Top five ways teachers can help pupils transition into secondary schools
New teachers, new timetable, new friends, plus many more elements that make moving to secondary school daunting for a child. We’ve been speaking to teachers who attend our camps with their class to gain the best insight and advice on how to ensure that new pupils settle into their new secondary school. Here are some top tips for primary and secondary school teachers during transition period.
Make them feel positive before they arrive
New students will be extremely nervous about all sorts of things – getting lost, making friends and understanding new subjects to name a few. Secondary school teachers should visit primary schools regularly throughout the final year and lead taster lessons with them to help them become familiar with what to expect from secondary education, and so they have a friendly face to look out for when they arrive. Primary teachers can take time to explain the wider variety of staff to the children as well, ensuring they know that there will always be someone around to ask for help, such as a head of year, pastoral carer or subject teacher.
Invite back ex-students
For a reassuring and personal touch, primary teachers can invite back ex-students to speak to Year 6s about what’s to come in secondary school, what they’ve learned and how they overcame nerves, uncertainties and anxiety. They can run Q&A style sessions and stick around for the afternoon for more personal one-to-one conversations if needed. Peer-to-peer advice is extremely effective, and again, it will give them another familiar face to look out for at their new school.
There will always be shy pupils in the class who will feel like small fish in a big pond. It’s important to ensure everyone feels comfortable enough to take part in lessons, but it still may be intimidating. Some ideas could be to break down the lesson into smaller groups, arrange group presentations or run mini competitions. This could also be done during tutor periods, where the focus doesn’t have to be entirely academic.
Integrate friendship building activities into first lessons
Short of sitting in class in alphabetical order, there’s no obvious way for children to meet new friends as a result of their new, busy timetable. The first weeks are vital for bonding, so ensure that new students have the opportunity to laugh, discover and problem solve together in their new classes. Prior to transition, there’s also opportunity for primary school teachers to group together those who are going to the same secondary schools in the last few months of Year 6 and encourage that bond as they make the transition together.
Consider a confidence and team building school trip
Get your class out of the classroom environment and into new, challenging and fun surroundings. Team building school trips are perfect for integrating children with various strengths, helping them to form new friendships and build confidence and self-esteem.