Education Transitions

Tabled: 18 March 2015

Appendix B. Transition activities for Years 6–7

Figure B1
Observed transition activities for Years 6–7—Identified practices and further good practice

Area

Preparation phase

Transfer phase

Induction phase

Consolidation phase

Administrative

  • Offered school tours for parents and children.
  • Assisted completion of student enrolment into secondary school form.
  • Responded to requests for information for multiple secondary school transition reports.
  • Established clear roles and responsibilities within primary and secondary schools for transitions. Identified transitions as a key responsibility in position description.

Further good practice:

  • Identifying a 'transition champion' within the school—an individual with responsibility for monitoring and supporting effective transitions.
  • Developing a transition policy, agreed on in partnership with local primary schools that covers the process for collecting and transferring information and sets out expectations for active collaboration between feeder and receiver schools. It would outline the role of staff, parents and children in the transition process and be regularly reviewed and amended accordingly. All staff, parents and children would be aware of the policy.
  • Setting and monitoring of academic achievement targets, and other targets on engagement for the years following transition.
  • Secondary schools made efforts to identify students who had relevant information in primary-school-held student welfare files.
  • Sought consent and liaised with parents to obtain information from primary schools.
  • Requested files and information from primary schools—written and verbal.
  • Undertook site visits to feeder primary schools.
  • Provided information sessions and resource packs to parents.
  • Held information sharing evenings for children.
  • Held Year 7 management team and teachers' meetings to discuss and plan for individual students and incoming cohorts.
  • Collated Year 7 student information to be transferred to Year 8 level coordinator.

Further good practice

  • Establishing effective monitoring of academic and engagement outcomes for individual students, and groups known to be at risk of poor transition— for example, due to gender, culture, language or disability.
  • Providing feedback to primary schools on the effectiveness of transition arrangements and the early progress of children.
  • Involving staff, parents and children—including exited children—in evaluating transition arrangements to ensure continuous improvement.

Social and personal

  • Involved current secondary students in programs to assist primary schools, e.g. band, athletics carnivals.
  • Identified children who might need extra transition sessions.
  • Facilitated contact with older student 'buddy' through a welcome to high school letter.
  • Provided extra transition sessions for identified students.
  • Used observational information to assist in creating class groups.
  • Held a Year 7 orientation day
  • Robust anti-bullying policy was made explicit to children and parents and implemented effectively.
  • Began Year 7–10 peer support/buddy program.
  • Held Year 7 camps early in the school year.
  • Developed a sub-school structure across year levels, to increase engagement and mimic the 'smaller school' feel of primary schools.
  • Developed a 'house' system for non-classroom activities, e.g. school concerts, athletics.
  • Surveyed children and parents on how they found the transition experience.

Management of learning—ensuring that children are seen as active participants in the transition process and in their own learning.

  • Introduced a whole-school approach to meeting the wellbeing needs of children at each stage of schooling, through fortnightly classes on social and emotional learning. Topics include positive relationships, mindfulness, stress and self‑management, study skills, cyber safety and developing resilience.
  • Assisted students to develop learning portfolios, which describe them as learners and give samples of their achievements. This is shared with the secondary school when the child transitions.
  • Identified specific student needs to inform planning and provision of support for students, and to inform class compositions, e.g. Program for Students with Disabilities (PSD) funding pooled to provide an aide who might assist PSD funded and non‑PSD funded students.
  • Held transition evenings for parents and children to meet with school principals and Year 7 coordinators.
  • Organised classroom cohorts to optimise availability and use of educational supports.
  • Provided information to parents about how they can support their children to become professional learners.
  • Developed individual learning plans and behaviour plans for specific children.
  • Sought feedback through parent-teacher interviews.
  • Organised fortnightly sessions for students on managing their wellbeing, including topics on stress and self-management, and study skills.
  • Reviewed individual student's Year 5 National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy data when it became available (after Year 7 testing).

Further good practice:

  • Empowering children to actively contribute to the transition process, in which they are viewed as active participants, e.g. to suggest improvements and identify barriers to successful transition.
  • Helping children understand their preferred style of learning so they can talk confidently about this to their new teachers.

Pedagogy—improving the continuity in teaching and classroom practice between years 6 and 7. It seeks to counter stereotypes held by teachers in each setting and to encourage cross-setting professional support and dialogue.

  • Developed a whole-school approach to pedagogy.
  • Used assessment strategies that support staff to better monitor the progress of individual students and sub-groups of students.
  • Undertook staff training in the use of positive psychology in the classroom.
  • Provided information to parents about teaching and classroom practice.
  • Amended later primary school pedagogy to match secondary school approach.

Further good practice:

  • Developing a mutual understanding of primary and secondary school approaches to teaching and learning.
  • Focusing on preparing children to meet 'new ways of working', e.g. specific group work at primary school.
  • Held team meetings of teachers with contact with a specific class to discuss individual students and teaching strategies for that specific class grouping.

Further good practice:

  • Sharing lesson observations—especially where there are children with specific difficulties.
  • Conduct baseline assessment and testing of Year 7 students, e.g. On Demand Literacy testing, Progressive Achievement Tests in Mathematics, etc.
  • Ongoing monitoring of students' progress by classroom teachers.

Further good practice:

  • Team teaching between Year6 and Year 7 teachers.
  • Teacher exchange and secondment between primary and secondary schools.
  • Both primary and secondary schools evaluating and adapting their joint approach to transition—taking into account the views of parents and children.

Curriculum—improving curriculum continuity between Years 6 and 7, thereby ensuring that secondary school teachers build on the curriculum covered to date and seek to teach to children's strengths.

  • Conducted a program for advanced Years 5 and 6 primary school students to participate in science and mathematics classes at secondary school.
  • Provided information to parents and children about the curriculum.

Further good practice:

  • Two-way dialogue and discussion between primary and secondary schools on adapting the Years 6 and 7 curriculum specifically to match the needs of vulnerable children.
  • Making summer schools available for different groups of children, e.g. gifted and talented.
  • Establishing a common understanding of progress expected of children during transition years, and monitoring outcomes against these.
  • Sharing understanding on the quality of work expected from Years 6 and 7 children across at least the core subjects.
  • Having joint master classes for specific groups—for example, gifted and talented children or children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  • Developed programs to meet learning needs of incoming students—for example:
    • high achievers
    • low literacy
    • Koorie support
    • English as an additional language.
  • Identified children who may benefit from special programs.

Source: Victorian Auditor-General's Office, based on the five 'areas' identified in an analysis of transition activities by Galton, M., Gray, J. & Ruddock, J. (1999) Transitions and transfers: A review of the impact of school transitions and transfers on pupil progress and attainment, Research report no., 131, Homerton College, and adopted by the NSW Department of Education and Communities and the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria.

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