12.06.2019 Supporting transition letter
It's hard to believe that it is almost the end of the school year and we are preparing for the children to move on to the next stage in their learning journey. The staff have been busy completing their end of year Teacher Assessments and writing your child's report, all of which will be sent to you towards the end of term.
We recently finalised our classes and staffing arrangements for next year with some new teachers being appointed to replace the ones that are leaving/have left. We do not have a fixed approach to mixing classes each year and often do not do so in some year groups. Instead, we make decisions based on our professional judgement about what would be most beneficial for each year group overall. A great deal of thought and time is put into this process. Our primary focus is, of course, that all children are able to engage in learning and achieve their best. To this end we have gathered information about who their friendship groups are by observing children's interactions in class and at playtimes. This information is used alongside assessment data and ensuring classes are balanced in terms of ability, gender etc. Please be assured that children's emotional wellbeing is part of this decision making. Change of course is, and will always be, a normal part of life and our role is to enable children to build resilience. We pride ourselves on our family ethos and encourage the children to see the whole school as one community they are part of. We often work in mixed class groups to enable children to develop wider groups of friends and learn to work with different people in different contexts.
Preparing for change
We have an extensive and well tried and tested transition programme, planned to ensure that the children feel confident and secure about the move to their new class/school next year. This includes:
· A programme of whole school assemblies and PSHE lessons/circle times in classes focusing on change, how this might make us feel and how to manage those feelings.
· Activities to express and deal with worries about change/uncertainty.
· Transition Days such as the Class Swap where children have visits to get to know the staff in our new year groups/classes.
· Extra visits/activities are arranged for any child who may find change particularly challenging
How can I prepare my child for moving on?
· Start talking to your child about the fact that they will be moving to a new class or school now if your haven’t already
· Keep the conversation casual and focused on the positives
· Talk about change as a positive, exciting opportunity
· Avoid expressing your own doubts, negative thoughts or anxieties to your child.
· Remember that if we try to provide too much certainty and comfort, we are getting in the way of children being able to develop their own problem-solving skills. Overprotecting children from difficult or uncomfortable situations only fuels their anxiety
· If children tell you they are anxious/worried, normalise their feelings. Talk about how you sometimes feel this way too and that it's ok to feel this way. Help your child to develop resilience by talking through strategies to manage their worries. Help them to challenge negative thinking. (For example, you might remind them of how they made new friends last year or talk through how to ask someone to play etc.)
· Remind them that feelings are like clouds. They come and go. We can't stop them coming but we can choose how we look at them.
· Give your child opportunities to share their feelings about their new class/school by drawing pictures or writing messages to a family member or to a favourite toy.
· Prepare your child (and yourself) for the routines for getting to school and back home: tell them what the plan is clearly, including childcare arrangements.
If you or your children are worried about transition you might find the following booklets, which can be found online, useful along with this link:
· The Child's Experience of Primary School
· Positive Parenting -Encouraging Better Behaviour
If you have any specific concerns please talk to your child's teacher, the Team Leader or a member of our Senior Leadership Team. There are lots of sources of help and support for parents including: the Healthy Families Team based at Dovecote House in Beeston.
Thank you for your continued support in ensuring your children have a smooth transition to their new class/school.