For students across the country the transition has been made even more difficult by the lockdown during the coronavirus.
The usual face-to-face visits and group meetings in schools to prepare pupils for the next stage in their education journey have all been cancelled following Government guidelines on social distancing.
At Wykham Park Academy in Banbury a digital alternative using video calls and meetings has been set up to support year six pupils and ensure they have a successful start at the secondary school in September.
Justine Williams, senior assistant principal at Wykham Park Academy, has provided some tips for parents to prepare for the return to school next week, and for the start of secondary school later this year.
Wykham Park is part of the well-established Banbury Partnerships initiative which funds a numeracy and literary network for primary schools in the area and has allowed the academy to build excellent working relationships with teachers and leaders at feeder primaries.
Ms Williams said: ‘’The transition process and the work that goes into it is an investment. You’re investing in the students.
‘’The primary schools have had these children for six years and they want to know that the little people that they have nurtured and helped to grow are going to be looked after when they go to secondary school.
‘’One year we had lots of students from Harriers Academy coming to Wykham Park and they all used different coloured papers for potential dyslexia issues. As I had already been liaising with the school we knew to order different coloured exercise books for the students.’’
This year, Ms Williams said virtual meetings will be set up to answer questions that are worrying year six students and for her to meet teachers.
Staff at Wykham Park, which has a Good Ofsted rating and is part of the Aspirations Academies Trust, have also been preparing videos for new pupils that provide virtual tours of the school’s departments and to introduce teachers.
Ms Williams added: "A lot of parents have huge insecurities about supporting their children when it comes to preparing them to go to secondary school.
‘’This year parents will have had their children at home since March and have developed secure home-based routines and great attachments to each other. I can imagine that this would now compound their fears associated with starting a new school with new staff and new students.’’
Ms Williams said the following four tips will help parents with the return to school from June 1st for year six students and the process of a child starting secondary school in September.
1. For year six students going back next week, make your daily lockdown exercise a walk to the school so children can start to familiarise themselves with the route again (if it is in preparation for September the journey should be to the secondary school in the summer holidays).
2. For year six students planning to return from June 1, set children the task of packing their backpack for school so they start to get in the habit of organising themselves for school. Those not planning to return to school until September can start this activity towards the end of the summer break.
3. Build in a daily routine to get up and ready for school, many children will have been allowed to have delayed starts to the day if they have been home schooling. If they are returning from June 1st, now is a good time to get into the routine of setting an alarm and waking up at 7am.
4. Children need reassurance and the justification of why you are asking them to do it get ready for school with a routine. Reassure your child, that yes, they will be scared but they have met the new teachers who will be looking after them. It’s about trying to reduce the fear and anxiety of parents and students.