Our lives are full of transitions, some caused by ourselves, others by circumstances. As adults, they can relate, for example, to relationships, having children, changing employment, or moving home. The process is often complex and involves many different emotions from initial uncertainty, anxiety and doubt to greater self- confidence, self-esteem and optimism. Children, too, experience crucial transitions, both in their family life and at school. Our role as teachers, managers and leaders is to support them in every way we can and to create and maintain a close relationship with parents. Whether they are starting school in Early Years, moving to another key stage, or entering Secondary school, we must help the pupils settle in quickly and happily. This year, everyone has come to a new school with far more varied learning spaces, different teachers (in most cases), fresh routines, extended ways of learning, and COVID restrictions. More than ever, we all have to make the transitions smooth and positive.

Our priority is to ensure every individual feels cared for, supported, and appreciated. Pupils need their voice to be heard and to believe they can learn effectively and joyfully. If they need any kind of support, it will be provided. If they can move ahead faster, they will be challenged further. Throughout the school, from Early Years to Secondary, our staff exchange information about each child, regarding their personal development and academic achievement. Formal meetings are held and data is shared. In EYFS and Primary, there is a powerful structure of support, held together by the form tutor and the key stage team. In Secondary, too, the form tutors play a vital role. We are now developing an extensive personal, social, health, and economic programme, which will help each individual and, at the same time, strengthen the whole pupil community.

The school knows its pupils well but parents also need to be in the know. In the present situation, we have been unable to offer, for example, open days, curriculum sessions, and face-to-face meetings with parents. The school is finding alternative forms of communication. We have recently sent out summary information about the curriculum and our iPad project. Parent meetings are also being organised through Microsoft Teams and will take place before half term. These sessions will provide crucial information about each child’s adaptation to a new setting, facilities, and learning community and about their initial academic progress.

These are very difficult times for families and schools. We face not only the fear of infection itself but also its mental and emotional consequences. Working together, the children will acquire the strongest defence of all. They will come through this complex and threatening transition stronger and more determined than ever.

Christine Curtis & James Shallcross

Directors of Education