Moving from the security and routines of a Primary into a Secondary School is always a daunting - though exciting - prospect for any 12 year old. Often children are anxious about stepping into the unknown. At the High School of Dundee we are ideally situated to make this transition as smooth and straightforward as possible.
Our preparations start in earnest in L6 when children work within a timetabled day. At this stage, pupils may have as many as eleven different teachers for different subjects. Six of these will be Senior School specialist teachers of Music, Art, Drama, French, PE and Home Economics.
This Senior School involvement means that not only do pupils become used to moving around within the Senior School buildings but, more importantly, they start to form bonds with Senior School staff and our pupils become known to them as individuals.
In L7 this pattern continues, with the addition of RE being taught by Senior School staff. In January of L7, all children must sit and pass the Entrance Exam into Senior School. This is a very exciting day for them as they also meet those pupils who are hoping to join the school in August. They will meet their new classmates again on an Induction Day in June, when all of the new Form 1 year group spend a morning following a Form 1 timetable, followed by an afternoon at Mayfield taking part in team building activities.
In the third term of L7, pupils make several visits to Senior School to be taught lessons in Chemistry, Physics, Biology, English and Maths. This expands their knowledge of buildings and staff alike.
We maintain close links at all levels between Junior and Senior School staff, who work together to ensure a continuity in the curriculum. Equally important are the links between the L7 and Guidance staff, to ensure that information is shared to make the transition into the Senior School as smooth as possible for each child.
We feel that we have done our job well in Junior School when, each year, we see that our L7 pupils are happy, excited and confident in leaving us to take that important step across the playground into Senior School.