Preparing For 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 Acre Heads, 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 skills sets required and the opportunities that such a change presents. We start preparing the children in Year 5 – the children are encouraged to become much more self-reliant in their learning, to think about how to organise their learning and manage their time, how to research, how 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 makes.
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 Team Leaders, Head Boys and Girls, Play Ground Pals 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 Year 6, children gain experience of local secondary schools as we participate in activities such as the Sport, Science, Maths and Technology events at Wolfreton and Hessle High School – enabling pupils to become more familiar with the physical surroundings, as well as meeting pupils and children from other feeder schools.
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.
For our parents from the East Riding local Authority, further information can be found at East Riding School Admissions
For our parents from Hull Local Authority, further information can be found at Hull School Admissions
The majority of our children transition to the following secondary schools:
Hessle High School
Further Information can be found at Hessle High Admissions
Information on Transition Hessle High Transition
Sirius Academy West
Further Information can be found at Sirius Admissions
Information on Transition Sirius Transition
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 Acre Heads and secondary schools
In order to ensure that children make a smooth academic transition from Acre Heads to their chosen secondary school, and that new teachers are fully aware of each child’s strengths and capabilities, our Year 6 teachers fully brief 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 SEN children, our SENDCo and Year 6 teachers may also hold additional meetings with the SENDCo 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. For some children, additional transitional days can take place to help with the move to secondary school.
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 SENDCO’s from the secondary schools to come into school to meet with the pupils, and the SENDCo.
Top Tips – to help your child be ready for secondary school
Making the change from primary to secondary school can be a daunting time, both for your child and for you! This guide is for you as a parent to read and share with your child to help you both prepare for the transition.
As a parent there’s lots of practical matters you’ll need to consider before the start of school and thereafter.
- Practice how they will get to school, buses, walking, alternative routes and problem solving (what to do if they miss the bus).
- Apply for bus pass if needed.
- Practice road safety and encourage independent skills when out with you so you can be
- reassured they know how to be safe – for example acceptable boundaries.
- Establish an honest an open relationship with school – if you or your child has any concerns contact your child’s new school or current primary school so that issues can be addressed.
- If you consider your child as particularly vulnerable establish a key person in their new school that you can work closely with to help your child.
- Understand that although secondary school is different to primary, your school still cares for your child, if anything concerns you or them get in touch. Schools have an open door policy right the way through to year 11.
- Ensure uniform is correct and appropriate including footwear and hairstyles. Any questions or issues with regards to cost, contact school.
- Attend the Parent Induction Evening. This will tell you everything you need to know about your child starting at the school and how things work, it will also help you and the new teachers get to know each other.
- Read the prospectus including the phone and attendance policy.
- Help your child take responsibility for their belongings before they start at secondary school.
- Help your child facilitate their homework and get in touch with school if it is too difficult.
- Set up your lunch payment account, whether it is a cashless system or your child is on Free School Meals, know how it works and what is available. Talk through the choices with your child.
- Your child will receive a planner – ensure you are familiar with the contents and check it regularly.
- Ensure children conduct themselves safely online and encourage them to concentrate on developing their friendships face to face and resolving differences respectfully.
- Ensure your child has access to their emergency medication and that school have the correct documentation with regards to their health needs.