The Transition from Year 6 to 7: How WEK Prepares Students for Secondary School

by Joseph Flynn, Primary Vice Principal

As soon as our children make the transition from Year 2 to Year 3 – or KS1 to KS2 – it sets in motion a series of events that ensure over the next four years every student who passes through The Academy doors is ready to make that jump (or leap of faith!) from their final year of primary school to the start of the first year in their secondary school journey.

This transition from Year 6 to Year 7 – or KS2 to KS3 – is one of the most important times in any child’s educational journey which can be met with feelings of excitement, apprehension and nervousness (including from parents!) and one that is vital we all get right.

For perhaps the first time, students will have to:

  • Use a timetable/journal/planner to get to different lessons
  • Get used to being with different teachers and in different classrooms
  • Know where they are going around the school (three floors!)
  • Ensure they have the correct equipment with them every day
  • Manage their own emotions and navigate social situations

We are very lucky here at The Academy that our ‘Year 6 Transition Hub’, purposely located on the secondary side of the school, helps to prepare our students for this from day one when they start Year 6. One of the main ingredients that can ensure this transition recipe comes out tasting and looking perfect is something our teachers work on with the children every day – independence.

Independence is a vital skill for all primary school children to develop – but it’s not always an easy process. As the children progress through primary school, they’ll be expected to become increasingly independent and take charge of their own learning and organization, which helps to ease the transition into Year 7. Children who build good, age-appropriate independence skills will be in a better position to face the challenge of secondary school and it is empowering and good for their self-esteem if they don’t always have to rely on adults for help (it can also make parents' lives a little easier!).

Here are some top tips for our parents to help with independence when thinking about the transition from Year 6 to Year 7:

  • Set realistic expectations - Don’t set your expectations too high, otherwise your child will feel under pressure, but don’t set them too low either. Give them the chance to do things you think they’re capable of.
  • Give them prompts - To encourage their independence, give them reminders that make them think for themselves, rather than just telling them what they have to do.
  • Organisation is key - Children often prefer to leave the job of organising themselves to adults. Print off the class timetable and stick it up in their bedroom or somewhere visible to your child – daily or weekly!
  • Find a balance - Depending on the circumstances, some children get a wake-up call if you let them face the consequences of their actions if they miss something, as they always expect someone else to do it for them.
  • Be positive - Whenever you’re trying to teach or help your child with a new skill, praise and positive feedback is essential!

Research tell us that those students who experience a successful transition typically greatly expand their friendships, display higher levels of self-esteem and confidence and continue to flourish academically once at secondary school. For all of our Year 6 students transitioning to Year 7 at The Academy - this is our number one goal!

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