The headteacher column with Alex Reppold

Headteacher at Pocklington junior school Alex Reppold.
Headteacher at Pocklington junior school Alex Reppold.

All of a sudden it seems that the summer holidays are upon us and all too soon our year 6 pupils will be moving on to their new secondary school.

This time of transition can be a challenge for even the most outgoing of pupils; moving from knowing where everything is, having a relationship with every adult and child to only knowing a small fraction of the school and moving onto more challenging work – it’s not easy being 11 years old!

Year 6 pupils across the area will be moving on to their new secondary school.

Year 6 pupils across the area will be moving on to their new secondary school.

As a junior school, we understand the need for a successful transition as we have to manage these nerves at both ends of the school. This year we took the leap and every child has already started in their new classes, with their new teacher and is getting settled before the summer holidays begin. This approach means that the children can dispense with some of the nerves they get from having unanswered questions such as, “Will I like my new teacher” and “Will any of my friends be in my class” early on, hopefully leading to a settled summer and an eager start to September.

Our Year 6 pupils, soon to be Year 7s, have been preparing for their end of year show and have been working with a variety of teachers in a bid to prepare them for the range of staff they will be working with next year.

All of this is positive, however the challenge of transition between separate schools is something which is being faced up and down the country and the measures we currently have in place are good, but not perfect – it doesn’t get to the root of the problem; that schools are separate entities with their own drivers and the transition between them can be jarring.

As you hopefully will be aware, we are one of the schools which is currently in the process of becoming an academy, alongside Woldgate College and Stamford Bridge Primary School. For me, the Wold’s Learning Partnership represents the best that our country’s education system has to offer; it allows school’s to work together very closely, sharing expertise and best practice in order to ensure that each and every child has the best possible time at school. That isn’t to say that each school individually hasn’t been doing that; instead, this is a situation where whole can be more than the sum of its parts.

There are times when I wish I was 11 again – I’m sure most people look back with a fondness to their own childhood, when responsibilities and demands on your time were limited and the summer holiday seemed to stretch ahead of you filled with endless possibilities.

However, within the confines of education, I believe we have moved on to being much more focussed on children – yes there are the headaches of budget restraints, the burgeoning content of the curriculum and the endless saga surrounding national testing – but with the possibilities being afforded to schools, through carefully planning our own futures focussed on our pupils and our community, I’m envious of pupils who are now in our schools – I truly believe what we’re able to offer them has never been better.