Transition from FS2 to Year 1 presents a unique challenge as children move from the play-based approach of the Early Years Foundation Stage to the requirements of the National Curriculum. To ensure children feel at ease with their transition into Year 1 we focus on the following:
Year 1 teachers work closely with FS teachers and Head of Teaching and Learning to ensure consistent expectations for learning environments as well as providing familiar learning areas and provisions for children to explore. The Year 1 department have developed a purpose-built shared area where children can free-flow in and out of with exciting provision set up linked to their year group topic during non-covid times. During Term 3, FS2 children visit the Year 1 classrooms and take part in an activity morning with their new teacher.
During the first two terms in Year 1, children experience a gradual transition from the play-based approach to teaching and learning they have experienced within the EYFS, to a structure with more whole-class, teacher-led sessions. All children in Year 1 have daily opportunities to access the shared areas, as well as having a free-flow session each week where they can explore all Year 1 classrooms and complete activities linked to their interests during non-covid times. At the start of the year key aspects of the learning environment and pedagogy are familiar to the children, such as areas of continuous provision both inside the classroom. Teachers gradually increase the amount of whole class teaching and independent work, with more whole class lessons delivered alongside opportunities for play-based learning.
FS2 teachers prepare documents for Year 1 teachers, which identifies gaps in children’s learning, highlights the level at which the children have reached in Phonics- RWI, Reading- ORT and Maths - White Rose. Time is given for the EYFS teachers and Year 1 staff to meet to share the EYFS Profile, Pupil Progress and Attainment and pastoral information.
Parent Information Meeting
In Term 3, FS2 parents are invited into school to participate in an information session where the Year 1 Team Leader and Senior Leadership Team share the key differences in Year 1. (Screencastify was used for this year due to covid, this was sent to parents). Information includes curriculum, learning environments, playgrounds, pastoral care, ECA program and home learning. This is an opportunity for parents to ask any questions and to feel prepared to support their child in this transition.
Each year, the Pastoral Team begins the transition process for year groups at the start of Term Three. This process is carefully planned to ensure that class dynamics and individual needs are a key priority.
Parents are sent a Google Form questionnaire to discuss friendships with their children at home. For any children whose parent has not completed the form, the class teacher will discuss friendship requests with them individually. Parents are welcome to meet with a member of the Pastoral Team to discuss any concerns or ask any questions which may affect the decisions of a class placement.
Teacher and Team involvement
The parent feedback, along with teacher judgement, are used in order to allocate the children into smaller groups. Once the groups have been formed, teams, led by year group leaders, work together to create the proposed classes. Specific thought and care is placed upon the groups of children within each class, including SEND, More Able Gifted and Talented, Fragile Learners, Emirati and gender. At this stage, the initial classes are reviewed by the Senior Management and any feedback regarding individuals is given.
Two set dates are planned for in order to trial the classes within their year group setting. Year group leaders, Assistant Heads and the Head of Primary complete a learning walk during this time to observe the classes. Freeflow/PCaRT style activities are planned to allow for interaction and collaboration between children to gauge how they will work together. Feedback is discussed and shared with Year Leaders. If it is required, any changes are made and the transition trial process is repeated until all involved feel that the classes are balanced and suitable for all.
The Senior Leadership Team will look at the expertise of all members of staff and decisions are made on the best teacher to fit the needs of the individuals within a class. Teaching Assistants skills are matched with the needs and support requirements of the class at this stage to allow for the most effective interventions and provisions to be planned for.
Meet the Teacher
All children visit their new classes towards the end of the summer term, spending a morning in their new classroom with next year’s teaching staff. Children engage in a range of activities, discuss the curriculum and have the opportunity to ask questions. All parents receive a ‘Meet the Teacher’ profile and a video about their new teacher to share with their children. This will provide them with some information about their new teacher that can be used for discussion at home over the summer break.
