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How to adapt- making Year 6 to 7 transition virtual

In normal times as Director of Transition I would be very busy having face to face meetings with all the Year 6 staff.

In normal times as Director of Transition I would be very busy having face to face meetings with all the Year 6 staff. Getting to know the students coming into Year 7 at Co-op Academy Stoke-on-Trent. But transition in the lockdown period has changed completely. There are no visits for Year 6 pupils, no extra transition for pupils, no community events, discos, arts and book evenings or intake days. I’ve had to rethink everything, and make transition virtual!

I like to think that I live and work by our Co-op Ways of Being and values and that all our transition shows that we care. Doing what matters most for our new students has never been more important.

So I set about making sure that we could deliver the most effective transition programme possible for all. At Stoke, we have a great media officer who has fantastic ideas about how to make information more accessible for parents and students. He set about creating a whole new webpage called Transition Support 2020.

We would much rather carry out our transition program with all new families coming into our academy. Unfortunately, this can't happen. So that's why we are putting all of our transition material on our website, including our Transition Guide.

— Co-op Academy Stoke-on-Trent (@Coopacademy) June 17, 2020

Every Friday I email all parents of Year 6 students, to let them know that we are thinking of them and support them in this very different transition journey. In the Fridays emails I send a link to the latest projects, tasks or video from our academy. We’ve been working closely with our 25 feeder primary schools. They have been amazing at putting all our transition information out on their own social media, Dojo and school communication platforms. Their support has been invaluable.

Having moved all the Year 6 meetings with staff to video calls I started to collate all our information. It was clear that students would need extra support due to curriculum gaps. We realised that we’d need a wellbeing package too.

Our Izone team created a wellbeing booklet for students. We sent this out before half term with lots of activities to keep students engaged. It’s important that they take time outdoors to look at the world around them, there was even some meditation in there. 

We wanted to gain as much information about the students attainment and learning as possible and so I set up ‘curriculum gap’ meetings with 4 of our largest feeder schools. This included their numeracy and literacy leads and our Lead KS3 numeracy and literacy teams. Having frank and open discussions about the level of engagement, the level of support needed was invaluable. It helped us plan where we start with our Year 7 curriculum.

Throughout the year we run Science, English and Maths lessons for KS2 students across local primary schools. If any students had missed out on this before school closures, it was important for them to see what our academy and our science or maths lessons would look like. Staff stepped up to video lessons online and we have placed them on the webpage. This is where being part of a team that succeeds together is so great!  

For all of our new families joining us in September – want to know what Science is like? Click below to have a lesson with Miss Dawson (alongside the instructions booklet). These resources have now been added to our website.

— Co-op Academy Stoke-on-Trent (@Coopacademy) June 5, 2020

Understandably Year 6 pupils were worried about the move, so one of the tasks that we sent out was for them to write all of their worries, questions and fears down. Our amazing Co-op Young Leaders have spent the past week creating videos and responding to them. The Co-op Young Leaders have loved being involved and I await their videos this week! See the link below.

We also created a ‘meet the team’ zone. Our Head of Year, Year Manager, myself and Headteacher made videos for the students so that they see a friendly face.

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We have succeeded together to produce a comprehensive virtual transition programme for our parents, students and Year 6 teachers. We look forward to welcoming all our new Year 7 students to Co-op Academy Stoke-on-Trent.

If you would like some advice about how to adapt your Year 6 to Year 7 transition, send me an email at