I had planned to take a day off on Friday but as things turned out I had to come in to pick up on some business and it turned out be a worthwhile day.
Today has been taken up with the directorate meeting; my own ED&R with Alan Blackie; meeting with Bill Torrance the new EIS Local Secretary; and an ED&R with Liz Kerr – the HT of Haddington Nursery School.
One of the points which emerged during my chat with Liz was the issue of transition and how it is something which characterises a child's experience throughout their school career. As a secondary teacher transition tends to mean only one thing the move up from primary to secondary. However, Liz talked about transitions from nursery to primary which she manages within her own school and then the transition from infant school to upper primary. The challenge in all transitions is that we must try to avoid the fresh start approach. For example Liz's P3 pupils are involved in buddying their P1 pupils. Yet we tend to think of this as something that only older pupils can do. Liz has worked hard with colleagues at Kingsmeadow to make it a positive transition without it involving a step back – the key is people getting together.
One of the problems in schools – not all – is that teachers can tend to see a child only existing as they are at that point in front of them – e.g. S2 – with no history and no future beyond their presence in their classroom (
Alan Coady touched on this last week). If we could reinforce that we (teachers)are all involved in helping children navigate along a path on which we are all guides and not just a snapshot approach towards child development. I know this sounds particularly negative and I'm delighted to see progress in so many of our schools – nevertheless, it remains one of our biggest drawbacks. Finally – the greatest transition – which is all to often ignored is the one from school to work or further/higher education.
Last point – the school take P2 pupils on a residential experience – wow!! Thanks to Jill Wareham and her team.