During induction week of Term 1, team time is planned to allow teachers to discuss individual children to ensure the receiving teacher has a good understanding of the learning and pastoral needs of each child. The class profile is shared, which contains relevant information about the children including the Pupil Progress Summary, progress and attainment data, SEN concerns, stages of language acquisition and pastoral and health/medical information. Assessment information on children’s attainment, progress and targets is also shared. The receiving teacher also has access to each child’s end of year school report via Google Drive or from the school Registrar if they are new to school. The SENCO and appropriate member of the Pastoral Team will meet with the team to discuss any SEND, Social, Emotional or Personal information regarding individuals.
Parent/ Teacher Information Meetings
Parents have the opportunity to meet their teacher via zoom before the beginning of term, which provides information about the routines and expectations of the child’s new class and the learning which is planned for the academic year. A timetable and year group ‘How you can help at home document’ are shared with parents at, or shortly, after this meeting. Whilst some activities in the first week of the Autumn term are specifically planned to help children settle into their new environment and get to know the adults who are now working with them, it is our policy to move to a regular timetable as soon as is practicable in order to maximise the children’s learning opportunities.
Across the academic year, students in year 6 have opportunities to be taught by specialist secondary teachers in a range of subjects including Art, Music, PE and Design Technology. The transition between classrooms and relationships built with these teachers prepares them for the Secondary lesson timetable.
During term 2 the Primary and Secondary pastoral team and SEND work closely together identifying areas of support needed for academics and social/emotional wellbeing. From this, learning walks are then completed by SLT to create clear pathways for the students' development as they approach their secondary education.
Parental and Student Involvement
In term 3 a number of workshops are put on to familiarise students with the digital platforms used in Secondary lesson setups. There is then a transition day where existing year 6 students and year 6 students from other schools who will join SBS Secondary take part in collaborative activities led by secondary teachers. They have opportunities to work in secondary classrooms and familiarise themselves with everything that year 7 has to offer. Current secondary student leaders help during the day and give a short Q&A session for year 6 children about any concerns they may have. From this students then complete a reflection task to provide feedback and any questions that they may have. Further learning walks are then scheduled to work closely with individuals. The school then shares pupil information between Primary and Secondary Key stage leaders, including the end of KS2 attainment levels and important pastoral information. Records of safeguarding concerns are also passed on. The achievement of the cohort of students leaving primary school is celebrated through a Year 6 graduation social evening as well as a graduation ceremony for the students, parents and school community.
Due to the International setting of Dubai, it is a priority for us at Safa that families are supported in the transition process at any point throughout the year.
Prior to Starting
The Head Teacher of both Primary and Secondary, as well as Assistant Heads work closely with the school Registrar throughout the admissions process. Children who require additional information based on their school report findings will be invited in to complete an assessment or in class observation. Once a child has been offered a place, any relevant information regarding the class, teacher profile, key dates and timetables are sent to new parents prior to starting at school. All new families are invited to an arranged visit prior to the child’s first day of school so that they can see their classroom and the school. Peer buddies will be identified from this day so that the child has a friend when they do arrive for their first day.
As it is not always possible for families to attend a pre-visit, due to relocating to a new country, a member of the Pastoral Team will greet the child at reception on their first day. The class teacher will ensure that the child’s buddy looks after them and helps them to settle into routines. A brief tour and Q&A session will be held with the student and parent to ease them into school life.
First Two Weeks
At the end of the first week, the class teacher will send an email to the parents to share how the child has settled in. Any concerns regarding the child will be raised with the Pastoral Team or the Inclusion Department. By the end of the second full week of school, the class teacher will meet with the parents to discuss social, emotional and progress to date. This will provide an opportunity for both the parents and teacher to ask any questions and gain further information as required. A member of the Pastoral Team will complete a short survey with new children in order to check in on how they are settling and ensure that they know who they can talk to if needed. Additional intervention or actions will be put in place as required and children will continue to be monitored by the class teacher and Pastoral Team to ensure that they have fully settled into Safa life.