How we are helping schools with the transition between primary and secondary schools – and meeting one of OFSTED’s behaviour goals!

The transition between junior and senior school is a subject of major concern for many schools and school systems. The Mental Health Foundation explains this by comparing the relative simplicity of primary schools with the daily change in secondary schools. There’s also the disruption caused by leaving existing friendship groups and forming new ones, changes in travel arrangements and simply being part of a much larger community – explored in detail in the BBC’s ‘Our School’ series! The impact of the change on students and their learning can be severe and last for several years.  This blog by No More Marking found that in 2017, around 40% of students made no progress in English or Maths in year 7 and refers to a Department of Education study in 2006, that found 19% of students made no progress in English across the whole of Key Stage 3 (years 7-9)!

What can schools do to help?  

Research has been going on into school transition and the associated problems for many years. There seems to be some evidence that ‘all-through’ schools are better at reducing the issues as they share knowledge of the children and how they are taught. One highly detailed report backed this up and showed that teachers were looking for more information and a better understanding of the different approaches to teaching between primary and secondary schools in order to better manage the problem.  

How could video-based lesson observation help? 

At ONVU Learning we’re always looking for new ways to link schools up to solve problems by sharing video footage, and the area of transition was one that we were interested in researching with schools. We were therefore very excited when we were asked by a trust in the North East of England to help them with the issue. 

Our approach sets out to make the most of our strengths – unobtrusive video recording that shows the whole of a classroom coupled with easy sharing of content between schools and teachers that eliminates travel time. We’re already sharing footage between the UK and India and our cloud-based solution makes it simple for UK intra-school transfer. 

We’re looking to enable secondary teachers to observe year 6 pupils for the rest of this academic year in feeder schools – looking at their routines, the level of ability they are showing, especially in core subjects and how they work individually and as groups. Teachers from both schools will be able to observe footage individually and together – the second route adding still greater depth and understanding.  

The process will also help schools with one of OFSTED’s recent demands on secondary schools – identifying students at risk of poor behaviour as soon as possible and providing support for them. Transition is seen as a key part of this – Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman told the BBC, “moments of transition, from an early-years setting to primary school, from primary to secondary, or from one school to another, are very important”. 
Research updates
We’ll keep you updated with our work over the next few months – please get in touch if you’d like us to help with your school’s transition challenges or can think of any other reasons you would like to share classroom footage between schools!  
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The School of the Future Guide is aimed at helping school leaders and teachers make informed choices when designing the learning environments of the future using existing and upcoming technologies, as they seek to prepare children for the rest of the 21st century – the result is a more efficient and competitive school.

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