Monday 12 August 2019
Headteachers and leaders in education have provided positive feedback about the feeder school system in place for transition between primary and secondary schools for the first time this year.
This has replaced a catchment model, where those attending high schools were split by where they lived, resulting in secondary schools receiving students from almost all primaries. Under the new model, all students in a primary school are able to transfer together to the same secondary school regardless of where in the island they live. Parents may still opt to send them to the grant-aided colleges, or to submit an out of catchment request to attend a different secondary school. This has allowed many more students to transfer to secondary school with their friends and has strengthened relationships between the secondary schools and their feeder primary schools.
Helen Shepherd, Headteacher of St Mary and St Michael Catholic Primary School, said:
"The feeder school system has worked particularly well for the pupils of St Mary and St Michael. As a Catholic School our catchment is island-wide. Therefore, under the old system our Year 6 pupils were scattered across all secondary schools. This was particularly impactful for smaller schools as frequently a small number of our pupils found themselves entering secondary school alone - without their peer group. However, the new feeder school system has resulted in our Y6 pupils all transferring to the same secondary school which is great news for them during this time of transition. Yet, there still remains flexibility within the system for those pupils who live outside of our catchment feeder school."
There is clear evidence that transition between schools can lead to a drop in the rate of academic progress. In part this is because secondary schools are often unaware of what students have learnt at primary school, leading in some cases to unnecessary repetition and in others to gaps in learning being left unfilled. Further improving Guernsey's existing transition arrangements will be a significant advantage in helping to avoid this Key Stage 3 progress dip. Colleagues across the primary and secondary sector have been working together to develop key content to be taught in each phase to support the Big Picture Curriculum. This important work will continue next year, to ensure every student experiences a coherent, carefully sequenced curriculum, and that teachers in each phase of their education are aware of what has come before and what will come next. This will allow teachers to build on children's prior learning and ensure time is used as effectively as possible in order to maximise progress.
Liz Coffey, Executive Headteacher of Secondary Schools, said:
"The feeder system is already developing better links between the primary and secondary phases and this will strengthen in the future. Because of the clear links between schools, it has been possible for more conversations and visits to take place between secondaries and the primary schools they are linked to. As well as developing a detailed understanding of individual students' needs, teachers have started to look at the curriculum in detail. This will support planning clear curriculum progression to ensure secondary schools are building on prior learning as far as possible. The school leadership team are exploring the option of creating transition roles within the new 11-18 school to work more closely with primary schools, including with students with additional transition needs."
The links between primary and secondary schools are shown below, for the academic year that has just finished. Like the cohort who will start secondary school in September, students who have just finished Year 5 and are moving into Year 6 will move to all four secondary schools following the relationships below. The following cohort, the current Year 4s moving into Year 5, will move directly to the new Colleges on either the Beaucamps or St. Sampson's sites as shown below.