At Ormiston Meridian Academy we understand that starting a new school can trigger a range of emotions in both students and parents. Most of our students are excited about coming to their new academy but some maybe nervous or anxious; feelings which may also be reflected by parents. Through a dedicated team of staff, we do everything we can to make sure that the transition from primary to secondary school runs as smoothly as possible and students and parents feel supported along the way.
As soon as the local authority release the list of allocated students we begin our work by liaising with all of our feeder primary schools to collect information on every student that will be joining us the following September. We don’t only collect information on academic performance but also on attendance, behaviour and friendship groups. This helps us to get to know the students before they arrive and ensure that the relevant support is in place to support students in getting off to the strongest possible start.
As well as getting in touch with our primary schools, we also write to all of our new parents. In our first communication we include a welcome letter as well as a transition booklet that contains all of the key information including uniform expectations, first day arrangements and transition activities designed to get students ready to make the move from primary to secondary school. In this communication we will also provide dates of the transition days and parent information evening that takes place in July. We will also send out all of the relevant forms that need completing and returning to the school. In addition to this we also use our online learning platform, Google classroom, to provide activities and engage with new students and their families by providing introduction videos and subject specific tasks to engage students with their new academy and staff.
In July we run or transition days which fulfil two main purposes; to allow our new students to familiarise themselves with the building and the staff and to establish our school vision, values and routines. During these days they will meet their form tutor for the first time and will spend the days in their form mix. In addition to sessions on our vision and values students will take part in team building exercises as well as some academic and practical lessons. All of this will give them a flavour of what the school is about prior to joining us the following September. After the final transition day we hold a parent information evening which will give parents the chance to meet key staff, find out what students have been up to during the transition days and receive key messages regarding uniform, expectations and how the academy will support their child throughout their time with us. Where primary schools inform us that there may be a need for more support with transition, we run an Enhanced Transition Program which involves extra visits during the school day either in a small group or on a one to one basis. These sessions range from an hour to half a day and run over several weeks so students can build up their familiarity and begin to feel safe and supported within our academy. We often work with staff from our feeder primary schools on these days.
The final part of our KS2 to KS3 transition process is the first day. This is a special day for all involved and to show this we hold a family breakfast before school, which parents/carers are invited to join, before having a welcome assembly and tie giving ceremony to welcome them officially into the Ormiston Meridian family. To make sure the transition is going well we also hold a form tutor evening in the first half term so that parents have the chance to discuss with key staff how their child is settling in.