Year 6 into Year 7 Transition

Educational research has found that nationally there is a 39% drop in performance of learners at the end of their Year 7 experience.  Research has also found that pupils experiencing a difficult transition to secondary school are more likely to experience problems later on in their educational career and are significantly more likely to drop out of college or university.  At Alderwood School we are extremely aware of this and have employed a multitude of strategies to ensure that our Year 7 learners are making the best transition possible allowing them to ‘hit the ground running’.  Our goal is to allow them to make continued and consistent progress right from the start.

This process starts with the school running events for pupils in our family of schools right from Year R onwards.  For the past three years we have hosted a ‘family fun day’ for pupils  that has been very well attended.  Our overall aim is to ensure that the pupils feel comfortable and are used to coming to Alderwood so that when they finally arrive here as pupils they are familiar and think positively about our school.  This then helps to ease any anxiety the pupils may have about starting secondary school so that barriers to learning are reduced or completely removed altogether.

All our infant and junior schools receive a personalised transition calendar detailing all the engagement events that we are running throughout the year.  As a Specialist Sports College we offer sporting opportunities hosted at Alderwood to our primary pupils from Year R to Year 6.  Members of the PE Department also go out to teach PE lessons to Year 5 & 6 pupils at Park Primary School on a weekly basis and teachers, from our family of schools, have also received training to help them to improve their teaching in PE.  Newport Junior have also brought all their pupils here to train for their Sports Day, as they have no school field, with the help of the PE Department and young leaders from Alderwood.

Apart from sport, Alderwood offers many opportunities for the primary pupils to come here and our staff also go out to the schools to deliver lessons in a variety of different subjects.  The Science, Art, Drama, Maths, English, Technology, Music, ICT, Business Studies and Drama departments have all delivered primary events either at Alderwood or in the primary schools themselves.

Alderwood staff have received inset training to inform them of the importance of a good transition for pupils. Richard Scarborough, our transition coordinator has received inset training on the delivery of successful transition.  He also spent 3 days observing pupils at 2 of our feeder primary schools.  Our transition days for Year 6 pupils are planned thoroughly and are delivered extremely successfully by all staff both teaching and non-teaching, throughout the school.

This then leads on to a Summer School which is offered to all Year 6 pupils during the last two weeks of August.  This is delivered by Alderwood teachers and this year 90 of our new Year 7’s are due to attend.  The main advantage of the pupils attending the Summer School is that pupils have the building to themselves and can find their way around, meet some of the teachers, experience some of the subjects that they will be studying and start to make friends with pupils that will be in their year group for the next 5 years.  We carried out some research into the impact of the Summer School when our Year 7’s had arrived and of those who attended 95% said they enjoyed it and 94% felt that it made them more confident when they started in September.

Having undertaken all of these activities to ensure that our Year 7’s do not suffer from a decrease in performance we analysed the Year 7’s progress in 2013-14.

During this academic year the number of Year 7 pupils who had achieved level 4 in at least 5 of their subjects including English and Maths had risen from 62.5% in October to 78.3% in May.  For level 5 the percentage had risen from 7.9% in October to 31.6% in May and level 6 the rise is 0% in October to 3% in May.

We realise that this progress must be maintained throughout the pupils time at the school but we are very proud of our relationships and work with our primary schools.  We will be carrying out similar research for every cohort of Year 7 pupils we receive in the future to try to ensure that their progress is as impressive.