Moving to Secondary School: What Do Pupils in England Say About the Experience?
This chapter looks at the impact on pupils when they fi rst arrive at secondary school. Transition1 is often described as an anxious time but it is more true to say that pupils generally feel excitement tinged with a touch of apprehension. The following pages explore what schools are doing to make transition a more satisfactory experience and the reactions of pupils to these initiatives. The data presented here are an amalgam of three transition studies conducted in England, that of Hargreaves and Galton (2002), Galton, Gray, and Rudduck (2003), and an unpublished study carried out as part of a policy review for a local authority in England. In Hargreaves and Galton (2002), the fi eld work in six transition schools was carried out in 1996-1997, while Galton et al. (2003) involved some 20 schools situated mainly in 5 Local Authorities in the Midlands and East Anglia covering the period 2000-2002. The review for the Local Authority took place in 2005-2006 and involved three schools. In all cases, groups of pupils were interviewed during the last term at primary school2 shortly after induction day, again at half-term following the move to secondary school and fi nally at the end of the year following transition. Throughout the chapter various suggestions are made concerning ways in which the transition process might be improved.