Ferndale Community School – Transition Fortnight

Area(s) of focus:
  • Improve pupil outcomes in KS2
  • Improve pupil outcomes in KS3
  • Reduce the gap – vulnerable pupils

School(s) or partnership name: Ferndale Community School (Tylorstown, Maerdy, Darran Park & Penrhys Primary).

Name of lead person: Heather Nicholas & Nicole Jones

Role of lead person: Head teacher; Achievement Leader – Y7 & Transition Coordinator

Lead person e-mail address: h.nicholas@ferndalecs.com

Lead person telephone number: 01443 755337

Local authority(ies): RCT

Phase(s): Primary/Secondary

Context and background to case study:

Cluster Heads were conscious that traditional transition days were no longer fit for purpose (had changed very little in 10 years and did little to address key elements of the Donaldson Report). They were not effective in supporting social integration, did little to build on the restorative approaches developed in each school and did not build meaningful relationships prior to joining Y7.

Gain time was also a CPD/ School Improvement planning opportunity reserved for KS4 & 5 teachers only – something we wished to share with Cluster colleagues.

Together we planned for a Transition Fortnight. Pupils in Y6 joined Ferndale Community school for two weeks and experienced a wide range of curriculum enhancement and enrichment activities. VP data allowed us to target focus groups and access funding from Communities First.

Opportunity was also taken to involve key staff from across the cluster e.g. YEPs teams, careers advisors, PCSO. The fortnight focused on developing literacy and Numeracy skills – particularly oracy.

Nature of strategy or activity:

During the week prior to ‘Transition fortnight’, teachers from KS3 observed best prac in KS2 and planned lessons accordingly. During the fortnight itself Y6 teachers used the Gain Time now available to meet as a cluster for 4 days in order to form Lit/ Num/ Science and Welsh PLCs and write meaningful Improvement Plans.

The fortnight itself allowed us to slowly integrate the different schools into mixed form groups. Activities such as each school learning a different verse to a song that they wrote the words to (and performed as a whole for the parents at the end of the week) and each school adding to a work of art that was collated into a whole by the end of the week helped us to foster a team ethos. Problem solving activities allowed key staff to observe individual pupils in relation to the pen portraits, data and vulnerability profiles provided by KS2 colleagues. Outdoor pursuits (Dare Valley Park) supported the development of Oracy and restorative approaches in a subtle but exciting way. Pupils were taught the routines of the specialist rooms/ facilities – they all cooked, swam, carried out experiments, used machinery and the library. Numeracy days developed specific skills which were further enhanced throughout the week.

Daily dialogue with the Y6 staff supported immediate intervention where required and parents were involved throughout. Pupils ‘graduated’ at the end of the fortnight fully prepared to hit the ground running in September where the process will conclude with a residential trip to Llangranog (free of charge). Our aim is to develop the project to provide further opportunities for Gain Time in the Primary schools and to involve peer mediators/ coaches within the model.

Impact on provision, teaching and learning and/or leadership:

  • A greater equality in access to Gain time across the key stages.
  • Use of Gain time for joint planning
  • An opportunity to work with KS2 pupils – at a time when they have completed all assessments and tests. Improved motivation and engagement in learning – right up to the end of term.
  • Flexibility for Primary schools to continue with their scheduled ‘leavers’ celebrations
  • Opportunities to integrate pupils from outside the cluster early
  • Opportunity to integrate pupils with Complex needs early with LSA’s fully involved across the Key stages. Best prac shared.
  • Pupil feedback – very positive.

Where is the good practice recognised? 

  • Cluster head teachers
  • RCT Education/ Access and Inclusion service


Ferndale - transition week2 Ferndale - transition week