Why is transition so important?

Mental Health

  • 1 in 4 children show some evidence of poor mental health (Young Minds Trust 2017)
  • 50% of those with lifetime mental illness experience symptoms by the age of 14 (Public Health England 2016)
  • It is increasingly recognised that positive interventions made during adolescence can have long-term positive consequences over an individual’s lifespan (Coleman et al, 2011; Colishaw et al, 2004; Durlak et al, 2010, 2011; Kautz et al, 2016).
  • Real positive change can happen when transition programmes are well-designed and effective. (What Makes a Successful Transition from Primary to Secondary School? Evangelou et al. 2008)

A Period Of Change

Very often the most difficult time for children is the transition period between ages 10 and 14. At this time many stressful elements combine: the move from primary to secondary education, SAT examinations, 11+ or other school entry exams, the onset of puberty, changes in peer groups, the influence of social media, and more.

Key Skills For Learning & Life

Many argue that the most important prerequisites for child development are executive control (the management of cognitive processes such as memory, problem solving, reasoning and planning) and emotion regulation (the ability to understand and manage the emotions, including and especially impulse control). These main contributors to self-regulation underpin emotional wellbeing, effective learning and academic attainment. They also predict income, health and criminality in adulthood. There is promising evidence that mindfulness training, when taught well, can enhance executive control in children and adolescents in line with adult evidence.

How Does .breathe Fit Within Government and Statutory Requirements?

The draft education inspection framework for 2019 sets out how Ofsted proposes to inspect schools, further education and skills provision.

.breathe aims to support learning and experience in line with key aspects of this guidance. In particular:

Inspectors will make a judgement on the personal development of learners by evaluating the extent to which:

  • the curriculum extends beyond the academic, technical or vocational and provides for learners’ broader development, enabling them to develop and discover their interests and talents
  • the curriculum and the provider’s wider work support learners to develop their character – including their resilience, confidence and independence – and help them know how to keep physically and mentally healthy
  • at each stage of education, the provider prepares learners for future success in their next steps

To view our current list of .breathe courses, please visit our course schedule.

Further Information – Research Evidence About Transition

Two words ‘Transfer’ and ‘Transition’ are used interchangeably to refer both to the children’s move out of one school system and into another, or within the same school between different years.

Regardless of the term adopted, the issue of transition from early years to primary school and then to secondary education has been the focus of much research (Graham and Hill, 2002; Galton, Gray and Ruddock, 2000). A review of the literature has highlighted several common themes concerning transition from primary to secondary school and these are summarised below.

Key findings

To ensure that children’s transitions are successful, social adjustment and mental health are key indicators, and need to be taken into account when planning transition strategies at Local Authority and school levels.

Social adjustment

The research identified that one important indicator of a successful transition was the extent that children have more and new friendships and report higher self-esteem and greater confidence after their transition to secondary school. The research suggests there is a need to help children develop their social and personal skills (friendships, self-esteem and confidence).

Using the PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education) curriculum to develop these skills, as well as using the period after the KS2 national assessments as a key period to help prepare children could help both in the transition process, as well as the PHSE skills of older pupils.

Mental health

Mental ill health places an enormous burden on society, is the source of great suffering and often starts in adolescence. The Department of Health recently stated that, “By promoting good mental health and intervening early, particularly in the crucial childhood and teenage years, we can help to prevent mental illness from developing and mitigate its effects when it does”.

Prevention and intervention during this period is important because we know that mental health problems most commonly start during adolescence: 75% of mental health problems begin before the age of 24, and half by age 15 (Silva, 1990; Jones, 2010).

Developmentally, adolescence is a period characterised by considerable flux and transition as young people leave their childhood behind and navigate towards independence, working to create a unique identity separate from parents and carers. It is also a period when peers become more important influences.

During secondary school years, national prevalence studies show that 12% of children meet the criteria for diagnosis of any type of mental health condition. As with primary school years, boys are the most likely to have a diagnosable condition during these years and conduct problems dominate.