South Wirral High School has strong links with all the local primary schools. We pride ourselves on our ability to ease the transfer between the two phases of schooling; recognising that the children, and you, the parents and carers, can be very apprehensive during this time.
Working with our partner Primary Headteachers
At South Wirral High School, we host ‘Extended Schools Meetings’ every half term involving Primary Heads from the seven immediate primary schools. We discuss a variety of topics including government priorities and educational changes. When appropriate, we invite visiting professionals to attend. The most recent topic of debate has been ‘life after levels’. This issue has made headlines recently, with a headteacher stating:
“What a pupil needs to do to be graded a 4b, for example, is a meaningless conversation,” she says. “Whereas talking about how to improve their multiplication of decimals is helpful.”
Outreach to support the needs of our Primaries
Two of our PE and Sports Specialists work in six of our feeder Primary schools, delivering PE across the critical stages. Our Sports Specialists hosts and run extra-curricular clubs and intra-school tournaments. Inter-school activities bring pupils from different primary schools together throughout the year and give students an opportunity to use the extensive facilities at South Wirral High School.
What Ofsted say: ‘The primary school sports funding is exceptionally well spent. With the support of a very effective physical education teacher, the school provides an exciting range of activities for pupils and children in the early years, including African dancing and multi-skills, together with training for staff. Pupils are encouraged to engage in competitive sports, including in football and netball, and participate in a broad range of after-school clubs, including cricket, athletics and rounders.’ (Heygarth Ofsted 2015)
We also employ a Key Worker, who works in eight of our feeder primary schools, as well as our own, working with the most emotionally vulnerable children on a regular basis.
Visits to Primary Schools
The Assistant Headteacher and all four Assistant Heads of House attended 21 feeder primary schools this year to talk to teachers about both the pastoral needs of the students and their academic levels across the board. The staff spent time talking to every child, relaying any anxieties or fears they may have about leaving the secure, familiar grounds of their primary school and ‘Moving on up’ into secondary education.
We have established ‘Transition Plus’, a programme to support our most vulnerable children coming from primary schools; they take part in personalised transition arrangements.
Experiencing life at South Wirral
We host a Team Building Day in June which allows year 6 students from the different schools to meet and work together on fun team building activities. It helps pupils establish new friendships in preparation for starting at a secondary school in September and also allows the year 6 pupils to meet the students from South Wirral High School.
We also host a ‘Welcome Day’ and ‘Welcome Night’ in July, for all the year 6 children from all the different primary schools. During this day, students are put into their House groups and work with their Head of House and learn about the ethos and culture of South Wirral. They have the opportunity to meet and work with both our staff and students, experiencing a range of different subjects. The ‘Welcome Evening’ allows the parents the opportunity to find out as much information as possible about South Wirral, the systems, expectations, etc. and a link is established with their child’s Head of House before they start in September. ‘Moving on Up’ booklets are issued to both parents and students.
We work with our partner primary schools to understand prior learning, to ensure we build on this during KS3.
Student Achievement Passport
Every child who comes to South Wirral High School from year 6 completes a ‘Student Achievement Passport’ with their primary teachers’ help and support.
As a school, we recognise many factors that may impact on children, transitioning from primary to secondary education.
“It can take as long as Easter of year 7 to get the students back to the level of writing they were producing at SATs in Year 6’ (Powerwrite Training)”
The Student Achievement Passport is comprised of the best piece of work completed in year 6, along with a National Curriculum level and sub level, in as many subjects as possible. We also request a copy of each Childs’ report with subjects and sub-levels on; a practice Maths SATs paper, a completed booklet highlighting anything significant in Drama, Dance, Music and PE e.g. Music grades, attendance at community clubs, etc.
Criteria for work going in the folder
Work identified by the teacher in discussion with the child, as the best piece of work based on ability.
The files are collated at the end of year 6, and they are brought into school on ‘Welcome Day’.
The piece of English work is copied so each member of staff teaching that child can have evidence of that’s child’s literacy levels at the start of September.
Year 7 teachers use this work as a starting point during the first lessons; they remove the piece of subject specific work and a piece of English work and firmly secure it to the front of their books, if relevant, or keep it for reference.
Staff can clearly see the level a child is capable of before they even start work. For example, a piece of artwork can inform the teacher of a child’s ability, meaning the teacher will not have to wait six weeks to complete a piece of work to assess ability.
The Student Achievement Passport has been highlighted as Outstanding Excellence by Leading Edge, a national network for high-performing secondary schools who are committed to: working in partnership to raise achievement.
Supporting our disadvantaged students
Summer school takes place over two weeks; the target groups are the most vulnerable; low ability children; those on Pupil Premium and disadvantaged students.
Ensuring a smooth transition
Year 7 students and parents have a meeting with their form tutor in November to review how the transition has been for their child and progress to date.
Click below for transition guides for both Parents and Students:
‘Moving On Up – A Parent’s Guide
‘Moving On Up – A Student’s Guide’