Infant to Junior Transition

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.

Priorities

There’s a lot going on at the moment, with huge pressures coming from a challenging assessment system  and a shrinking budget. This will inevitably mean changes to the way we are able to work with our children. There is also a sense of uncertainty in national and international politics that has an unsettling effect on our school community, including our children.

This term, I will do what needs to do be done to make our budget balance. I will also do what I need to do to support teachers and children working with an assessment system that seems to be in a constant state of flux. With these massive things going on it’s even more important to keep our school a calm, happy place where ‘children feel safe and happy and everyone can truly shine’.

I spent a bit of time over the holidays looking for inspirational videos to share with teachers at out non-pupil day. In the end I decided on Rita Pierson’s ‘Every Kid Needs a Champion’. We have watched it before, but the emphasis of the importance of good relationships is something that bears regular repetition.

While looking, I came across a compilation of videos showing marathon runners struggling to get themselves over the finish line. It made me remember how hard the last few weeks of the summer term can be, and made me think about how I need to prioritise my actions to make sure I get to the end of the school year in a fit and healthy state. I also need to prioritise my requests on staff to make sure they feel the same.

This took me back to my #teacher5aday pledges I made in January. The best thing about making these pledges was that it helped me to prioritise my actions for the spring term, and although I was tired at the end of term I felt satisfied that I had achieved some of what I set out to do.

My Pledges were:

#learn

  • I will continue to read, read, read
  • I will listen more and try not to make the same mistakes more than once.

#connect 

  • I will give our Learning Partnership the necessary energy and time so that it has every opportunity to succeed.
    I will continue to use Twitter to learn and share, and to be amused and entertained.
    I will keep talking about what we do in our school to get feedback and celebrate our work, and I will keep listening to help us get better.

#volunteer

  • I will be better at asking for help and listening to the advice of colleagues
  • I will offer help if I think other people might need it, even if they don’t ask for it

#notice

I will go to some new places and take photos of them, with the aim of enjoying the places and getting better at photography.

#exercise

I really like the process of identifying a running event to take part in, training for it and taking part feeling as well prepared as possible. I will enter (and take part in) some 10K races before the end of the year.

My priority for the summer term is to keep my pledges.

In summary, I will:

  • Enter a 10k race in June, and to get ready for this will take part in #OutRunMay again.
  • Make sure our Learning Partnership moves to the next stage of it’s development, hopefully formalising it’s structure.
  • Write a couple of blog posts a month, celebrating what is happening in our school
  • Be reflective, ask for help, and offer help. I will always think about workload before asking anything of anyone else.

To keep our school a calm and happy place, I will continue to work really hard at maintaining positive relationships with our fabulous Y6 children as they get ready to leave for secondary school. I can remember being told years ago by an Educational Psychologist that some children leave a school psychologically before they do physically, and that in their last few weeks they sometimes try to break the relationships they have to help them leave more easily. I will do my best to remember this.

If I can keep these priorities in mind I will hopefully end the term feeling tired but satisfied – not like a marathon runner that sets off too quickly and hits the wall a few miles before the end of the race.