I have been struggling for days now, how can I possibly put into words what it must be like for the year 6 children who are leaving school this afternoon, quite possibly for the last time as a primary pupil. I am heartbroken for them! Whilst many of them will be sad to say goodbye to good friends, some chuffed to bits to be thinking they have got a few months off school and others not really paying much attention to it, what will be will be! My fear for this cohort of children more than any other who have gone through the transition process is, who is going to help them get ready for secondary school now? How hard will it be for these pupils to start life as a secondary school pupil?
We (the secondary sector) need to put some serious consideration to this over the next few months. It is certainly something that I will be working on for the pupils in my area. I have absolutely no answers at the minute but I have every intention of continuing to write about this ‘lost’ cohort to ensure that they remain in people’s minds.
All children are going to be going through a really tough time over the next few months, the uncertainty, the monotony of being at home all day every day and of course the questions around what will happen when they do eventually return to school. At least for every other year group though, they know roughly what they will be returning too. They know they will see friends, they know they will be returning to familiar faces in the staff. They know they won’t be getting lost and that their surroundings will feel a bit like ‘coming home’. Current year 6 pupils have none of that! None at all. As a group of educationalists we must begin to protect these pupils before they arrive in school. They are losing Induction days, staff visiting them in their current settings, letters from current pupils telling them it will all be OK and all of the other amazing transition activities that schools usually offer.
This week is not the time to start putting a plan together (unless, like me you are lucky enough that thinking about these pupils is your job!), there are obviously far bigger fish to fry at the moment. But please – do not forget these ‘lost’ children. Do not forget how much harder their move to secondary school is going to be than any year group before and after them.