During their school careers, pupils will experience many, many transitions. Some small and regular, others more significant such as moving class or Key Stage. At Grove Road we have all sorts of mechanisms in place to support transition.Our goal is to ensure a seamless transition from 3-19 to support learning and pastoral needs. As a member of the Ridgeway Learning Partnership our transition into KS3 is as smooth as every other transition they make whilst at Grove Road.
Transitions at Grove Road
Transition can be difficult for some pupils as changes can mean uncertainty. As a school we work hard to ensure that transitions from year to year, phase to phase and into the school are as smooth and easy as possible. In addition to all the usual sharing of assessment tracking, class teachers undertake transition meetings with the new class teacher to ensure consistency in approach and to share key information e.g. medical needs, learning styles etc. In the summer term, pupils spend time with their new class teacher ahead of September, so they can familiarise themselves with the new classroom environment and get to know their new class teacher and teaching assistants. When pupils move into the school from another setting, we speak to the pupils' previous setting and talk to parents/ carers to support transition. We link new pupils with a mentor or assign them a friend to help them navigate the new systems and routines until they settle.
When pupils move between key stages additional support is put in place to bridge changes in curriculum or expectations. Staff in Year 1 adapt their timetable for the autumn term to give pupils opportunities for play based learning to support ongoing language and conceptual development to support the transition from the Early Years curriculum to the National Curriculum. We ensure that all pupils in Early Years get regular opportunities to be in the main school, to become familiar with the staff and the geography of the building. This includes lunchtimes, PE and assemblies. Pupils in Reception are also paired with a Year 5 Buddy who they meet with weekly to share a game or a book. This partnership supports their playtimes and also their transition into Year 1.
Systems and routines are aligned and consistent across the school making the learning journey from Nursery to year 6 seamless. Continuity of approach runs through policy, practice and expectations in all areas.
Transition to Secondary Education
At Grove Road we take real care to ensure our pupils are ready for their next stage of learning. Moving to secondary school (KS3+) is an exciting time and marks a new phase in their lives. As part of the Ridgeway Learning Partnership, we are fortunate to have strong partnerships with our colleagues at Tring School. Typically, 95% of our Year 6 pupils transfer to Tring School, making transition planning easier as well as being able to provide regular opportunities to spend time at Tring and to meet key members of staff.. This has been invaluable in preparing children for transition and helping them feel comfortable, confident and armed with the tools needed to manage this important transition.
Any period of transition can be emotionally unsettling and confusing, and transition from primary school to secondary is no different. On the one hand,children may feel that they are looking forward to new opportunities, but on the other may feel insecure at leaving a familiar environment. They may be looking forward to meeting new friends, or worried that they may lose touch with current ones. We recognise this and, in the summer term in particular, timetable regular PSHE sessions to voice and constructively address their mixed feelings. For example, we reflect on past experiences and look forward both to opportunities and challenges; we explore ways to make new friends and who they can speak to at their new school if they are worried about anything once they start. Historically, pupils in Year 7 have come over to speak to pupils In Year 6 to discuss their own experiences of transition and share worries and top tips. Time is then given to ask questions and this has been insightful in terms of common worries which class teachers can then go over and discuss in more depth.
Every Year 6 pupil is discussed during transition meetings with the secondary schools they are moving to. Key information is passed on and discussed. At Grove Road, we feel it is important to capture and share both academic and pastoral progress so that the new setting can best cater for each individual child’s needs. In addition, a separate meeting takes place with the inclusion team at Grove and the receiving Secondary school to discuss vulnerable and SEN pupils. Pupils are identified early in Year 6 for regular conferencing sessions with the team from Tring to build relationships and better understand their vulnerabilities. Additional visits and lessons take place in the summer term prior to transition to support orientation and transition.
The opportunity to spend time at Tring School before starting in September helps them to familiarise themselves with the layout of the school, meet school staff and begin to establish new relationships with their peers. In addition, those pupils that we feel are finding the change more difficult, considered vulnerable or have SEND will be invited to additional visits. These are called, ‘Familiarisation Visits’ and happen during the summer term. These sessions might be as part of a small group or on an individual basis this is dependent on the specific needs of the individual. The visits are generally over a few weeks and focus primarily on getting pupils comfortable with the layout and school building, discussion around worries or concerns they have and establishing a relationship with a staff member they can go to if they feel overwhelmed or need further support in September.
We have moved Home Learning to Google Classroom and often use Chromebooks as part of our provision across the school. We know that Tring School are a Google Reference School so we have started teaching the skills needed at Grove Road so they are competent and confident users of G-Suite; this gives them one less new experience to conquer as they join Year 7. In addition, we have found that the use of G-Suite and Chromebooks has really helped to develop pupils' independence skills, something which is another essential tool to support the transition process.
Pupils in Year 5 and 6 have had the opportunity to take part in lessons and workshops taught at Tring School. In the past, they have had a series of Design and Technology lessons, Computing and PE sessions. The close working partnerships between teachers at Grove Road and Tring have resulted in various extra curricular activities for pupils as well as the sharing of subject specialisms.
The Ridgeway Learning partnership knows and values the importance of a well sequenced and planned curriculum. We work closely together to discuss our curriculums and how these build and progression on pupils prior learning. Subject leaders at Grove Road have established links with staff members at Tring and this has further strengthened the learning and teaching across the RLP. This means that staff at Grove know what is expected and what skills and learning pupils need in order to continue to thrive.
We have established Reading and Maths Buddies between Grove Road and Tring School. Sixth Formers from Tring School come and support identified pupils in Year 5 and 6 at Grove Road with their reading and/or mathematics learning. The buddy system gives the pupils at Grove an opportunity to work closely with a pupil from Tring School on a weekly basis. The pupils work together and the Sixth Former acts as a mentor and buddy for the Grove pupil. Not only does this have a good impact on the pupils’ understanding and progress but it also enables Grove pupils to form relationships with older pupils. This aids with their transition into secondary school as they have the confidence to communicate and form relationships with older peers and know that they can look out for their buddies too.
Pupils from Grove Road have many opportunities to work alongside other colleagues at Tring School. Pupils have participated in the Carnegie Shadowing and worked alongside Suzanne Watkins, the Manager of the Learning Resource Centre at Tring School. The Year 6 group worked alongside Suzanne and went to Tring School regularly to participate in the judging. Key Stage Two children have also had the opportunity to be selected to join the judging panel for the Royal Society. They worked alongside Tring School and gave their time each week to read and review each of the six books shortlisted. Each of the books prompted scientific discussions about topics and the group evaluated and scored the books against set criteria. This gave the pupils an opportunity to work alongside other members of the Ridgeway Learning Partnership community and further broaden their experiences.
What parents can do to support transition
Secondary school undoubtedly places extra demands on children in terms of personal organisation, time management and in some cases a more complex journey to school. Experience shows that children who are well-prepared for these transitions are more successful and transition with confidence.. Parents can play a key role in helping children to gain confidence in taking on these challenges. For example, throughout Year 6, children should be encouraged to take responsibility for organising their own Home Learning, school bags, PE kits and musical instruments.
Helpful Websites for Parents/Carers
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