I work in a 3 form entry Junior School. We work really hard to make the transition from our partner Infant School a positive and enjoyable process for families and children, and have refined our practice over the years to design an approach that we get very positive feedback about. A group of staff from across both schools came up with our Transition Plan – this is what we do and the order we do things in:
We keep everyone informed about what is happening, including all the key dates.We have a calendar of transition activities that is shared with the staff of both schools as early in the year as possible. The dates are put into the school diary and don’t change – all the other things that happen in a busy school are planned around them. The dates are shared repeatedly with parents and carers so that they know what to expect.
We make transition booklets for targeted children. These include pictures and information about the school and key people. They are made with the children, who often make repeated visits to take photos, meet staff and become familiar with the setting.
Our SENDCo meets the parents and carers of SEN children to discuss how we will make the transition process work for them.
Face to face handovers. We allocate two staff meetings for teachers to spend time talking to the teacher of their new class – one to listen and one to tell. This happens across the whole Federation, and includes sharing any information about EAL and low level safeguarding issues.
Our Year 3 teachers spend a morning in the Year 2 classes observing the provision for SEN children, and to meet with all relevant staff.
Year 2 children have an afternoon orientation visit. They come up to the Junior School to learn where everything is and what the routines are. At the same time the Year 3 children return to the Infant School for ‘Memory Lane’ visit. They make a ‘Welcome to the Junior School’ booklet to leave for the Y2 children to read when they return to their class.
Sampling Day. All children spend the whole day in their new class. We have a shared assembly with all 700 children from both schools (quite an experience) where we sing our Federation Song. The children spend a playtime together, and then the Infant School children go back down the hill. We then carry out the same shared activities during the day:
Share the timetable for the day
Share a video that the current class have made to introduce the children to their new year group
Share pen portraits of all adults that work in the class and year group
Complete English and maths focussed activities that link to the curriculum for the new year group
Have a circle time to share aspirations and to allow the teacher to get to know the children
Following this plan has made sure the children, staff and families are all ready for the new school year.