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Transition to Senior School: ‘a change from one thing to the next’

  • Senior School

Children deal with the change from primary to senior school in different ways. Some are excited for the new opportunities to come, while others can feel nervous about changing classes and getting lost in the move to ‘the big school’. Pupils often worry about who is going to be in their new class or if they will see their old friends again. Everyone has a different level of anticipation for what’s coming next.

We caught up with our Progression Coordinator, Pam Coats to hear more about the part she plays in making our young peoples’ transition to senior education as seamless as possible:

“At Watson’s we work hard to make the junior to senior transition period as smooth and supportive as we can. We have a dedicated team of people who look after the new S1 pupils: their Form Tutor, two Heads of Year and the Head of Lower Years.

As part of this team I am also on hand as the Progression Coordinator, getting to know all the children in Primary 7, whether they attended our Junior School or are joining us from another school. I make it my priority to get to know all our pupils by talking with them and answering any questions they may have. I also visit our new children in their current primary schools so they have a friendly face that they recognise on their first day. I am on hand to support the pupils through S1 and beyond.

Before the end of P7, existing and new pupils will join us for Taster Day, where they get to meet their class, their Form Teacher and the S1 team looking after them whilst experiencing a taste of the subjects and what’s to come in the academic year. 

We share an online platform with parents, covering lots of important information that can be read at leisure over the summer. This gives them a feel for the Senior School and aims to answer any pressing questions that families may have. Should parents have further queries, our staff are always happy to help - we understand that there is a lot to process!

During the summer we invite all pupils (current and new) to take part in ‘Mission Transition’ an interactive resource designed to let them explore the school in a bit more depth and learn about different subjects. There are also opportunities for them to join clubs during the summer to get to know other children in the year. 

Everyone then joins us for Day Zero. A special day for S1 to start Senior School without the older pupils. A day where they have Senior School to themselves. Letting pupils be prepared and ready for the term ahead and the excitement to come.”

The prospect of S1 may seem daunting but by the time pupils reach S2, they are well established in Senior School life. We checked in with some of our current S2s, hearing more about how they embraced their senior years early on:

“You might be anxious that you will not be in the same form class as your friends but don’t worry! It will be ok and you will make new friends! Don’t be scared of losing your old friends either, you will not lose them. You might want to agree on a place where you can meet them at break and lunch times.” 

“The whole thought of going into this massive new building might be quite frightening but it's really not, within a few weeks you will know exactly where everything is off by heart.”

“I would definitely push you to get into clubs. They are all amazing, try some new clubs and also ones that you already have experience in. They all offer you a variety of skills that you can use later in life.”

“At the moment there will probably be a lot of things on your mind like “what if I don’t have any friends in my form?” or “what if I can’t find my class?” They are all things I was thinking too but in Senior School there are so many people you can talk to, to help with your problems and all your worries.”

“Have fun and cherish the experience in your first year of Senior School as it goes so quickly!” 

Change, of any form, can be nerve wracking but above all, exciting. It is important to remember that, from time to time, some young people may feel a little more apprehensive than usual. This is a normal part of life and no pupil should ever feel alone if things get too much. At Watson’s, we strive to ensure that pupils feel supported, relaxed and above all, empowered to approach any situation in a way that suits them emotionally and physically.

We look forward to welcoming all our new S1s next session and hope they will have a wonderful time with us.

  • Transition to S1