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Mrs Kemp's blog - Preparing for transition

At Gateway School we aim to prepare our children for their important transitions; from starting in Reception, to moving from Key Stage 1 to 2 and, of course, the all-important move to secondary school. Pleasingly, our secondary schools regularly tell us that they can always recognise a Gateway pupil as they are particularly well prepared for their next stage of learning.

We recognise that leaving Preschool behind and entering Reception is a big step for children, so we aim to ensure our children’s experiences are positive so that they settle quickly, learning and developing from day one. The Preschool teachers commence the familiarisation process by bringing the transition children into the Reception classrooms for some special lessons and the Reception teachers visit Preschool to observe the children in action. We also spend time getting to know the children who will be new to our school by contacting their nursery, talking to each child’s key person and arranging visits.  

The highlight of our transition programme is the Teddy Bears’ Picnic in the summer term. It provides a fantastic opportunity for the children to make new friends and to get to know their teachers. Parents have the opportunity to meet their child’s teacher at an information evening held in June,  and the Year Ahead booklet provides a useful guide to explain the format for the year ahead. Our ultimate aim is to ensure the children have the smoothest transition into Reception and that they are well prepared academically for their next stage of learning.

Our internal transitions are also very well prepared. Key Stage 1 children are gently introduced to new members of staff by attending clubs run by Key Stage 2 teachers. House competitions ensure that children see themselves as part of the wider school family and our activity days across year groups enable the children to become familiar with staff members who will be teaching them in years to come. Each year we prepare children by organising visits to their new classroom and our internal handover meetings ensure a rounded picture of each child is shared with their new class teacher.

As our children transition from lower Key Stage 2 to upper Key Stage 2, they begin to follow a secondary timetable, with specialist teachers for each subject to support a greater level of subject understanding and interest. Years 5 and 6 keep their belongings in a locker and use a planner to organise themselves for lessons and homework. The Secondary School open days provide an opportunity for the Seniors to familiarise themselves with the layout of their future school and meet current students. The Seniors benefit from a visit to Gateway by their future school’s Head of Year 7 who will spend time getting to know them as an individual and to explain what the Seniors can expect at their new school. 

Our nurturing environment instils a sense of well being which helps to ensure a comfortable transition from one stage of learning to the next, and our focus on meeting every child’s needs ensures that every child is able to hit the ground running academically and with self-confidence. 

Have a great weekend.

Mrs Kemp

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