Coping With Change: The Transition Triangle

Monday, 2nd October 2017

Coping With Change: The Transition Triangle

Moving to a new school can be a daunting prospect and an overwhelming time for children and parents alike. It is acknowledged that a thriving child may lose potential during transition periods between nursery, primary, secondary and further education and there is currently a lot of work being undertaken by educationalists focused around ‘The Wasted Years’. As a senior leader in charge of transition, I found that having a continual open door policy and running a variety of induction and taster days, contributed significantly towards providing effective help in the success of the transition process.

However, there are actions that parents can take to support the transition process as well:

  • Build your child’s confidence – Encourage your child to join clubs and take part in enrichment activities throughout the school. Get them to do things for themselves. Help them develop new skills and become more independent.
  • Listen to your child’s fears – Your child may be anxious and afraid their concerns may appear trivial. For instance, if they become lost in the maze of corridors, what should they do? They could make their way to the school office or find a pupil or teacher to direct them.
  • Know your child’s attainment – Your child’s secondary school should work closely with the partner primaries to ensure they know the standard and level of work a child has reached, enabling teachers to target appropriate interventions from day 1. Parents having this awareness, and the confidence to discuss this with the school, is key to a pupil’s success.
  • Encourage your child to make new friends – As a senior leader I always reminded all our pupils that being a good friend, especially to shy and quiet children, is one way to make new friends. Support your child to make friends by asking your child about them, as well as encouraging your child to invite friends home.
  • Engage with your child’s school – Don’t just celebrate what’s happening in the school, but actively engage with the school and ensure that it is part of their ethos. This helps to instill high expectations, which will be sensed by your child and helps them to build confidence, determination and independence.
  • Contact your child’s school – Going to secondary school is a great opportunity for a fresh start: new teachers and new friendships. Give your child a few weeks to settle in and ensure you know who to contact for any situation.

In my experience, children who have a successful transition typically expand their friendships and display higher levels of self-esteem and confidence. A carefully coordinated plan, which involves the triangle of pupil, parents and school all working together, will ensure your child has a happy transition leading to improved achievement, attendance and behaviour.

Dean Thomas-Lowde
Partner – Castles Education