3.2 From primary to secondary school
Lowri’s story continues.
Case study: Lowri’s transition from primary to secondary school
Now that Lowri is 11, she is about to make the transition from primary to secondary school. She is excited but also a little apprehensive. Laura and her mother Carys attended the information evening held at Lowri’s school. As well as teachers and teaching assistants from the primary school, the head of pastoral care and the head of year 7 from the secondary school were also there.
It became clear that teaching assistants (TAs) at the primary school were significantly involved with supporting year 6 pupils and their parents/carers during the transition. Many children have less formal relationships with their TA than with their teacher and often find it easier to approach them rather than the class teacher with a worry or a question they may have.
Lowri discovered that the school recognises that the transition from primary to secondary school is a major milestone for pupils and their parents. So the school deploys TAs to work alongside teaching staff in a supportive role to ensure that the correct information is given regarding the transition and also to offer pupils individual support as necessary.
Lowri has a good relationship with the TA who assists in her class and was reassured by this. Carys was pleased to discover that the TAs would also offer support to parents/carers if approached but would, if necessary, pass on such concerns to the teacher.
Lowri found out that her new secondary school will hold an informative open evening for both pupils and their parents/carers before the transition, and staff from the secondary school will come to visit pupils during the primary school day. The staff visiting would be the year 7 form teachers so that Lowri’s first meeting with her new form teacher would be on familiar territory. Lowri felt that she would be able to ask any questions from the ‘safety’ of her own classroom with both her teacher and TA in attendance.
Pupils will also go to the secondary school for two visits during the school day and Lowri’s TA will be on hand to offer help and support to any pupil but especially those who seem nervous or anxious. Primary school staff will communicate with their secondary school colleagues and with parents/carers as necessary to ensure that the transition is as smooth as possible.
Carys found it reassuring that pupils are invited to visit the secondary school for an extra day or so to help familiarise them and ease the transition – this gives the secondary school staff a little more time to get to know them and for the pupils to feel comfortable about the forthcoming changes.