A new digital programme is helping primary school pupils to get ready for transition to secondary school while supporting their mental health and wellbeing.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many Year 6 pupils have been unable to visit their new secondary schools in the usual way. Primary schools – like Excalibur Primary School in Cheshire – are overcoming this challenge by using Discovery Education Health and Relationships. A complete PSHE programme, Discovery Education Health and Relationships prepares children to transition to secondary school using videos, discussions and fun learning activities.
Covering the entire primary Relationships, Sex and Health Education Curriculum (RSHE), Health and Relationships – freely available to schools until October – includes a special channel about Coping With Change. As Year 6 pupils across the country get set to start secondary school, teachers use these resources to address children’s concerns about the transition.
Excalibur Primary School has been using the programme since September 2020, and Excalibur’s Assistant Headteacher Daniel Hancock says it’s making a real impact.
“Due to the pandemic, things are a little bit different for our pupils this year”, explains Daniel Hancock. “They will visit their secondary school but won’t have the chance to meet new classmates. Making friends is a worry for some Year 6 pupils, so it’s great to be able to address this using the digital resources.”
Discovery Education Health and Relationships includes special videos focused on secondary school transition, where real pupils offer advice on what to expect. From dealing with friendship worries to more practical concerns such as getting lost in a new school, the resources reassure children about the changes ahead. Daniel Hancock says that this has been especially useful.
“The biggest concern kids have about transition is the uncertainty of moving to a bigger school and the issues that arise from that. Practical worries such as getting lost, forgetting homework or remembering to pack the right books. Health and Relationships includes a film which deals with this. It reassured our pupils that there will be people on hand to help!”
The Health and Relationships videos are presented by children, making them easily relatable. As primary school pupils prepare to leave the security of a familiar classroom and teacher, this child-led approach gives pupils confidence, as Discovery Education’s Kristina Mjomark, one of the programme’s creators, explains, “Children love to learn from their peers, and when it comes to talking about shared experiences like moving on to secondary school, this is especially important. We’ve used child-led videos throughout the Health and Relationships programme because it makes for a more authentic learning experience. And because some children can’t visit their new school in the usual way this year, it’s especially important.
“Moving up to secondary school is an important life event and one that can be unsettling for some children. Our Health and Relationships resources are designed to give teachers the tools they need to support pupils’ mental wellbeing, address their worries and show them what high school life is really like – without even leaving the classroom.”