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Leadership webinar: managing transition from primary to secondary (video and webchat)

Discussion in 'Senior Leadership Team' started by AndrewFIS, Jun 20, 2016.

  1. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    How can a pupil's transition from a primary to a secondary school be effectively managed?

    As part of the TES Leadership webinar series, I’ll be putting your questions to David Taylor, headteacher of Stanley Park High.

    We will examine the key ways in which schools can help prepare pupils.

    Post your questions below now - and, if you can, join in our live webchat on July 5 at 4.30pm.

    Before that, you can watch a video we’ve made in which David and I discuss the issues, with key advice for school leaders.

    1920x1080-leadership-video-still-v2.jpg

    To access all the videos in the TES Leadership series, plus an exclusive database of grants available to schools, become a TES Leadership subscriber.
     
  2. Solutionprovida

    Solutionprovida New commenter

    I am an SEN Governor with a senior school.

    The biggest problem with transition from Junior to Senior school is the lack of details about the previous attainment of pupils with issues educational/medical/emotional especially those in the pupil premium area who are below grade or even have un-diagnosed conditions which put the senior school on the back foot when September starts.

    It also leaves gaps in support networks as budgets are already stretched with no capacity to increase help for struggling students. Those children with un-diagnosed conditions that have to be diagnosed in senior school with little or no background of the child's physical/emotional health from Junior school can suffer educational loss most of all.

    There has to be more information passed, i.e. in depth personal background file, as Junior schools know the levels in the child's final year with Junior school and for those with issues educational/medical/emotional then this can be done allowing a smoother transition and also ability to put infrastructure in place for those needing assistance in these areas in their 1st critical year in senior school.

    My question therefore is how do we pass this information from Junior to senior school with the present fears Junior schools have over attainment levels being dissected by Ofsted stopping this level of information being created & therefore blinding senior schools to the level of abilities or not when their new cohort arrives instead of being informed well before they arrive in the school ?
     
  3. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    Good afternoon and welcome to the eighteenth webchat in our series of discussions aimed at school leaders.

    In a few moments I will hand you over to Andrew, who is editor of FIS, who will be hosting this week's hour-long webchat.

    Andrew and this week's guest, leadership expert panel member David Taylor, headteacher of Stanley Park High, who will be available for the next hour to answer your questions on how school leaders can manage a pupil’s transition from primary to secondary school.


    If you have any questions please submit them below. Don't worry if we run out of time, any unanswered questions will be responded to and posted on this thread later this week.

    I'll now hand you over to Andrew.



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    Whilst TES Global and the panel of leadership experts make every effort to ensure the high quality and accuracy of the Content, TES Global and each leadership expert makes no representation or warranty (express or implied) concerning the Content. Neither TES Global nor any leadership expert will be responsible for any damage or loss related to any use of the Content.

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    Please click here for full Terms and Conditions which apply to all TES Global’s websites.
     
  4. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    Hello and welcome to this webchat on the transition of pupils from primaries to secondary schools. Joining me is David Taylor, headteacher of Stanley Park High, winner of the TES Secondary School of the Year 2016. For those of you following this thread, please feel free to post your query. Remember to refresh your page to see the updates as they appear.

    Thanks for joining us, David.

    At what stage of a pupil's life should transition be considered by:

    • their primary school?

    • their future secondary school?

    • their parents?
     
  5. David_Taylor

    David_Taylor New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    A pleasure to be here.

    This is a difficult question to answer because it depends on a whole range of factors – each child, the curricula, approaches to learning and teaching, whether or not all of the primary children transfer to the same secondary school or whether they scatter across a number of secondaries, as tends to happen in most urban areas. I would strongly argue that this should be a seamless process – an ongoing transition. There should not necessarily be a start and end point.

    In saying all of the above, we could consider removing the need for transition by creating more all-through schools. I have never worked in one of these, but I can see real potential benefits.
     
  6. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    Can these three entities work together? If so, how?
     
  7. David_Taylor

    David_Taylor New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    It is not a case of can they work together, they simply have to. It is easier for areas that have one primary and one secondary in the relationship, but saying you have 30+ feeders does not provide an adequate excuse. Both primary and secondary schools, with the support of parents, do their very best to ensure that this is as seamless a process as possible, but there are fundamental differences between the structure and processes of these two stages of schooling. Ultimately, secondary schools don’t know enough about primary schools and vice versa. This needs to change. The only way to support this change is to give teachers more time for collaborative planning and reflection. Our current model of 195 days (including 5 inset) from 8:30/9am to 3:15/3:30pm is outdated and not for for purpose.
     
  8. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    Your secondary school has been praised for its methods of helping pupils from primary schools settle in. What made you think that a change needed to be made?
     
  9. David_Taylor

    David_Taylor New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    For us it was all about the critical importance of relationships. We only have to compare children moving school to adults starting a new job or moving house, they can be very upsetting or stressful times. Relationships are in some cases ending, in the majority of cases they are starting. This can be traumatic for some children. Whilst I am not saying that transition is done badly - the vast majority of schools invest a significant amount of time in it - but transition needs to focus on the primacy of relationships. In relatively small primary schools students feel known and valued for their uniqueness – they largely have one teacher who teaches them everything. In secondary schools they are often left feeling anonymous, invisible and isolated – they often have upwards of 14 teachers, with subjects in silos.
     
  10. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    How did you go about making those changes?
     
  11. David_Taylor

    David_Taylor New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    By realising that scale is the critically important factor. We overcome the issues of scale by developing Schools Within Schools; thereby, creating human scale communities. In terms of structural changes, we have created four small schools - Horizon, Performance, Trade and World - each under the leadership of a Head of School. Horizon has 91 with an EHCP for ASC, whereas the other three schools have 350 students.

