Starting a new school is an exciting, though often anxious time for both Year 6 pupils and their parents. At West Hill we recognise that a successful transition from primary to secondary school can have a positive impact on the future happiness and success of all our pupils and we take every step to ensure that this happens.
A new school brings a different ethos, a different way of learning and different expectations. We acknowledge these differences and have in place a transition programme that allows each individual to settle into his new environment and make the most of his time at West Hill.
Part way through Year 6 we begin the process of working in partnership with our primary feeder schools to collect information both academic and pastoral, that will help each pupil’s transition.
The SENCO attends annual Statement Reviews in Years 5 or 6 wherever possible and has close links with Primary Year 6 teachers and their SENCOs to ensure any special educational needs are provided for.
The Head of Year 7, oversees a team of six enthusiastic and dedicated Form Tutors. Tutors Groups are carefully constructed in the hope that the most appropriate staff are placed with the most appropriate pupils. Teaching groups are, in the first instance, based on prior attainment in Year 6 and the results of baseline tests in the different subject areas. Groups are banded on ability in English, Maths Science, History, Geography and MFL and movement, between groups, is reviewed on a regular basis. Mixed ability teaching takes place in Technology, Art, PE, Music, RE and ICT.
Peer mentoring is offered to Year 7 pupils who may need an extra layer of support in making a successful transition to West Hill. This programme, called The Learning Challenge, helps build confidence, self-esteem and encourages a more positive participation in school life. Peer Mentors work with all Year 6 pupils on Induction Day and provide younger pupils with an initial, accessible point of contact from which to seek information, support and build life skills in a language and manner that is both familiar and acceptable. Their work is invaluable in contributing to our pupils’ experiences and to the ethos of the school.
What can you do to help your son make a successful transition to West Hill?
- Plan the journey to school. If it involves travelling on public transport alone for the first time practice the journey with your son and then encourage him to try it alone or with a friend.
- Ensure you purchase the correct school uniform and PE Kit. Assist your son by buying him the appropriate stationary for school.
- Encourage your son to discuss any hopes or anxieties about starting secondary school. Dispel any inappropriate myths which are passed down annually to Year 6 pupils. Talk openly about any nagging fears and don’t hesitate to contact school if you have any questions which may need answering.
- Persuade him to get involved in extracurricular activities. Have a go at a new sport, learn a musical instrument, and join the Chess Club or the Cookery Club. Try something once before you decide it’s not for you.
- Encourage him to organise himself – to pack his own bag for the next day and gradually become more independent.
- Support him in competing homework by establishing a workable routine.