The important transition from primary to college
Tatyana Duffin is the Dean of Years 7, 8 and 9 at ACG Tauranga.
She talks about what makes a successful transition to the College years.
Years 7, 8 and 9 are crucial years in education as students transition from a primary to a secondary programme of learning, says Tatyana.
At the same time, they’re developing socially and emotionally, gaining self-confidence and an understanding of who they are.
“Up to Year 6, parents make most of the decisions, but when students join the College at Year 7, one of our goals is to help guide them to becoming contributing citizens; to be able to make independent decisions and think through the consequences. That’s why I love working with this age group.”
A successful transition relies on strong relationships and communication – between the Dean, families, tutors, subject teachers and students. These are established from the outset at Orientation Day and family meetings, and solidified throughout the academic year.
Tatyana says it’s important that the students and the Year 6 teacher are completely included in the transition process to ensure each student is set on the right pathway.
“In Year 6, our students take external Checkpoint exams in Maths, English and Science as part of our Cambridge curriculum. They receive an external qualification, and we get a set of results which help us start painting a picture of where each student is at, so we can properly cater to them the following year.”
From Year 7, students are taught by specialist College teachers, moving between classrooms as they usually would in high school. College teachers quickly get to know every student and can start building productive learning relationships with them.
“These teachers are experts in their field, so a Year 7 Science teacher might also teach AS Biology or Chemistry, for example,” says Tatyana.
“To assist our teachers to plan for each new class, we provide them as much information on each student as possible. The students are part of the College, but they’re still young – we want them to feel supported through the transition, while also gaining the benefits of access to specialist teachers. They cope with it really well. In fact, I think they love it.”
She says students can be hard on themselves socially and emotionally in these years, so it’s important for teachers to establish strong relationships with the students.
“Our goal is to find that special aspect in every student and help them to see it themselves so they know what their personal strengths are and can feel valued as an individual. There’s a lot of opportunity for one-on-one conversations. Creating a connection by listening is really crucial.”
Find out more about how ACG Tauranga helps students transition from Primary to College at our Open Day, Saturday 2 November, from 10am tauranga.acgedu.com