    Within those schools we also made significant changes to our curriculum. In the transition years – 7 and 8 – we have developed our unique Excellent Futures Curriculum (EFC). Now in its eighth year, it is a project based curriculum, taught in large studios by the Tutor. It takes up approximately 50% of each student’s timetable in Year 7 and 25% in Year 8.
     
  12. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    How does your transition process work?
     
  13. David_Taylor

    David_Taylor New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    Many of our induction processes are common to most schools: visits to the primary by senior leaders to meet students and teachers; transition day; information evening; social evening – Stanley in the Park; summer school – all before September. Then it’s a special first day in September (when they are in on their own), special introductory week and a curriculum/learning & teaching/assessment evening for parents.

    The first project in our EFC is called ‘Being a Stanley Parker’. Students collaborate to produce an A-Z about life at Stanley Park High. In developing this book students really get to understand our values and practice, and what it is to be a Stanley Parker. The book is published and can be bought by parents.
     
  14. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    What are the outcomes?
     
  15. David_Taylor

    David_Taylor New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    The number of children wanting to come to the school has trebled. In the short term our students settle very well. Our collaborative pedagogy means they get used to learning with each other, and quickly make friends as a result. Longer term – and talking in terms of exam results and Ofsted:

    1) Exam results have increased from 15% 5+A*-C including En/Ma in 2005 to 54% in 2015.

    2) Ofsted (Nov 2015) said:

    - Staff could not do more to nurture pupils’ personal development, welfare and safety. Pupils feel safe and secure because their health and happiness is the school’s key priority.

    - Pupils’ outstanding behaviour and relationships with each other and with teachers underpin their enthusiasm and willingness to learn.

    - The curriculum in Years 7 to 9 successfully blends creative learning with the development of key literacy and numeracy skills. Pupils learn how to carry out research and think for themselves.

    - All staff enjoy working at the school, which contributes to its welcoming atmosphere.

    - Parents have much confidence in the school’s unique approach to 21st century education.
     
  16. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    We have a question on the forum from @Solutionprovida: I am an SEN Governor with a senior school.

    The biggest problem with transition from Junior to Senior school is the lack of details about the previous attainment of pupils with issues educational/medical/emotional especially those in the pupil premium area who are below grade or even have un-diagnosed conditions which put the senior school on the back foot when September starts.

    It also leaves gaps in support networks as budgets are already stretched with no capacity to increase help for struggling students. Those children with un-diagnosed conditions that have to be diagnosed in senior school with little or no background of the child's physical/emotional health from Junior school can suffer educational loss most of all.

    There has to be more information passed, i.e. in depth personal background file, as Junior schools know the levels in the child's final year with Junior school and for those with issues educational/medical/emotional then this can be done allowing a smoother transition and also ability to put infrastructure in place for those needing assistance in these areas in their 1st critical year in senior school.

    My question therefore is how do we pass this information from Junior to senior school with the present fears Junior schools have over attainment levels being dissected by Ofsted stopping this level of information being created & therefore blinding senior schools to the level of abilities or not when their new cohort arrives instead of being informed well before they arrive in the school?
     
  17. David_Taylor

    David_Taylor New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    Thank you @Solutionprovida for your question - I recognise the issue that you raise. This is the classic situation where on the one hand the secondary says “Why didn’t you tell us about the issues with this child? Why don’t they have an EHCP?” and the primary says “What have you done to change this child, he/she was fine with us”. As with most ‘conflict’, the fault lies in both sectors and with our education system.

    As you correctly identify, for students without an EHCP, most schools rely on a simple transfer spreadsheet, of varying quality, and possibly some face to face meetings in the primary school. These meetings, if given time and conducted properly, will help identify and alleviate some of the issues. By properly I mean really getting to the nuts and bolts about the uniqueness of each child. Yes, this will mean finding out about their educational/medical/emotional issues, but it also means we need to find out what makes a child tick. What are their interests/hobbies/passions/ likes/dislikes/phobias? Find the hook to building a relationship and it may help.

    But we need to tackle broader issues with our education system. Firstly, we need to give schools the money to do the job and secondly we need to give teachers and other professionals the time. Both are clearly linked. However, rather than just reacting to such students, we have to be proactive by halting and reversing the increasing number of students that are coming up from primary schools with issues that inhibit learning. This has to be led by the government and means tackling at least four things:

    1) Poverty

    2) Poor parenting

    3) Inappropriate use of social media/internet

    4) Enforced curricula and high stakes testing
     
  18. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    Was it easy convincing your school stakeholders (pupils, parents, staff and governors) that change was needed?
     
  19. David_Taylor

    David_Taylor New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    Not really….he says! In 2005 we were not a particularly happy school – relationships were somewhat fraught, so we knew we had to change. The impetus for us came from being designated a One School Pathfinder under the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme. This designation required us to be innovative across all aspects of schooling: leadership structures, curriculum, learning and teaching, learning spaces and ICT/media. We scoured the world for best practice and used our findings to develop SPH. We took our staff and students to other schools to experience how schooling could be different – 100 members of staff went to Copenhagen and we also took 30 students and immersed them in one school - Hellerup Skole - for a week.

    Having convinced teachers, you have to give them space and time to innovate within a no-blame culture. If things go wrong, we try to make it better. There are peaks and troughs. It is a long process and, as a leader, you have to hold you nerve.

    Governors, led by a fab Chair, have been hugely supportive. They have underpinned our direction of travel. Equally our parents - they strongly believe in what we do. They are very trusting because it is very far removed from their schooling. We are very grateful.
     
  20. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    Finally, how would you advise other schools to review how they can promote effective transition?
     

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