Dyffryn Aman cluster of primary schools, Carmarthenshire, have built a good working relationship with Dyffryn Aman Comprehensive School to ensure a smooth transition for pupils from primary to secondary school. Key to its success is the effective use and transfer of data, consistent tracking and monitoring of pupils progress, high expectations and parental support.
Pupils from the Dyffryn Aman cluster of primary schools move on to their next stage of learning at 11 years of age when they enter Dyffryn Aman Comprehensive School. All primaries within the cluster provide education mostly in Welsh or bilingually.
In the summer term of every year, each primary school in the cluster uses standardised tests, teacher observation and staff discussion to identify the most able 10% of its Year 5 pupils. The pupils in Year 6 and Year 7 take part in a programme of challenging activities, including team-building, development of leadership skills, mathematical investigations, drama workshops and a residential visit. All aim to improve the critical-thinking skills and higher-order learning skills of the more able pupils, and also to encourage the development of their personal, social and emotional skills.
The co-ordinator for the more able and talented pupils in the secondary school leads the project and is supported by staff from the primary schools and specialist providers. Teachers ensure the support of parents through good communication by letter and personal contact. The success of the project is monitored through pupil questionnaires and analysis of standardised skills tests in Year 7. Teachers track pupil progress throughout the primary schools and into the secondary school using the same, colourcoded system.
Good and excellent features
The good and excellent features include:
- consistency between primary schools in how they identify more able and talented pupils;
- a focus on critical thinking and higher-order learning skills;
- positive relationships between primary and secondary schools; and consistent use of an agreed electronic tracking system by all schools, enabling effective data transfer, and
- monitoring of pupil progress.
Impact and benefit
As a result of this work:
- there has been an improvement in pupils’ learning skills, especially oracy, listening and thinking;
- pupils develop their personal, social and emotional skills effectively and cope well with transition; and
- effective transfer of data from primary to secondary school gives teachers accurate information and this helps them to establish high expectations of more able and talented pupils.