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The Issue

Most Year 6 pupils worry about moving schools. Some experience great anxiety about transferring from primary school to secondary school. Once they are there, many Year 7 students continue to have difficulties settling in, and in adapting to the different demands of secondary school.

Common concerns and difficulties include: 

  • making new friends, 
  • dealing with bullying and peer pressure,
  • changing classes,
  • remembering books, equipment, and homework,
  • punctuality, and 
  • many more. 

These concerns and difficulties can cause children great stress and anxiety, and impact their attendance, learning and academic performance, not only at the beginning of Year 7, but also during the summer term of Year 6 as transfer draws closer. 

Research shows that specific interventions targeted at transfer support are effective in reducing anxiety and improving children’s attendance and academic performance. The importance of transfer is recognised within one of the five priorities of the multi-agency Buckinghamshire Children and Young People’s Plan. 

It is therefore crucial that primary schools take steps to alleviate Year 6 pupils’ anxieties about transfer and provide them with the skills they will need to navigate through secondary school (and life in general), particularly for those more vulnerable.

Additionally, secondary schools must provide targeted support for incoming and new Year 7s which address and solve specific problems and teach necessary skills for success at secondary school, especially for students experiencing particular difficulties with adjusting to the change and settling in.

In the following pages in the For Schools section, there is advice for both primary schools and secondary schools on how they can support children with the transition from primary to secondary school, as well as information about the ways that 627 Transfer supports primary and secondary schools in helping children prepare, settle in and develop skills.