Conclusion

Students’ successful adjustment to their new schools has a positive impact on their learning. Schools can make a difference through the culture that is created in the school. The following table shows the emphases schools could place on their future transition processes.

Less of this

More of this

  • Viewing transitions as end-of-year and beginning-of-year events.
  • Thinking that all students transition in the same way.
  • Doing one-off orientation activities for all students.
  • Leaving the planning for vulnerable students until the last minute.
  • Doing the planning for vulnerable students without including them and their families.
  • Expecting that a few people in the school will manage transitions (e.g. deans and form teachers)
  • Assuming that all students are transitioning well.
  • Focussing only on the Year 8 to 9 student transition.
  • Giving students a predetermined curriculum.
  • Viewing all students as if they are of the same culture.
  • Expecting all students to do the same work (at the same level, and the same time).
  • Thinking that it is the student’s fault for failing to make the adjustments to their new school.

Thinking about transitions as a process whereby students make gradual adjustments to their teachers, peers, and to the programme. This adjustment will be different for each student.

Taking a long term view to transition approaches by helping students to build the Key Competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum

Identifying early the students who are likely to need support as they transition.

Including in the planning process all the people who are connected to a student

Acknowledging that some students will need different approaches and catering for them through specific, and evidence-informed initiatives or actions

Building a school-wide culture of pastoral and learning care for students.

Ensuring that school systems for pastoral and learning care are sustainable by aligning them to existing systems.

Checking on how well transitions are happening for students by talking with students, parents and whānau, and teachers.

Catering for students as they transition within the school.

Getting to know students’ interests, strengths and learning needs and using these as the foundation of an engaging programme.

Acknowledging and responding to the cultural identities of all students.

Finding out what students know and can do. Pitching work at an appropriately challenging level so that students experience success.

Involving students and their parents in planning their learning pathways.