P7 to S1 Transition

Effective Transition

We work closely with James Gillespie’s High School (JGHS) throughout the year to support an effective transition to S1. The Depute Headteacher, P5-7, liaises with pupils and parents to support a smooth induction and start to secondary school.

Sciennes Primary is one of six primary schools which feed into James Gillespie’s High School, along with James Gillespie’s Primary, Tollcross Primary, Preston Street Primary, Royal Mile Primary and Taobh na Pairce.

Pupil Support Staff, Support for Learning Staff and Subject Leaders at JGHS work closely with the Depute Headteacher, P‐7, Primary 7 teachers and the Support for Learning teacher to ensure clear information on progress, attainment and needs is supporting our learners make a positive and successful transition from P7 to S1.

JGHS Transition events for families are advertised each year and include Parents’ Information Sessions and Tours of JGHS, which Primary Seven pupils are encouraged to attend. S1 Transition is led at JGHS by DHT Ian Porter.


  • JGHS Open Event for families


  • Transition queries can be discussed at Sciennes’ Parent Consultation Evenings
  • Some parents will be approached about potential inclusion of their child in JGHS’ Enhanced Transition programme
  • (Please note there is no JGHS Concert in December)


  • Families receive confirmation of catchment school place to home address
  • Parents can begin the process of submitting a non-catchment school Placing Request, if they wish


  • Aim to submit out of catchment placing requests by end of term 20 December


  • JGHS staff begin liaising with Sciennes staff


  • P7 Pupil Profile and Pupil Choices Proforma completed and shared with parents
  • Parents will be notified by letter if their child has been selected to be included in the JGHS Enhanced Transition programme.


  • Parents are notified of the success or otherwise of Placing Requests for non-catchment schools
  • Enhanced Transition groups begin a six week programme of visits to JGHS
  • JGHS Pupil Support Staff visit classes and meet with Sciennes staff


  • JGHS SfL staff attend P7 Child Planning Meetings at Sciennes
  • JGHS Pupil Support Staff and former pupils visit school to give a presentation to P7
  • JGHS Parents’ Meeting which P7 pupils can attend
  • Health and Wellbeing Transition Event for all Cluster P7 pupils
  • Three Day Visit to JGHS

The Support for Learning Department at JGHS has a very well established Enhanced Transition programme for pupils who would benefit from additional support in making the transition to secondary school. [Follow link for more information.] Participation in the programme is discussed with parents, pupils and staff ahead of submitting nominations for inclusion. Pupils transferring to other secondary schools may also be put forward as potential eligible candidates for similar programmes. Ms Paula Gilhooly, Support for Learning Specialist at Sciennes, is currently developing a programme for those P7 pupils who may not be eligible for JGHS’ six week Enhanced Transition programme but may still benefit from some additional support in making the transition.

Pupils complete a P7 Transition Profile which is given to JGHS Pupil Support Team staff and will be shared with parents before it is submitted. In March, P7 pupils are also asked to identify pupils they would work well with in an S1 class. These choices will be discussed with you and your child at Sciennes’ Parent Consultations. Whilst JGHS Pupil Support Team staff endeavour to allocate pupils at least one of their choices in their S1 class, please note that this is not always logistically possible for several reasons, for example siblings being allocated to the same House. However, both Sciennes and JGHS staff will aim to take into account any strong parental wishes, so please make these known to us at Parent Consultations in March or by appointment.

A whole day Health and Wellbeing Cluster Transition event for P7 pupils, ahead of a three day pupil visit to James Gillespie’s High School, is organised before the summer holidays and children from other Cluster catchment schools will have the opportunity to meet and get to know each other and their teachers. Pupils transferring to non catchment schools will attend Transition days at those schools.

jghs logo

Catchment Secondary School

James Gillespie’s High School
57 Lauderdale Street
EH 9 1DD
Tel: 0131 447 1900
8.40am start–15.40 finish Monday–Thursday
8.40am start–12.55 finish on Friday
Registration every morning 8.40–8.50
Break 25 minutes
Lunch 40 minutes

Catchment and Non Catchment 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.

Please feel welcome to contact school with any queries or concerns.

Jenni McGrouther Acting Depute Headteacher


Catchment Secondary School

The City of Edinburgh is divided into catchment areas. Every household in Edinburgh has a catchment area associated with it, where you would be given priority admission (with the exception of Gaelic education provision).

Please note that your nearest secondary school may not be your catchment school and that attending Sciennes does not entitle you to a place at James Gillespie’s. [Check the catchment maps links below.] Typically, each year there is a waiting list for places at James Gillespie’s High School where catchment children then non catchment children with siblings already at James Gillespie’s will take priority.

In November, letters are posted from City of Edinburgh Council School Placements to the parents of Primary Seven pupils to confirm the secondary school serving their home address. No further action is normally required if you want your child to attend your catchment secondary school.

Withdrawing Your Child’s Catchment Place

N.B. If you do not intend keeping your child’s place at his or her secondary catchment school, please notify school as soon as possible, since that will free up the place for those children waiting to hear.

Contact Acting HT Lucy Gallagher lucy.gallagher@sciennes.edin.sch.uk who will notify City of Edinburgh School Placements and James Gillespie’s High School.

Non Catchment School Placing Request

Most parents/carers choose to send their children to one of their catchment schools. However, you have the right to express a preference for a different school and this is called a Placing Request. Should you wish to apply for a place at James Gillespie’s High School or another school use the Placing Request form available online at edinburgh.gov.uk/schoolplaces  FROM NOVEMBER. All requests must be submitted by 24th December 2017.

Note that in recent years, as school rolls have increased, there has been a decrease in the number of places available for children living outside the catchment area and this has resulted in high numbers of placing requests being refused.

  1. The Council has agreed a policy for dealing with Placing Requests, and full details are on the Council website. Placing Requests will be granted if possible, however the highest priority is always given to children living within the catchment area of a school. It is important to note that due to rising birth rates it is likely that places for non-catchment children will be limited, even for those with an older brother or sister already attending.  
  2. You will be notified of the outcome of your Placing Request by 30 April.

Catchment Maps of City of Edinburgh Schools:


Adobe_PDF_file_icon_32x32 James Gillespie’s HIgh School Catchment Map

Advice on School Places from City of Edinburgh Council: