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Secondary schools testing pupils on transfer day.

Secondary schools testing pupils on transfer day.

When primary school teacher Ed Finch discovered that his son Douglas, in year 6, would be tested on his literacy and numeracy during a “transition day” at his new secondary school this term, he was outraged. “I thought it was a pretty shoddy and bizarrely unhelpful thing to do,” he says. Transition days are children’s first experience of their new big school – the idea is to gently help them to get used to a new, often daunting, environment, and meet children in their form group.

“A transition day should be about reassuring children that they will feel safe at secondary school in September and that the school will value them,” says Finch.

Douglas enjoyed the first of his two transition days at Oxford Spires academy, which included investigations in the science lab and a fun dodgeball contest, but on the second day he was faced with a multiple choice reading comprehension quiz, a “write as much as you can in 10 minutes” essay and a spelling test. “He was doing something he had never done before, in a hall he had never been in before. He was told he could only look forward or down. My son likes tests but even he felt nervous.”

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