Smoothing the transition to high school

I was at a meeting this week where we were discussing how difficult it can be for some children to manage the transition from leaving primary school and going to high school. In my experience most primary schools are smaller than high schools and children have the same class teacher for most lessons, and therefore the staff and children are able to get to know each other and develop relationships. In high school this is not usually the case as there are more children and staff and children have different teachers for each subject. For children who find relationships with adults difficult, moving from primary to high school can significantly increase their anxiety levels.

I suggested it may be useful for the Year 6 class teacher, teaching assistant, SENCO or other member of staff to write a short summary on children who find this difficult to be given to the child’s teachers in high school as part of the transition process. This can focus on the child’s behaviour and emotional well being rather than their academic ability and include:

  • What the child may find difficult
  • How they may behave
  • What they may be trying to communicate through their behaviour
  • How they can be helped

Whilst this creates more work for school staff it may significantly help some children to settle in and make the change more easily. The more we can enable all school staff to understand and recognise the possible reasons behind children’s behaviour, the more we can support children to cope with changes in their lives.

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