Research published in the TES recently highlighted that the pupils who spent their final years of primary school in lockdown will find the step up to secondary school “extraordinarily challenging”, with many unlikely to make the transition smoothly, school leaders have warned.
The research found that 79% of teachers are concerned that pupils leaving primary school this year won’t be emotionally or socially ready for secondary school, while 75% of teachers are worried that incoming Year 7 students will be unprepared academically.
What does this mean for these fraught first weeks of the new term?
- It means sensitivity is key to helping your pupils evolve into mature, self-assured and confident students.
- It means that settling in may take longer and that academic advances may show themselves more slowly.
- It means that socially your new students may need more support and understanding.
Connect before Correct is a phrase that springs to mind for me at this time. In order to help students settle, to help them feel connected to you and their peers and to support them into letting themselves be a part of their new community, the new year 7s in their huge blazers and DofE Expedition-size school bags need to be allowed time to adjust to the new expectations, the new responsibilities and the new buildings (as well as the hundreds of new people, rules, miles of corridors and the amount of places they could get lost).
Connect before Correct means just that – show some confidence in them, show them the boundaries (in the school and your own) and show them some empathy.
We were all new somewhere once and sometimes it’s scary – as a teacher in that scary new place, you can make the difference with your approach.
Empathy and patience are superpowers.
All the best for the best of transitions for all of your students and staff.
PS: Here’s more about why Empathy is so crucial: