Case study: Parklands Primary School, Leeds

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Providing care and support to help low-achieving children as they move from primary to secondary school

The pressures of secondary school can also have a big impact on disadvantaged children’s mental health and wellbeing. Some children finding it hard to cope can get stuck in patterns of challenging behaviours, such as being angry or argumentative.

Anthony Wilkinson Parklands Primary School teacher

The big idea

Recruiting a Transition Coordinator to make sure that disadvantaged children have the support they need when they start secondary school.

Why it’s needed

In the North of England, many disadvantaged children who are low achieving at primary school start secondary school and quickly fall behind their classmates.

These children often don’t have the opportunity to catch up and adjust to the changes in the curriculum. Navigating the new environment, making friends and building relationships with lots of new teachers can seem even more overwhelming for these children if they’re falling behind in lessons. Also, their parents may not have the skills, resources or confidence to fully support their learning at home[1].

Alongside the impact on achievement, the pressures of secondary school can also have a big impact on disadvantaged children’s mental health and wellbeing. Some children finding it hard to cope can get stuck in patterns of challenging behaviours, such as being angry or argumentative. These children find it difficult to continue engaging with school, and it can lead to attendance issues or even exclusion[2].

How it works

In conjunction with East Leeds Academy, Parklands Primary School in Leeds has recruited a Transition Coordinator to provide the support and care these children need as they move from primary and secondary school. The co-ordinator is jointly employed by Parklands Primary School and East Leeds Academy, and will also work with children in other feeder primaries to East Leeds. The co-ordinator will carry knowledge of the social and emotional needs of children and families across the transition, and continuity of support into Secondary school. Parents are invited to take part in the sessions so they can be given the tools to support children at home.

Once they arrive at secondary school, they then continue to take part in the project ensuring that the support is embedded as they move schools.

The impact

By introducing the Transition Coordinator, Parklands Primary School is testing an approach to supporting disadvantaged children through a critical transition in their lives. If successful, they will look to further test and scale the approach into other schools in the North of England.

  • 90 children will benefit from this project.
  • Parklands Primary School would like to test the impact and then help to scale the approach across other schools in the North.

References

  1. Scottish Government, Primary to secondary school transitions: systematic literature review, 2019
  2. Education Select Committee, Forgotten children: alternative provision and the scandal of ever increasing exclusions, 2018-2019