Last week I hosted an online KS2-KS3 Transition collaboration meeting for London Central and West Maths Hub. The meeting brought together primary and secondary maths teachers to discuss ways to bridge the learning gaps of students moving from year 6 into year 7, during the Covid-19 pandemic.
For the last two years I have had the pleasure of being a NCETM Maths Hub Workgroup Lead on the Year 5 to Year 8 Continuity Project, which aims to improve the transition in maths from primary school to secondary school for students. I have learnt so much facilitating these workgroups, pedagogically and professionally, but the main thing I have learnt is the importance of getting primary and secondary teachers together to talk about and collaborate on mathematics teaching. It is powerful!
The transition from year 6 into year 7 can be an incredibly challenging time for many students, with the change of culture, expectations and school size between primary and secondary school. The Covid-19 pandemic this year, has added an extra layer of complexity to the transition process and teachers need to work together to deal with this.
This blog post is to encourage secondary schools and their feeder primary schools to communicate with each other. We are in unchartered territory and I think the best way to navigate this is to share experience and plan together.
Below are the meeting summary notes I put together, with some useful resources. A big thank you to Leanne Casey at London North East Maths Hub for sharing some great ideas at her Transition collaboration meeting.
Readers, let me know if you find this blog post useful or if you have ideas on how we can improve KS2-KS3 transition moving forward…. and good luck in your school!
KS2-KS3 Transition Collaboration Meetings – SUMMARY NOTES
London Central & West Maths Hub (6th July 2020)
Starter: What makes a good mathematician?
- Happy to work and put in effort
- Able to make links between maths topics
- Good communication skills (reasoning)
- Can solve non-routine problems
- Comfortable making mistakes
- Comfortable asking questions to gain understanding
- Good foundation maths knowledge (fluency)
- Growth mindset
Discussion: Primary and Secondary Teacher (Breakout Room)
Primary teachers’ comments
- It is likely that in most schools the majority of the yr 6 maths content had been delivered before lockdown in preparation for SATs exams but students will have missed out on the revision and problem-solving practice that usually takes place before and after the SATs exams
- Even though yr 6 students have been able to attend school since 1st June, the maths teaching has been limited due to social distancing and limited school opening times.
- The proportion of yr 6 students that have returned to school in this period is very varied but pretty low (some schools present mentioned 50% attendance or lower)
- Government guidance states that no new content be taught to yr 6 students in this period for equality
- There is usually some ‘learning loss’ that occurs after the yr 6 SATs but this will be much more extreme after lockdown due to prolonged lack of school routines for some students.
Secondary teachers’ comments
- Some secondary schools have had yr 6 students in to visit their schools and have conducted interviews
- Some secondary schools are setting work for yr 6 to do over the summer holiday – the issue is always ensuring students engage with the work provided
- Without yr 6 SATs data there are big implications for setting in yr 7 – Schools that have mixed ability groups don’t have to worry about this – Interesting discussion whether there should be setting in yr 7, especially this year
- Teachers concerned about the knowledge gap being much greater this year compared to previous cohorts – what is the best way to reduce the gaps? Do they need to revisit KS2 curriculum?
Other points to note:
- Yr 6 to yr 7 transition can be a difficult time for students (even without a pandemic) so some concerns about how students will deal with this in the new academic year
- At the start of lockdown there was a lot more engagement with online remote learning work by students across year groups but this has slowed down a lot recently (online learning fatigue)
- Overall findings showed different schools are doing very different things.
Ideas to Reduce the Gaps in Year 7
Key Point: What you decide to do should be specific to your school context, taking into consideration what is happening in your main feeder schools.
Suggestions to support Yr 7 Teaching and Learning Planning
- Join this Maths Hub’s Year 5 – 8 Continuity Workgroup next academic year – In the sessions primary and secondary maths teachers are brought together to share best practice and collaborate on ways to improve KS2-KS3 transition for their students.
Useful Resources to support Yr6 into Yr7 Maths Teaching