Transition to Secondary School

Pupils’ wellbeing and learning must be maintained as they transition from primary to secondary schools. A pupil’s transition can be complicated by the social, emotional and physiological changes that can negatively impact on their learning. Teachers that understand how these changes impact on their pupils are better placed to help students make positive adjustments to their new school.

Understanding education transitions

What are education transitions?

Most pupils make many transitions in their school lives. They do so when they:

  • begin early childhood education
  • start school
  • change year groups within a school
  • transfer from one school to another
  • shift from primary school and on to secondary school
  • move from secondary school to further education, training and employment 

When pupils change class within or between schools, they must adjust to new surroundings, become familiar with new teachers and peers, learn new ways of working, and make sense of the rules and routines that operate in their classes While pupils are navigating the formal school environment, they are also adjusting to the social changes that happen when changing schools and classes.

Transitions and adolescent development

The transition to secondary school often coincides with important social, emotional and physiological changes in the lives of adolescents. Research suggests there are five key aspects occurring when adolescents move from childhood to adulthood that are useful to consider when thinking about the provision for pupils at transitions.






Young adolescent learners are curious, motivated to achieve when challenged, and capable of critical and complex thinking

Students have opportunities to be curious and to have their thinking extended and challenged.


Young adolescent learners have an intense need to belong and be accepted by their peers while finding their own place in the world. They are involved in forming and questioning their identities on many different levels.

Students’ need to be social and to know about themselves, is met through a culturally responsive programme and a classroom culture that celebrates diversity.


Young adolescent learners mature at varying rates and go through rapid and irregular physical growth, with bodily changes that can cause awkward and uncoordinated movements.

The programme caters well for students’ needs to be physically active.

Emotional and psychological

Young adolescent learners are vulnerable and self-conscious, and often experience unpredictable mood swings

Teachers are sensitive to the emotional and psychological changes that are happening to students.


With their new sense of the larger world around them, young adolescent learners are idealistic and want to have an impact on making the world a better place.

There are opportunities for students to participate in decision-making that affects their life within the school.


Transition from Primary to Secondary School

Students need to make positive adjustments to their new school and classes so that their wellbeing is maintained and their learning is coherent and continuous. Pyrcroft Grange Primary School has very close links with three local secondary schools; Chertsey High, Matthew Arnold and Jubilee High as we are all part of Bourne Education Trust. Staff across the schools collaboratively work together to deliver an effective transition programme.

The transition programme involves:

  • Year 6 and Year 7 subject leaders exploring the curriculum offer, so primary schools can ensure children are equipped with the appropriate knowledge and skills and secondary schools can ensure a child’s future learning builds upon their prior experience and achievements.
  • Year 7 leaders visit and observe children within the primary school and have a professional conversation with Year 6 staff.
  • A clear, concise transition programme is set for the Summer Term for pupils to attend transition days at their chosen secondary school. Additional days are planned for vulnerable children.
  • Close links have been formed to ensure the smooth transition of data and key information.
  • Heads of the primary and secondary schools meet each half term.

Click here for information from Surrey County Council on applying for a secondary school place.



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