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Supporting students in transitioning from primary to secondary school

Supporting students in transitioning from primary to secondary school


Within the period of such a large transition, upcoming year 7s grow more and more apprehensive, whether it’s down to making new friends or making their way around a daunting and unfamiliar campus. Despite the majority of schools providing a programme which aids students in easing in, a considerable number of pupils still face difficulties. These difficulties can no doubt have a knock-on effect on their grades, attendance, and mental well-being throughout the process, and therefore need to be prevented to our best ability.


The best and most important thing to do to begin with is recognise and acknowledge the causes of stress among the students. Being able to understand their worries will allow for a more fitting approach to get them settled in. Going into a classroom, knowing not one face in there can be very scary for the student. Getting to know each other right off the bat is a brilliant way of solving this issue. A common method for this is to go around in a circle, having students say their name and one fun fact about them. However, this is adjustable, so be creative with it, whilst staying on topic of removing any tension in the classroom.


Some of these problems might seem daunting to tackle on their own. Assigning students buddies or partners to kick off their first lessons contains many benefits. Whilst alleviating any stress or worry of not finding a friend, it also helps display and practices their team-work skills to you, which is essential in getting to know each individual’s attitude, strengths and weaknesses.


Make sure your expectations and consequences are clear. Students feel most at ease when they understand what is expected of them. Whilst implicating these expectations, students must also possess and maintain a clear idea of the effects of their actions. It is not only confusing, but distressing for them if they don’t know the consequences. This is why it's critical to spell out clearly what they can expect if they act inappropriately, or even what they can expect when they act accordingly. Consequences aren’t always negative, and this idea of rewarding good behaviour and forbidding poor behaviour must be promoted. However, these consequences have no value when they lack consistency. You must be able to maintain consistency, in order to retain fairness within the classroom. If you don’t control these expectations, students will lose respect for you, ultimately resulting in a group of out-of-control students, which no one wants.


Balance the two key aspects of challenge and support. Challenging your year 7s is important in getting them to improve. Children enjoy being challenged and pushed harder to achieve their goals. However, in order to do this, we must know their capabilities and skills, so we can position their objectives perfectly, where they aren’t overwhelmed with pressure to achieve an unrealistic goal. Offering support is equally as significant. Support can act as a safety net for students who fail to reach their goals. Without support, they will end up losing their motivation and drive to push themselves. In order for students to manage and cope with their increased stress levels, they must receive the adequate support from teachers.

Remember to be understanding of the students, and how big of a transition it is. Make sure to pay attention to them and their needs, whilst also incorporating a welcoming environment for them to foster their skills in. Whether or not they settle in quickly can impact not only their learning, but their mental well-being, so we need to ensure this happens, before it grows more problematic.