for homework
Give year 6s some activities in the summer term that include practical skills – eg getting round a building, bringing in the right equipment etc.
The teachers agreed that information sharing between primaries and secondaries is vital and that helping new year 7s to cope with the practical challenges of a new big school was very important.