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Our Approach

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

Emma van Deventer, Norwich Opportunity Area Transition Project Manager

What did we do?

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. They were based on the research and resources of the UCL STAR transition project.

Participating primary schools were surprised at how many parents came, as they would not always get those numbers for other parent Y6 events such as SATS info evenings for example. All that ran it said they would repeat it year on year.

Emma van Deventer, Norwich Opportunity Area Transition Project Manager

Summary of impact

Unfortunately, Covid-19 and lockdowns meant follow up parent surveys planned as part of the work were not completed but the primary schools reported that events were very well attended, better attended than other Year 6 events, and that they would continue to run them.

Many parents have concerns about their child moving to high schools and this is a simple and effective way to alleviate many of these. Those parents that do not get their child to the school they wanted are especially anxious and this can be a helpful way to reframe their expectations more positively.

Steps taken

In late February, shortly before admissions send the allocated school places out, all parents of Y6 students were sent a short survey by their school to feed back their level of concerns around common worries about their child starting at high school. The primary school lead for the delivery of the event, then used this to shape the content of the event so it was tailored to respond most effectively to these raised concerns. There is a simple PowerPoint the schools can access and populate with the relevant information. The events were held within a week or two of the surveys being returned. The issues raised were discussed and reflected against the current Y6’s own stated concerns (done in class time) and against national statistics as conducted in the STAR research. The parents could attend with their children if they wished. The events are held in school at a convenient time and run for about one hour. All parents can ask any questions and be signposted if appropriate to other agencies or staff as needed.

What would we do differently

Explaining the purpose of the event to schools was difficult. The biggest block was getting primary schools to understand that this is about preparing for high school on a very generic level, and is not high school information specific- that information will be at the high school’s own parents welcome events in the Summer term. Instead, this is the opportunity for primary schools, who have a particularly good relationship with their parents, to use this in a way they can support them practically and emotionally.

The other challenge was getting the primary schools to understand the value of running the survey to tailor the content of the evening appropriately and to follow up with a repeat of the survey to see how effective the event had been.


Refreshments for parents and their children at the event. Cover for those events run by non-teaching staff after school.

Resources to do something similar yourself

Read the parent guide produced by the NOA about making a move from Year 6 to Year 7:

This is a short presentation talking about the main worries parents might have about their child's transition to secondary school and ways they can help:

A document that can be completed with a student/parent to help identify and rate their main concerns about transitioning to secondary school:

See how others have implemented this Big Idea

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

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.

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.

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


Norwich Area Opportunity Team