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Posted on 23 Jun 2020

Planning for Year 6 into Year 7 Transition 2020 during Covid-19

As the summer holidays approach, our Year 6 students who will attend Westminster Academy in September 2020 may all be wondering what secondary school will look like. Transition from Year 6 to Year 7 is one of the most challenging yet exciting transitions, with new routines, new staff members, a new building and new peer groups. This year will be even more challenging, but we hope just as exciting for our young people in Year 6 going into Year 7. Missing out on the opportunity to take their SATs potentially means that students are feeling less confident in their ability to perform academically, and not having been able to socialise with their peers for a significant amount of time could hinder their wellbeing. Westminster Academy has therefore been working really hard to ensure this important transitional occasion is celebrated as an exciting experience which our budding new Year 7 students will remember fondly. 

Wellbeing

Westminster Academy will provide an induction process which is responsible, safe and engaging so that all our new students are confident in their transition to secondary school. Specialist and fun activities are planned, whilst adhering to social distancing and other government guidelines.

Academic success

Striving for academic excellence remains important for us at WA and students transitioning from Year 6 to Year 7 will have ample opportunities to demonstrate the progress they are making. All students who start in Year 7 will receive a Chromebook to take part in engaging and exciting online teaching and learning, through regular live Zoom lessons from class teachers; innovative resources and activities shared through Google Classroom; live feedback of students’ work; various Virtual Learning Environments (Hegarty Maths, Seneca, GCSE Pod, Vocab Express and Firefly) and online support from Learning Support Assistants.

Routines

Throughout our transition process there will be opportunities for students to familiarise themselves with the routines and structure of WA, both in the building and online. Due to our outstanding online provision students will have clear structures including a normal timetable; dedicated break and lunch times and normal period 6 interventions as well as after school activities and peripatetic lessons.

Social interaction - friendships

Westminster Academy is well aware of the implications that the current climate has had on social interaction and we are working hard to provide opportunities for students to continue to develop their social skills and maintain healthy relationships with peers. Mentoring and coaching from pastoral support workers and many specialist agencies continues to take place at WA and will be available for our new Year 7 students. Our dedicated Pastoral Support team facilitates online social gatherings between groups of students who have not been able to interact with others due to lockdown.

Parental support

At WA we pride ourselves on offering additional support not only to our new students but our new parents, carers and the wider community. Telephone drop in sessions have been made available for all students, staff, parents and carers. Parents and carers at WA feel confident and comfortable with contacting staff in times of crisis and need.

Teacher support

Providing our new Year 7 students with exceptional teaching and support staff is vital to the process of transition and as such we are committed to ensuring that staff morale is high. Dedicated staff wellbeing sessions are delivered to staff on a range of topics including Music Club, Art Club, Film Club, HIIT Sessions, Book Club and Yoga Sessions. Daily positive messages are communicated to staff celebrating successes and achievements of individual students, staff, parents and carers. Staff feedback has been extremely positive.

How WA Online and Bricks and Mortar will support this academic year: our plan for transition

Year 6 students have an induction day to look forward to from 29 June to 3 July. Rigorous preparations to our building have been made so that we are able to welcome students in the safest, most responsible way possible. The Senior Leadership Team and Site Services Team have been extremely dedicated and thorough in planning for students to attend the physical building. Wellbeing sessions and support with independent learning skills have been our primary focus to provide maximum benefit from face-to-face sessions for students. Our new Year 7s will have a range of memorable activities to take part in during their induction.

We can’t wait to see all our new Year 7s!

Mr Paul Mulvihill, Assistant Vice Principal

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