As you prepare to welcome the new Year 7 pupils to your school in September, now is a good time to take stock of how well your adapted transition programme has worked in practice. Use our tool to achieve this so that you can identify priorities going forward


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Making the move from primary to secondary school is often one of the most daunting and exciting moments in a child’s school career. But with these unprecedented times, pupils and parents are likely to be feeling more apprehension about this than normal.

As the plan now is for all pupils to return to school in September, you need to factor in that your new Year 7 pupils will have the general concerns about returning to the classroom as well as those associated with moving to a new school.

So what can you do to ensure your transition process is going as smoothly as possible within the new ways of working?

Use this tool to take pause and gain an overview of where you’re at now with the transition experience you are providing next Year 7’s intake to help them best prepare for the move to secondary school in these more unusual times.



Adapting well


Your usual transition programme is likely to be in good shape already – covering the whole range of key transition issues from T&L concerns, wellbeing, additional student needs, strengths and interests of pupils, academic and social strengths and challenges, navigation of and adapting to a new style of school life, and so on.

But this year, given the pandemic, you will have had to adapt a lot of your existing programme to the new situation.

As well as providing remote support and preparation activities for pupils, you will also have had to change your approach to involving parents.

You will need your feeder schools to give you information on how pupils are coping with the remote learning at this time. You will also need them to let you know which students have been in school for the whole period. Then there will be pupils may have had particular difficulties with coping at this time and so on.

You will have had to update the information you give to parents, as well as the way that you disseminate this.

All of this has required quick thinking, and some rapid adaptations to try and fulfil your normal transition programme in a new way.



Taking stock

So now is a good time to take stock of this, to see what has worked well, and which aspects of the transition programme you may need to rethink further. Your focus is on preparing your new students as much as possible for not just joining a new school, but returning to a new way of learning in the classroom.

Our tool aims to help you review where you are at right now, and from there identify which aspects of your new-style transition programme you need to prioritise going forward. Some areas may need adapting further; others may need a completely new approach.

It gives you opportunity to identify any areas you may have missed so you can plan those in. It allows you to identify any specific aspects of your current provision that aren’t working quite so well, and to then plan how to bring about these improvements.

You will also have learned useful lessons along the way to inform you on how to run your transition programme in future, given some form of blended learning could well be required for a while now. So use the tool to also start a record now of ways you could better shape your transition programme for the future.

The content of this tool is viewable below with a free downloadable copy of this tool for you to then print off and use.


New Transition Programme Action Plan


Question Answer Issues that need addressing Action for improvement By when Involving whom Adapting for the future
New approach to transition activities
How have you adapted your transition activities to be used remotely?
Have you adapted your activities to take account of the new ways you school will be operating at this time?
How have you adapted the following aspects of your programme:
  • New T&L approaches?
  • Mentor support?
  • Friendship issues and how best to settle in?
  • Having the right mindset for this change?
  • How to cope with any additional anxieties and where to get support with this?
  • Getting used to going to different classrooms and navigating a bigger school?
  • Building their skills in such areas as:
    • independence?
    • resilience?
    • organisation?
    • social to make new friends etc?
Have you provided interactive transition activities for a more immersive experience?
Are you making good use of video materials for Y6 students to feel as in close contact with the school as possible in these circumstances?
Are you extending your transition work into the summer holidays to provide as much preparation work as possible?
How have your adapted your enrichment activities for remote access?
What lessons have you learned from this year’s enrichment activities that you can use to make improvements next year?
Have you used Social Media as a new way to connect with both parents and pupils?
Pupil Engagement
How are you monitoring take-up of remote access activities?
Are you contacting parents/pupils who you are concerned may need more help to engage with the transition programme?
Have your activities focused on how to build confidence and skills in returning to the classroom?
Do you have a wider group forum for pupils to air their concerns and anxieties about moving to secondary school?
Do you also use this for pupils to share their excitements and hopes on moving to your school?
How have you found new ways to build a sense of community among your prospective new Y7 pupils?
Have you provided pupils with a virtual tour, and provided opportunity for them to ask questions on areas they are unsure about?
Have you used videos of staff introducing themselves to new pupils, including office staff, dinner ladies, SLT, key teachers, pastoral etc?
Have you produced an interactive map to help better familiarise pupils with the school layout remotely?
Have you used video as part of your transition handbook this year to help further familiarise pupils with the physical environment and experiences of their new school?
Do you have a designated email address Y6 pupils can use to email any concerns to either peer mentors or teachers to answer?
Have you used online surveys to find out about your new intake, eg ‘all about me’ questionnaires etc?
Have you made use of Google Classroom to do Q&As with new pupils and/or parents?
Have you used Flipgrid sessions for Y6 pupils to ask questions of current Y7 pupils about how they handled transition?
Have you used Zoom Education meetings for small groups of the incoming Year 7 pupils to connect, share concerns, meet staff etc?
Have your feeder schools provided you with details of their approach to remote learning, so you know what type of T&L experiences pupils have had recently?
Have they updated you on any new pupil concerns with regards to:
  • Wellbeing?
  • Behavioural problems?
  • Physical and mental health needs?
  • Any particular home circumstances that could impact on pupil wellbeing and their learning? Eg bereavements, lack of adult support while home learning etc
Parent/guardian engagement
Have you updated your parent handbook to include all new changes to school life that have been brought in due to the pandemic, eg social distancing, reduced school opening etc?
Have you adapted your parent handbook to an e-format for easy distribution, eg via email, downloadable from your website?
Have you got a list of parents from your feeder primary schools who may not have easy computer access and will need a hard copy posted to them?
Have you ensured all parents have up-to-date information on:
  • New class group sizes?
  • New hygiene and social distancing measures?
  • Uniform requirements?
  • Any equipment/ resources they will need to buy?
  • Tutor groups and how they will work?
  • Support networks?
  • Process for having contact with school, eg with head, class teachers, pastoral team etc?
  • Details of your behaviour policy?
  • Details of your wellbeing policy, eg including bullying policy?
  • Details of your homework policy?
  • Details of your extra-curricular activity provision?
  • Details of your home-school agreement?
  • School navigation information?
  • Home-school agreement?
  • Pupil-school agreement?
Do you have a parent-to-parent support group where new parents can discuss any concerns, seek advice on how to best help their child settle in etc? Eg Facebook group for parents?
Have you adapted your transition information for parents with regards to the changes to the induction programme their child will receive?
Does your revised transition programme cover support with wellbeing at this time?
Does it take account of the fact that more pupils are likely to have increased anxiety, mental health issues, struggles with bereavement etc?
Staffing issues
Have you utilised your staff’s skills to optimal effect in delivering your new style of transition activities?
What areas of your provision going forward could specific staff help with?
What support / resources will they need to carry out those tasks well?
What aspects of the new approach have staff struggled with?
Have you got an effective system in place for staff to feedback any concerns with aspects of the new provision, issues with particular pupils and/or parents etc?
How are you then dealing with any concerns this has raised?


Download a free copy of this tool to print off and use

If you liked this tool and are looking for similar ones to help you in your curriculum/T&L leadership, see our Lead & Learn guides. All include practical tips and improvement tools for you to advance that specific area of your role


Engaging Parents in Learning        Staff development guide for schools    

Have you seen our free Wellbeing Action Plan and Curriculum/T&L Action Checklist?


Is there anything that has worked particularly well in your school’s adapted approach to transition? Any areas that you’ve found particularly challenging?

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