Transition Policy

abc doesUncategorized2 Comments


Hello to everyone who came to the Network Meeting tonight – and thanks to Paula for providing sandwiches and biscuits – I know, how civilized! I think I will be eating the leftovers until next Wednesday!

As the blog title suggests the meeting was about transition from FS2 to Year One.

I have been working with Blackpool La for the past 18 months looking at just that, focusing on 4 very different schools and their transition.

The remit of the project was to look at children's emotional welfare before during and after the transition and then look at ways of implementing systems and practice to maximise the potential for a smooth transition.

As we all know, it does not matter how effective the teaching or the environment is, if the child is not emotionally settled then their capacity for attainment shrinks.

I split the delegates into Reception and Y1 groups and asked them to generate common issues that they have with transition. Each group had a number in common and I wasn't surprised to find that they are the same ones that I come across wherever I go.

Reception find they are…

  • Asked to get ready for Year One by formalising in the last term.
  • Feel pressure to show academic achievement, often at the expense of emotional welfare
  • Feel driven by data
  • Feel misunderstood by their colleagues further up the school
  • Feel supported in principle by their senior team but not always in practice

I could go on….

Year One find…

  • The academic attainment of the children is not what it used to be
  • They are unclear about the expectations for Foundation Stage
  • Lack of clarity about cross phase planning
  • When does a child become NC and not FS
  • No furniture like FS but an expectation for FS environment
  • No access to outdoor
  • No support staff
  • Fear of the fluffiness of continuous provision
  • Pressure to ' get children ready ' for End of Key Stage Assessments…

I could go on even more!

The impression I get from a lot of Year One teachers is that they feel a great deal of pressure to deliver  ' SATS ready children ' and that many feel they are starting the race from further back.

This would explain the reported rise in alcoholism in Year One staff – or is that just teachers in general?

The easy answer is that there is no easy answer! (NOT very helpful I know). But there are some simple things that you can do that will make it clear what it is that you aspire for your transition to be, even if you are not there yet.

Sometimes you need to be creative with time and resources (physical and human) to ensure that children are familiar with where they are going LONG before they get there.

Transition should start in the Autumn term and be planned in all year. It is not two story swaps at in the last week!

I have attached a ' Policy for Transition ' that will be published as part of the Blackpool research. It is fundamentallybased on the practice of the school where I was head and the bones of it were created by my then deputy Lisa Thelwell. All of the practices that it describes we actually did. It  has been revised and amended over time by various practitioners in various settings and is now a culmination of best practice.

It is a good starting point for adoption, adaptation and discussion.

Knowledge and communication are the two basic elements for guaranteed success. Do the senior team know about and understand the theory behind transition. Has this been shared with the whole staff, governors and parents?

Is there regular communication between all of these parties about how the process is working and how it can be improved?

Is your transition practice based on the needs of your current cohort?

The one over riding message that came out from tonight's meeting was that the theory is great but success very much depends on the practice/philosophy of the people you are working with.

Like the little girl with the littel curl…When it is good it is very,very good. But when it is bad it is horrid! But unfortunately…that is life!

Have a look at this and see what you think Download Transition Policy – ABC (Windows 2010)

Download Transition Policy – ABC 1997-2003

Speaking of the girl with the curl – never knew it was a longer poem. Nice to see that combat play was all the rage with boys even way back then!

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

There was a little girl,
And she had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good
She was very, very good,
And when she was bad she was horrid.
One day she went upstairs,
When her parents, unawares,
In the kitchen were occupied with meals,
And she stood upon her head
In her little trundle-bed,
And then began hooraying with her heels.
Her mother heard the noise,
And she thought it was the boys
A-playing at a combat in the attic;
But when she climbed the stair,
And found Jemima there,
She took and she did spank her most emphatic

Then one day that little girl
Brushed away that little curl
Away from the middle of her forehead
Now she is good
She is very, very good
And nobody thinks she is horrid!



2 Comments on “Transition Policy”

  1. I’ve been thinking about this transition problem for a while now. I talked to year 1 and 2 colleagues this week and they are all keen to do a key stage project, possibly in term 4, perhaps repeated between years 3 and 4 in the final term.
    I liked the idea of working together on a performance, but we have just ‘wasted’ an awful lot of teaching/learning time rehearsing for our christmas production (and read your recent blog about if ofsted were coming would we still do it?). combining that thinking with Jan’s inspiring medium term planning leading to a performance of the bugs school musical, I wonder how I could incorporate all that thinking into something worthwhile for the whole key stage?
    Discuss (joke!)
    As a school we are looking at the Olympic ideals and bringing them into the classroom. Just wondered if anyone had any good ideas that could be used across the key stage. We would like to mix the classrooms up so each had a share of all year groups on an afternoon per week or fortnight for the term.
    comments welcome

  2. Thanks for sharing your policy proposal. By coincidence, we only decided last week that what we needed to assist the smooth transition was some form of training for the parents! some of our biggest issues this year has not been because the children are unsettled but that the parents are. There is more of an ‘open door’ policy in Reception, lets face it, we need that ‘parent voice’, but they do moan about the changes. ‘When the children were in Reception, they had afternoon snack/longer playtimes/more construction etc, etc and you just want to say ‘But they are not in Reception now!’
    I will take your policy back to the team and mull it over. I love the idea of a joint project and swapping classes for teaching is something else we want to organise. thanks for the ideas.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.