Principles to consider on return to school

Moving or returning to school is sometimes an anxious time for pupils and their parents, it should be an exciting time, a time for next steps, new opportunities and for some a fresh start. How a school approaches supporting young people can play a huge role in how quickly they settle and ultimately how they go on to achieve. Poor experiences can negatively affect young people’s wellbeing and can halt progress in its tracks. 60% of young people felt overwhelmed when they transferred from primary to secondary school (Princes Trust 2017). By planning an effective transfer programme which puts the needs of young people at its heart we can significantly reduce this percentage.

Physical education, the curriculum, and extra-curricular opportunities, including competition, can play a pivotal role in supporting the effective transition of young people and supporting them to settle into a new school.

Evidence shows that physical activity and sport positively impact a young person, with enjoyment in regular physical activity contributing to a range of positive outcomes generally and specifically in relation to transition, including:

  • Physical health and fitness
  • Development of life skills such as confidence, creativity and decision making
  • Social development and connection
  • Lower levels of anxiety and depression
  • Higher levels of self-esteem, happiness and life satisfaction
  • Improved cognition and related academic performance.
  • PE planned and delivered in the right way is shown to impact positively on the extent to which young people feel connected to their school, their aspirations, their social behaviours and the development of leadership and citizenship skills.

Through your PE curriculum, please consider how you can develop the wider skills of communication through using team building activities, peer to peer, young person to adult and young person to the learning environment.

The key principles of transfer could include:

  • Engaging young people in shaping and designing their PE and school sport offer to ensure you understand their previous PE experiences, their hopes and their fears
  • Building safe and secure physical learning environments
  • Introducing structure and routine
  • Using tasks that the young people are familiar with, can perform with confidence and that they enjoy
  • Considering buddy groups/friendship groups as a starting point for group work to put them at ease and using activities that develop communication and team building skills
  • Using personal challenges and factoring in practice time to help to build confidence and competence
  • Focusing on the use of competition to support transfer for those who need it most
  • Continuous positive reinforcement and feedback for all young people enabling them to progress at their own pace.

For further information on how to plan a successful transition programme, please watch this webinar