How secondary school teachers can support the transition into Year 7

As the idea of a new school year is exciting and promising for the new learnings ahead, for those transitioning from primary into secondary school, September may fill them with a mixture of excitement, nerves and dread. We interviewed Chloe McCart, a secondary school teacher in Brighton, to gain her insight into how this transition can be made smooth and supportive for new students.

How can secondary school teachers make the prospective Year 7s (current Year 6s) feel positive about

As current Year 6s approach the transitions to their new schools, it is important to consider their feelings and a lot will be feeling anxious. To make them feel positive about the experience, I would highly recommend teachers visiting the primary schools as much as possible so the students have a friendly face. It's also helpful to give the students some fun activities to do over the summer. This can be a starting point in September and it will allow them to show off what they have completed over the summer.

How do you encourage them to take part in lessons if they are feeling a bit shy?

Our initial ‘lessons in all subjects’ is an introduction including ‘getting to know you’ games or fun quizzes. This allows the students to mix with each other and feel more comfortable in their surroundings. Once they have completed the first week, they will soon feel confident enough to take part fully in all lessons.

What would you do if a new Year 7 is feeling overwhelmed, unsettled or lonely?

As teachers, we notice those Year 7s who are sometimes on their own or seem a bit unsettled. We offer Safe Zones during lunch and break where students can come and sit with others without being outside in the hectic playground. I would also recommend talking to the Year 7 and try to buddy them up with another student within their tutor.

Do new students find it easy to get used to new routines?

The first few weeks are always a bit chaotic with new timetables, new teachers and a big site to get around. Teachers understand this so there is often some flexibility with the timetable to start with – we offer an early lunch for Year 7 for the first term so they get used to the timings without the older students.

What lessons or activities do you use to integrate new starters into your school?

We have a full transition day in July where students will try out their new subjects. This gives them some insight as to what to expect in September. A lot of our other students are there that day and they involve themselves in this transition to offer support. During these sessions we will give them summer activities to do and these often include challenges or competitions for when they return. Our first lessons in the new year are often fun and are used to support the transition.

Have you ever considered a confidence and team building school trip for your Year 7 group?

This is something we don't always do at the start of the year but it would be helpful for the new Year 7 group. We currently do an end of year camping trip for all of Year 7 to go on; this celebrates what they have achieved and it really helps them bond further.

Find out more about our specialist Transition Programme, designed with the start of a new school year in mind. Book as part of an end of year celebration for your Year 6 class, or as an ice breaker trip for your new Year 7s.

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