#802 Admission Event for Parents (Transition Year 6-7)
Emma van Deventer, Norwich Opportunity Area Transition Project Manager
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What did we do?
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. Anecdotally, there was a very mixed perception of the high schools in Norwich; many were still perceived the same way they had been when those parents had attended them, or the parents simply did not appreciate the new admissions criteria for schools that were now Academies. There was a general belief in ‘good’ and ‘bad’ schools when the reality was that each school may have something positive to offer their child. There was also oversubscription to some schools, and undersubscription to others. It was felt that giving more information to parents with regards to what individual schools had to offer and to the admissions process would help them make an informed decision. We planned a collaborative event to inform primary school pupils and their parents about options for secondary schools and where all the schools could have a stand and meet Y6 parent. We invited all the Norwich Opportunity Area secondary schools, and local schools outside of the Opportunity Area boundary to attend the event.
It was great to see and speak to schools we were both considering or didn’t even think of. It gave me answers to many questions and helped us choose the school we felt was right for us.
I found all schools represented at the event to be engaging and passionate about what their setting could offer. They took the time to listen to the needs of my particular child.
Feedback from parents who attended an Admissions Event.
Summary of impact
77 families came from across Norwich, many were from one primary school. Schools that tend to be oversubscribed found it was useful to come afterall, if only to explain to parents the detail about admissions processes and criteria and likelihood of entry. Both parents and teachers reported positive feedback about the event via a survey. Presence of the Norfolk County Council Admissions representative was welcomed by parents and they received lots of questions. Five of the NOA secondary schools attended to share information and answer questions from parents. A longer term measure of effectiveness may come from school application numbers as parents are more informed about the processes and criteria.
The event was so successful it was repeated the following year, running in 3 different locations.
The plan was to run this prior to the high school open evenings in late September/October to ensure parents thought about visiting or applying for more than just one school. We chose a date early in September and invited the high schools to attend. We also invited the Admissions Team at Norfolk County Council to answer any questions parents may have about the process.
Parents from every Norwich Opportunity Area primary school were invited via a flyer that schools shared with pupils a week in advance. The event was promoted outside the venue with a banner for the fortnight prior. Tweets were sent out promoting it via the Opportunity Area social media.
We chose a community centre as an impartial venue. Each school had a stand to display their brochures and uniform etc and one school brought students to help hand out free hot drinks. Each school sent a representative or two to talk about their school – usually this included the headteacher.
What would we do differently
Feedback from secondary schools was that the event would be better if it took place earlier in the school year and primary schools agreed that it would be best to take place in the Summer Term for Year 5 students and their parents, in advance of the Autumn Term. We had plans to trial this new timing of the event in 2020 but unfortunately this wasn’t possible due to Covid-19 disruption. Unfortunately two secondary schools didn’t attend and their absence was noticed by parents who were keen to speak with them.
The marketing to all schools and parents with simple and clear messages was important in the success of the event.
The overall cost of preparing, marketing and delivering the event was approximately £500. Schools needed to provide staff to represent their schools at the event and provide any resources they considered appropriate.
Resources to do something similar yourself
Read the parent guide produced by the NOA about making a move from Year 6 to Year 7:
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.
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
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