Moving to High School is one of the key moments in a child’s life, full of excitement, questions and anxiety. For some pupils, particularly those with Additional Support Needs (ASN), these anxieties can be great and, without appropriate support, can threaten a successful start to High School. In order to lessen anxieties and improve children’s confidence in making the transition, James Gillespie High School’s Support for Learning (SfL) Department has developed a comprehensive Enhanced Transition programme.
From January, Support for Learning and Guidance staff at the High School visit Sciennes to discuss the support needs of Primary 7 pupils with the DHT P5-7, Support for Learning Teacher and P7 staff. For pupils with more complex ASNs, High School staff are invited to attend our P7 Child Planning Meetings in April and May to allow High School staff to meet with those children’s parents, teachers and any relevant professionals. These meetings allow the High School to gain an understanding of any specific challenges that children may face during transition and whilst at high school, allowing appropriate support to be put in place. All of the information gathered during visits is shared with all High School staff, both in a confidential report issued before the three day visit and during a training session on the first in-service day in August.
In June, all P7 pupils visit the High School for three days. Between Easter and mid June, the Support for Learning department at the High School run two Transition Support Groups. The groups consist of around 10 pupils from P7 within JGHS Cluster whom primary schools feel may find transition particularly challenging, be it due to an ASN, anxiety, social issues or behavioural issues. The groups are staffed by a SfL teacher and a Pupil Support Assistant and meet for two hours a week for six weeks. These groups have been hugely successful at helping pupils build relationships with key staff at the High School, enabling them to get to know the school buildings and allowing staff to get to know the pupils. During the course of the group, pupils make a video about the school, interviewing staff and highlighting the areas of the school which the pupils are particularly excited about. The pupils take the video back to their primary schools and show it to their peers. Pupils who have taken part in the groups report significant decreases in their anxiety levels and an increase in confidence, not only with moving to high school, but also with their relationship with their peers.
Sciennes Enhanced Transition
Sciennes’ Support for Learning Specialist, Ms Paula Gilhooly, is currently developing an Enhanced Transition programme for those P7 pupils who may not be eligible for attending JGHS’ six week Enhanced Transition programme, but would still benefit from some additional support in making the transition to high school.
Non Catchment Enhanced Transition
Contact is established and maintained with all state and private schools receiving our pupils in S1 to ensure a smooth Transition to secondary school for all our pupils. Pupils transferring to other secondary schools may also be put forward as potential eligible candidates for similar Enhanced Transition programmes, where appropriate.
Please feel welcome to contact school with any queries or concerns.
Ms Lucy Gallagher, P5-7 Depute Headteacher