Clackmannanshire Raising Attainment

  • Hart, Evelyn (Research Co-investigator)
  • Wannerton, Rob (Researcher)

Project: Research

Project Details


This project ran across the 2017/18 school year, looking at the process of
transition between a cluster of primary schools and their designated secondary school within a Scottish local authority. I worked with a research associate and a group of newly arrived S1 pupils, for whom it was anticipated that transition would be problematic, the aim was not to run a longitudinal study about individual experiences but rather, to gather pupil feedback on how the process had been for them, and to obtain their views on how it could be improved for others. The project involved staff and pupils in the secondary school and associated primaries.

I conducted questionnaires and interviews with pupils, in groups and individually, across both sectors. This allowed us to not only hear, but also act upon pupil voice. The focus group of pupils were encouraged to lead presentations for the S1 cohort which encourage a writing group to design a leaflet for new P7s. The focus group were then empowered as leaders as they visited feeder primaries; to share this information and engage in Q&A sessions. Throughout this process I worked with school staff to explore activities, approaches and a timeframe for a successful transition programme.

Alongside this was engagement, with both sectors, in discussion on the importance of the sharing of relevant information through consistent, cluster –wide, learner-focused profiles. I provided examples of transition activities and a suggested timeline for these, a school assembly presentation to gather written evidence from the S1 cohort and examples of pupil profiles for the primary schools to use. It is hoped that, as school staff become agents for change, a cross-cluster working group will take ownership of a review and development of transition activities and work collaboratively to design a more comprehensive and robust transition programme which includes P6 and P7 children. I provided comment for the final written report and also had the opportunity to provide verbal feedback to representatives from the local authority on both the successes and challenges of the project.

Layman's description

Primary to Secondary transition

Key findings

The following recommendations were included for school staff across the cluster
• Increase activities between cluster schools across all year groups, particularly P6 & P7.
• Increase the profile of the prefects and captains and vice captains, supporting the development of relationships with older pupils who model a positive approach to school.
• Continue to develop the Freshers Fair approach to promoting and recruiting clubs and capturing suggestions for new ones.
• Develop a buddying and mentoring system.
• Adopt a different start to the new school year for S1s with increased focus on orientation and network building.
• Provide guidelines or support for secondary teachers on supporting pupils
through transition.
• Peer-led information sharing. Pupils in our focus groups indicated they would now feel confident to take part in information sessions at Primaries, and there are discussions to increase pupil involvement in future events.
• There is a clearly identified issue at Secondary level about an inconsistency in the information being received from Primaries, which we believe can be helped by a discussion between all schools around how the system is used and agreeing a common approach.
• Cluster-wide activity on developing pupil-created profiles that can be shared with Secondary would be beneficial in helping pupils feel acknowledged and noticed at a challenging time.
• There is a clear need for discussions about the role of pupil and parents in the transferring of information so they have ownership of the process. Schools can decide on the best format which will suit all parties but it must be one consistent format with space for parental comment.
. Establish a cross-cluster working group to review current transition activities and agree a calendar of events for the P7 cohort while simultaneously designing a more comprehensive and robust transition programme which includes P6 and P7.
• Agree a shared aim for transition that can be regularly reviewed.
• Create ongoing opportunities at a strategic level to discuss development of a wider transition programme, extending the focus beyond a current emphasis on the transfer of information about pupils with specific needs.
• Whilst acknowledging staffing pressures, we believe there should be a dedicated Transition lead at Alva Academy to coordinate this work, and there may be scope for similar dedicated leads within Primaries.
Short titlePrimary/Secondary Transitions in the Hillfoots cluster
Effective start/end date5/06/1726/06/18


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.