For many students and parents the transition from Junior to Senior School is one met with a mixture of both excitement and anxiety. For this reason, staff at the BSN work together to manage the process very carefully. Over the years, the school has established a very experienced group of Junior and Senior School staff who form the Transition Team, led by Monica Davies – Executive Assistant to the Principal.
The objective of the team is to make the transition process as smooth as possible, as Monica explains further, “We are well aware that Year 6 is an exciting but daunting time for the students as they near the end of their Junior School life. The Transition Team meets throughout the year to develop and monitor initiatives aimed at ensuring students feel positive and enthusiastic about the change of Key Stage. Junior School teachers prepare students for the academic, social and emotional challenges they will face with the transition, while the Senior School staff are preparing to receive and take them on in September. We are one school and we aim to provide a seamless transition”. The process begins in earnest in January when discussions take place between the Junior and Senior School transition team members about each individual child to review their strengths, personalities and targets for improvement. This period of the year also presents Year 6 with their first true experience of life at the Senior School, when they spend an entire day familiarising themselves with their future learning environment. Seeing their new surroundings helps to settle any nerves or anxieties the children may have about their big move. There is always a tangible feeling of excitement around Senior School on Transition Day and this year was no exception as some students explained afterwards.
“It felt different having to walk from class to class for each lesson, it was a really fun day and I can’t wait to come back in a few months’ time.” Jonas
10 | Insight
Moving on up
“Wow, it was an excellent day, the teachers were really supportive and gave us lots of confidence. We are very excited and really looking forward to starting in September.” Sarah, Jasmin, Isobel, Holly and Hannah The planning continues throughout the school year, and in June updates are provided to Senior School staff on the progress and attainment levels of each child. At this point, the students themselves are also directly involved in the class forming process. They are asked to identify ‘learning partners’ – friends from any Y6 class with whom they work well. Each child confidentially puts forward 3 names and is guaranteed to have at least one of them in their new class. These choices provide the Transition Team with valuable information which is used to support staff in establishing the new Year 7 tutor groups. Once the students start at Senior School their level of independent learning increases considerably, so throughout Year 6 students are encouraged to become more organised with their learning and day to day routines. Part of this preparation involves adjusting
the homework schedule to align it with the schedule students will follow in Year 7. The BSN recognises that the transition to Senior School marks a significant change in a parent’s life, so the school also takes steps to ensure they’re also supported and informed throughout the period. In May, Year 6 parents are invited to a special information evening during which they have the opportunity to tour the Senior School as well as ask any questions to members of the Leadership Team. The Transition Team have also recently posted a comprehensive set of FAQ’s on Gateway which aims to answer any questions parents may have about the transition process – just click the Learning tab > Moving to Year 7. In July, students return to the Senior School for a second transition day during which they will be grouped into their new classes and have the opportunity to meet their new Form Tutor for the first time. This year, for the first time, there will be a cross-school barbeque for Year 6 students and their parents on Saturday 12 July. The idea of this new event is to provide a more informal opportunity for students, parents and staff to get to know each other. Our current Year 7 students kindly took the time to provide some further reassurance about their experiences of Senior School so far, which may help to quash any uncertainties that current Year 6 children or parents may have about their upcoming move.
“Don’t be too stressed out or over-think things because it is not as challenging as you might think it is.” Lucas “I was worried at first but everyone was really nice and it was reassuring that for the first few weeks we weren’t given homework.” Loretta “It was kind of scary at first but everyone at SSV is really nice and I really like it now.” Esther “The Senior School seemed tricky at the beginning but now it’s alright and it seems different from the junior school but still a fun way of learning.” Pjotr Spring 2014 | 11