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The move from primary to secondary school has become better organised ...
The move from primary to secondary school has become better organised

for children, teachers and parents, but much remains to be done to

make sure that children's academic progress is maintained, new

research shows.

The DfEE-commissioned report 'The Impact of Transitions and Transfers

on Pupil Progress and Attainment' examines both the move from one

school to another, and the move from one year group to the next

within a school. The research was conducted during the first six

months of this year.

The report says that the settling-in process is improving because

more schools are using induction programmes to familiarise pupils

with the learning they encounter when they start secondary school.

But there is a dip in academic progress for too many pupils

transferring into schools. Some of these pupils fail to achieve

better results at the end of the year following transfer than they

got one year previously in their feeder schools.

Welcoming the research report, schools minister Jacqui Smith said:

'The government's 1,200 summer schools and Key Stage 3 Literacy

Intervention Programme are addressing the dip in performance

following pupils starting secondary school. Support for schools is

also available through the Standards Fund to make the transfer

process focus more on standards and expectations as well as social

and organisational factors.

'It is increasingly recognised that there has been for many years a

drop in educational attainment following the transfer of a child to

secondary school, but until now we were not fully aware of the

factors contributing to this.

'Some children can face problems coping with a variety of teachers

and managing to concentrate and learn across a wider range of

subjects during the school week. Other pupils can find themselves

repeating work from the previous year when they expect subject

content to be new and challenging. Teachers' expectations of pupils'

learning were found to be low in many cases.

'But the evidence suggests that schools have been increasingly

successful in managing the move from primary to secondary school.

Induction programmes have become more user-friendly with the result

that fewer pupils are experiencing anxiety about the move to the new


'Schools need to make sure that children's academic work does not

suffer. The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority has been piloting

bridging units to enable pupils to start a piece of work in the last

year of the primary school and complete it in the first term of the

secondary school.

'New technology is being used to promote more efficient transfer of

records between schools, to improve liaison between teachers and, in

some cases, to enhance learning, for example when specialist subject

teachers from the secondary school provide lessons for primary pupils

by means of video-conferencing. The transfer of pupil's academic

records between schools will be made easier with the introduction of

common transfer forms later this autumn. The forms, which carry pupil

assessment details, will ensure that secondary schools receive

useful, easy to understand information about children's ability.'


1. Maurice Galton, Jean Rudduck and John Gray at Homerton College,

Cambridge, were commissioned to review and evaluate the research on

the effects on pupils' progress and attainment of transition and

transfer. Schools and LEAs were also approached to review current

effective practice. The researchers have drawn up proposals for phase

two of the research which will involve schools adopting strategies to

improve pupils' learning following transfer and transition.

2. Copies of The Impact of Transitions and Transfers on Pupil

Progress and Attainment, Research Report No. RR131, are available

from DfEE publications, PO Box 5050, Sherwood Park, Annesley,

Nottingham, NG15 0DJ, tel 0845 60 222 60 priced£4.95. Alternatively


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