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Our Approach

#802 Common Transfer Document (Improving Transition info sharing at Year 6-7)

Emma van Deventer, Norwich Opportunity Area Transition Project Manager and Nicky Hart, Assistant Head Teacher, Lakenham Primary School

What did we do?

Norwich Opportunity Area (NOA) secondary schools receive students from multiple settings, and students from NOA primary schools move to multiple secondary schools. Secondary schools need detailed student information as early as possible to plan for their new Y7s classes and primary schools want to ensure all necessary information is sent to a pupils’ new school to ensure they are supported and settle well into their new school. Primary schools told us that they were completing different formats for student information sheets for 14 or more different secondary schools (often individual forms for each student). Despite this, primary schools told us that they didn’t feel the information shared was always well used to best support students and fed back that some of their ex-pupils struggled to settle in Year 7 (to the point where some students faced exclusion).

Primary and secondary schools have different approaches to sharing information about Year 6 students moving up to year 7 and this information can be used in different ways. A simple process agreed across multiple schools improves efficiency and provides significant opportunity to improve the use of this information to support students to successfully transition between schools. We developed a common approach, a Common Transfer Document (CTD), to share information between primary and secondary school and used the CTD across the city to streamline the transition process at Year 6-7, benefiting staff, children and families.

The common transfer document is fantastic. It saves time for Primary schools as there is only one form to fill in. The information provided on the form is really helpful, especially in the early days of year 7 when we are building relationships with our students. It allows us to benefit from all the knowledge and experience of our primary school colleagues who know the children so well.

Hannah Boag, Assistant Headteacher for Teaching and Learning, City Academy Norwich.

Having the professional dialogue between the high schools and primary schools allowed both parties to explain what they felt was important information when talking about the children and how the best to show this in a quick and easy to understand format. Not all the feeder schools that we send our children to used the document however, when they sent through their format, a lot of the information that we provide wasn’t asked for so I sent them our Common Transfer Document instead. What we didn’t want was the document to be instead of talking to high schools in person, and thankfully the communication still happened between our larger catchment schools for example the SENDCos and PSAs were contacted.

Once the document is filled in, it is simple to edit and send to the relevant high schools giving them a clear overview of the child.

Nicky Hart, Assistant Head Teacher, Lakenham Primary School.

Summary of impact

Staff from across primary and secondary schools worked on the content of the CTD collaboratively and designed and piloted the new process via simple and accessible software. The new process was well received by schools in Spring/Summer term 2020 and has been shared more widely as an example of best practice.

All the NOA secondary schools (bar one) used the CTD and survey feedback reported that they found it enabled a better understanding of their new cohort and was easy to use. Primary schools appreciated only having one form to complete!

Steps taken

The Transition Working Group, a mix of primary and secondary school teachers, agreed that the current system was inefficient and agreed to create one document that all schools could use that would improve the process for school contacts involved but importantly would also improve the experience of transition for students and support a more holistic approach. This single document needed to contain essential information about every student that could be shared simply and in sufficient detail to allow secondary schools to plan for the needs of their new students more effectively.

Excel was agreed as the best format as it is readily available and well used in all schools – no special or additional software is required. Secondary schools shared examples of existing student forms and key information was extracted and collated for the new form.

What would we do differently

Further consideration would be useful in future to follow up how well the information shared is used within secondary schools to inform different approaches to support Year 7 students, e.g. whether it has an impact on classroom practice. Some primary schools have continued to receive separate forms for completion from a few secondary schools and have benefitted from NOA support to encourage full use of the CTD. Further marketing and communication across Norfolk to raise the profile of the CTD would help avoid these instances.

Key to the success of the project was providing facilitation to support schools to work together in a solution focused way and overcome any prior experiences.


No specific costs but time was required from educators to help develop and trial the CTD e.g. getting to meetings and having professional dialogues with other teachers and schools.

Resources to do something similar yourself

This is the template CTD we agreed with all schools in Norwich. Please be aware that the template may get updated over time but this is the current version schools are using:

See how others have implemented this Big Idea

Admission Event for Parents (Transition Year 6-7)

A survey of Norwich Opportunity Area primary school parents found that 23% did not feel they had enough information about local secondary schools before they had to apply to them.

Primary/Secondary Interschool Visits (Year 6-7 Transition)

Every Norwich Opportunity Area (NOA) secondary school was asked to arrange a day to invite primary school teachers into their school and observe Y7 lessons. The lessons had to include maths and English and at least one other subject.

Primary School Parent Information Evenings (Year 6-7 Transition)

An information evening event for Y6 parents around the time secondary schools are allocated. These events were a chance to discuss the concerns parents have, as well as set realistic expectations for them on the secondary school experience.

Summer Schools (Transition Year 6-7)

Many Year 6 students had their learning disrupted over the 2020 Summer Term. This included disruption to the usual transition planning and activities before they moved to Year 7 in a new school. Schools told us that some students had poor well-being and were anxious about moving schools.

Year 6-7 Transition Camp - Thorpe St Andrew School & Sixth Form


Kevin Ward, Vice Principal and Careers Lead

Open Academy, Salhouse Road

Norwich, Norfolk


Nicola Hart, Assistant Headteacher

Lakenham Primary School, City Road

Norwich, Norfolk


Norwich Area Opportunity Team