Only a few weeks ago, our Rising Year 7 students and their families learned that they would be joining Wallingford School in September 2023. We’re really looking forward to meeting everyone who will be joining our community next academic year. For some, the school may already be a familiar place due to already having siblings here or attending community clubs at the school in the evening, and to others it may be an entirely new experience for the child and family. We know this can be a time full of excitement or nerves for those involved; in truth it is often a combination of both. Sometimes this is eased by the children appearing to outgrow primary education and they are considered to be ready for their next step in their educational journey, whereas others wish to stay just a little longer in a setting that is so familiar to them. The next few months will prove exciting and reassuring for everyone joining us in September with preparations already well underway to support the transition to secondary school and the inevitable change.
Here at Wallingford School, we know that the first contact with us is just the beginning and sometimes transition can take months or even years – each student is individual and although a particular approach to transition is key when working with many children, families and primary schools, we relish getting to know our new Year 7 students over the course of their first year here in particular. As a key part of their support network, we have enjoyed meeting families too. Many attended our Parent and Tutor Evening and separately our SEN Forum Evenings in Term 1, and this contact continues through Parent Evenings, meetings with individual teachers and tutors, and even at the front of school or in the bus bay as students are dropped off in the morning. As we approach the Easter break and head towards the final two terms of the academic year, I’m reminded of our volunteers for our Open Evening back in October and the confidence our current Year 7 students showed as they guided our Rising Year 7 students around what was then still a new school to them. Their enthusiasm was infectious, as was their desire to show off their new school to others – it’s always a pleasure to show families around our school and this was felt by our Year 7 students on that evening too.
There is no doubt they are embracing everything there is to offer at secondary school. For some this means joining some of the clubs available at lunchtimes or after school, a role in the school production, taking part in house competitions and activities, enjoying playing football at lunchtime with their friends and getting used to the rhythm of the year. For everyone, it means making the most of the great teaching and learning across the curriculum and in recent weeks it’s been great to share this with our catchment school Year 6 teachers, SENDCOs and Headteachers as they visited the school and we dropped into lessons to see this in action.
The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families describes a successful transition as developing new friendships and maintaining good self-esteem and confidence; showing an increasing interest in school and schoolwork; getting used to their new routines and school organisation with ease; and experiencing continuity in learning. Our older students are great ambassadors and model this extremely well, making it easy for students to pick up the expected behaviours in school but we also know that for some there will be ups and downs – that’s why it is important to continue to work together and to get in touch if you have any worries about your child at any point.
I have the pleasure of teaching and working with Year 7 students in my role as a classroom teacher and Deputy Head, and it’s great to see that they are embracing life at Wallingford School.
- Mrs F Lewis, Deputy Headteacher