Thursday, 7 February 2008

Primary pupils who fear transition

One in six pupils feels unprepared for the transition from primary to secondary school, with many of them worried about being bullied. And their fears are justified: a quarter are likely to be bullied at their new school. Secondaries share their apprehension, rarely trusting information from feeder primaries. But pupils' anxiety largely disappears by the end of their first term, helped by several initiatives.

Researchers from the Effective Pre-School, Primary and Secondary Education project found many pupils worried whether they would make friends or keep up with work at secondary.

Bullying was the key obstacle to transition. A quarter of Year 7 pupils had some experience of bullying at school, and a third of pupils with special educational needs said they had been bullied. Pupils from disdvantaged backgrounds found it hard to settle, with three-quarters struggling to get used to new routines.

Measures such as information booklets and open days helped to ease anxiety. Many schools used the same work books in both Years 6 and 7 to create a sense of continuity. Some schools ensured that the new Year 7 began a day before the rest of the pupils.

However, researchers said, "Secondary schools do not appear to trust the data on children provided by primary schools at Year 6 level, and this leads to a system of baseline re-testing of all children at Year 7."

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