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Free Content Making the move: Assessing student attitudes to primary-secondary school transfer

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A review is provided of past and present literature on the reactions of students to transfer from primary to secondary school giving rise to a number of hypotheses about the potential difficulties associated with this process. A study is described in which the attitudes towards transfer of 207 Year 6 students attending five primary schools in the South West of England were identified by several different means. Questionnaires were constructed based on hypotheses generated by previous research in relation to student expectations about general secondary school ethos, academic work, relationships with teachers and peers and aspects of personal development. The same students were followed up after one term in secondary school to assess whether their expectations had been confirmed. The results support previous findings concerning the existence of rites-of-passage myths, often aided by primary school teachers, about the difficulties likely to be met during the transition period. However, they also demonstrate the disconfirmation of those myths for most students after a relatively short period of time, especially with regard to psycho-social relationships. At the same time, there are clear indications of an ongoing need for careful consideration of the most appropriate form of learning experiences immediately after transfer.

Keywords: Adolescent rites of passage; Attitudes to school; Reactions to primary-secondary transfer; Social adjustment

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Exeter

Publication date: November 1, 2005

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  • Research in Education has an established focus on the sociology and psychology of education and gives increased emphasis to current practical issues of direct interest to those in the teaching profession.

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