The new system of transferring pupils from primary school to secondary schools has been described as a success before it's even gone live.
From this September, children who were in year six at primary school before the summer holidays will be starting at their secondary schools based on the new 'feeder school' system rather than the previous selective or catchment school system.
Headteachers and leaders in education have already provided positive feedback about the new system which has been in place for transition between primary and secondary schools for the first time this year, and has already seen pupils undergoing transition days to their new high schools.
Under this new model, all students in a primary school will transfer together to the same secondary school regardless of where in the island they live.
Parents have still got the option of sending them to one of the grant-aided colleges, or to submit an out of catchment request to attend a different secondary school, but the majority will transition together.
Education, Sport and Culture says this has already allowed 'many more students to transfer to secondary school with their friends and has strengthened relationships between the secondary schools and their feeder primary schools'.
Among the supportive headteachers is Helen Shepherd, Headteacher of St Mary and St Michael Catholic Primary School. She said:
“The feeder school system has worked particularly well for the pupils of St Mary and St Michael. As a Catholic School our catchment is island-wide. Therefore, under the old system our Year 6 pupils were scattered across all secondary schools. This was particularly impactful for smaller schools as frequently a small number of our pupils found themselves entering secondary school alone - without their peer group. However, the new feeder school system has resulted in our Y6 pupils all transferring to the same secondary school which is great news for them during this time of transition. Yet, there still remains flexibility within the system for those pupils who live outside of our catchment feeder school.”
Pictured: The Head of St Mary and St Michael Primary School has praised the new feeder school system which will see most of her year 6 pupils transferring to St Sampson's High together.
ESC says there is clear evidence that transition between schools can lead to a drop in the rate of academic progress. In part it says this is because secondary schools are often unaware of what students have learnt at primary school, leading in some cases to unnecessary repetition and in others to gaps in learning being left unfilled.
The committee says 'further improving Guernsey’s existing transition arrangements will be a significant advantage in helping to avoid this Key Stage 3 progress dip'.
Liz Coffey, Executive Headteacher of the island's States run Secondary Schools, said:
“The feeder system is already developing better links between the primary and secondary phases and this will strengthen in the future. Because of the clear links between schools, it has been possible for more conversations and visits to take place between secondaries and the primary schools they are linked to. As well as developing a detailed understanding of individual students’ needs, teachers havestarted to look at the curriculum in detail. This will support planning clear curriculum progression to ensure secondary schools are building on prior learning as far as possible. The school leadership team are exploring the option of creating transition roles within the new 11-18 school to work more closely with primary schools,including with students with additional transition needs.”
The links between primary and secondary schools are shown above, for the academic year that has just finished.
Like the cohort who will start secondary school in September, students who have just finished Year 5 and are moving into Year 6 will move to all four secondary schools following the relationships set out above. The following cohort, the current Year 4s moving into Year 5, will move directly to the new Colleges on either the Beaucamps or St.Sampson’s sites as shown above.
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