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Big Fish to Little Fish: The Transition From Primary to Secondary School

This week saw the beginning of the transition process to the secondary school for students in Year 6 at BISS Puxi.

From August they will be leaving the primary school, a place where they are the most senior members of the school.  They know their teachers and class very well and are familiar with the environment and staff around them.  This will all change in August as they become the most junior members of the senior school.

For some students this can be a bit of a daunting prospect and we want to ensure that they are able to make the transition as smoothly as possible so that they settle quickly into Key Stage 3.  This is why we have begun the process in April and we have a series of activities arranged over the coming months to help and support your child. 

It is also worth remembering that children are remarkably resilient and, given the nature of the international community, they are already used to change and new challenges – this step will be another string to their bow.

Both Year 6 students and their parents attended the transition evening on Tuesday.  The best way to find out what Year 7 is like is to ask the experts – so a team of eight Year 7 students gave an excellent insight into their own experiences this year as the new kids in secondary. 

This included descriptions of the differences between daily routines. For example, in Year 6 students often remain in the same classroom for most of their lessons, working with one teacher and with the same class.  This changes in Year 7 as students have specialist teachers in different classrooms throughout the day. 

Students gave advice on how to organise your time most effectively, using the homework timetable and folders to support your learning.  Our experts were able to offer lots of useful tips on the practicalities of Year 7: organising lockers, topping up lunch cards. They even held a short competition with Year 6 students on tying ties correctly.  Windsor knots definitely require some practice!

Beyond this, our Year 7 pupils were able to inspire their junior peers through describing the many opportunities that they have taken up since moving to secondary school. 

Frederick Tsao gave a great introduction into the key differences between Year 6 and Year 7.  Lydia Hanninen described her entry into the Hong Kong Young Writers Award competition and along with Charlotte Dawson their involvement in Drama through The Crucible and the Aladdin pantomime. 

Mia Crockhart, Julia de Klerk and Naya Thomsen entertained us all with their descriptions of all of the different types of food available in the secondary Dining Hall and how this gives them boundless energy for all of the sports that they have taken part in this year – CISSA football, FOBISIA football, basketball, athletics and swimming! 

George Gawthorpe and Emilio Salazar offered helpful hints on staying organised and keeping on top of homework, as well as describing the gradual increase in independence through Key Stage 3.   We were also treated to two amazing musical performances by George on his trumpet and Natalie Lok on her guzheng.  I’d like to thank all of them for their excellent input.

We also offered advice to you as parents on how you can support your child through the process. If you were not able to make the event, you can download  the presentation from the evening on the Key Stage 3 information page of our website. If you have further questions, we will be delighted to help.

The transition programme will continue through the rest of this term.  Our team of Year 7 experts will be visiting primary school to offer further guidance and answer any questions that your child may have.  On Friday 13 June all of our Year 6 pupils will move to the secondary school for the day and experience a range of lessons to give them a flavour of the exciting learning experiences that they can expect.

But it doesn’t stop there.  In August there are orientation days for our students in Year 7 when they can meet their form tutors and familiarise themselves again with the secondary school environment.  Our tutors will contact you quickly at the start of the term to check that your child is settling in well and to answer any questions that you may have.  We follow this with a Student Parent Teacher Conference (SPTC) very early in the autumn term where you have the opportunity to meet with your child’s teachers.

The aim of this process is to support your child at a time of growing independence, to help them make a smooth transition in all aspects of school life and to encourage them to embrace these changes and make the most of the opportunities that are available to them at the start of Key Stage 3.

We look forward to the next steps and welcoming your child to the secondary school.

- Andrew Lancaster, Head of Key Stage 3

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