Transition: the move from year 11 to year 12

By Tim Bradbury posted 13-07-2021 09:23


Transition: the move from year 11 to year 12 - @Chris Carr

Much has been written on supporting pupil transition from primary to secondary education, and with good reason – it is a key step in a young person’s educational career and provides the foundations for future success. What though, of the transition between secondary and post 16 education?

Post 16 education has always presented a variety of unique challenges to learners, ranging from the need to acquire in-depth subject knowledge and refine study habits to developing independent learning skills and resilience. As we now encounter the second instance of students transitioning in the wake of a year disrupted by COVID, what approaches can be taken to improve the experience for learners?

The EEF Guide to Supporting Planning provides a useful reference which outlines key considerations for school and college leaders, teachers and teaching assistants. Among these are effective diagnostic assessment, cognitive and metacognitive strategies and targeted academic support.

Effective diagnostic assessment is fundamental in determining the gaps and wide variation in students’ knowledge and skills. For example, two students with the same overall teacher-assessed GCSE grade may have experienced very different levels of curriculum coverage. Taking account of diagnostic assessment data and providing focused intervention or modifying the teaching approach is essential for students to access the curriculum and make good progress.

The Assessing and Monitoring Pupil Progress Guide from EEF is a good starting point to understand how assessment can be used successfully and our BEST Approaches Diagnostic Questions guide provides some examples of different question types that can be used to provide formative diagnostic information. Question banks of diagnostic questions and online tools are available from various sources such as the Institute of Physics, the Royal Society of Chemistry and also the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Developing the skills of self-regulated learning and metacognition is also a key focus for transition. Some students will have developed regulation of their learning behaviour throughout the lock-downs, but others will need to be taught these skills explicitly. EEF’s guide to Metacognition and Self-regulated Learning provides a comprehensive discussion with seven key recommendations on this topic, along with case studies and practical guidance that can be used in the classroom.

Research indicates that explicit transition support is particularly important for students with SEND and from disadvantaged backgrounds. Resources available from our e-library include Gatsby’s Science Enhancement Programme: Learning Skills for Science Post 16, which provides materials that develop fundamental skills, and the Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning’s Ten Metacognitive Teaching Strategies which provides techniques and resources that teachers can put into immediate use. Many of these ideas and strategies are discussed at more length in our Independent Learning Skills CPD.

The field of cognitive neuroscience offers some interesting strategies to improve retention of knowledge. Resources for teachers and students are available from the Learning Scientists, and provide guidance on six strategies (spaced practice, retrieval practice, elaboration, interleaving, concrete examples and dual coding) that can improve recall and understanding. We also offer CPD on the Science of Learning and Supporting the Memory.

Our STEM ambassador programme provides students with access to positive role models who give their time and enthusiasm for free to bring STEM subjects to life and demonstrate their value. Our teacher’s guide provides guidance and creative ideas on a variety of ways in which they can be used to inspire and support students.

Finally, we provide a range of free resources to support teachers and students, many of which can be used to build transition support packs for students, supplement lesson materials or be used in 1:1 or small group intervention sessions.

Transition will always remain a challenge for both teachers and students, but with the right strategies and resources, the process can be made more effective and provide students with the tools they need to succeed.

1 comment



16-07-2021 13:53

This is excellent. Thank yo so much for all the useful links!