The focus of improving the transition from primary to secondary schools emerged as an important issue in Thames Valley Partnership’s research on reducing exclusion from school in 1998/9.   We  discovered through our work with schools over the years that the transition from primary to secondary school is a critical time for young people.   For most it will be handled well and without any problems, but for a significant minority it will prove to be a difficult and sometimes traumatic experience.  It is often those students who have special needs or who have struggled in primary school who will face the biggest challenge. S mall difficulties at the start of secondary school in year seven can easily escalate and eventually lead to truancy or exclusion, so support offered at the point of transition can often make a big difference to the successful adjustment to the new ‘big’ school.

We have continually supported and funded a number of initiatives around this period of transition in different parts of the Thames Valley:

  • buddying/peer mentoring projects
  • welcome handbooks for year 7s
  • team building and arts activities
  • more targeted intensive support for special needs children.

In July 2004 we worked in partnership to train student mentors to support the up and coming year 6/7s and to produce a ‘Welcome Booklet’ written by the student mentors for the new intake.    We offer a number of publications and reports around this topic, including the report from the 2004 conference ‘Making Transfer Work’.

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