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Transition from Primary to Junior High

10 Mar 2021


Helen McCann

English Teacher


Transition from Primary school into Junior High marks a key moment in every child’s educational journey. Here at Huili, this process is greatly enhanced through ongoing collaboration between our Primary and Junior High colleagues. Working together, staff construct and deliver a progressively developmental approach to ensure every Grade 6 pupil feels confident and excited to continue to the next stage in their learning journey.



The transition program commences in January, with different activities happening over the rest of the academic year including work with parents, students and teachers. Recent research into transition from Primary school to Junior High has shown pre-transition support from teachers and peers to be a significant contributing factor in academic achievement, positive behavioural engagement and decreased cynicism in students as they enter the new school (Virtanen et. al, 2019). Therefore, starting the transition process early in the year ensures our students possess the requisite skills, knowledge and relationships to have the very best start in Junior High.


Earlier this year we had the pleasure of welcoming the parents of our Grade 6 students in to meet with key members of the Junior High team – Mrs. Laura Perry (Head of Junior High), Mrs. Tracey Zheng (Deputy Head of Junior High), Miss. Helen McCann (upcoming Assistant Head of Junior High) and Mrs. Claire Zhang (upcoming Grade 7 Leader). These sessions included a presentation about the Junior High curriculum and how it prepares students academically for IGCSE, A-Levels and university courses, as well as socially and emotionally through developing strong relationships with our teachers, extra-curricular offerings and wellbeing curriculum.


We also had two Grade 7 representatives from each class deliver their own presentations about their experiences in Junior High this year, which offered a fantastic first-hand account of daily life as a grade 7 student. These sessions were a great chance to welcome parents into our Junior High community, and we look forward to continuing to work closely with them over the coming months and years.



Following on from this we held a transition assembly, which was created and presented by student volunteers from each House in Grade 7. Student voice is incredibly important to us in Junior High, and Grade 7 students worked hard to produce an engaging and informative assembly all about life as a Junior High student and taught Grade 6 pupils lots about what to expect next year. Providing our students with opportunities to show their responsibility is an essential part of our holistic educational offer in Huili School Hangzhou. Involving our current Grade 7 students in the transition process at this point helps to build relationships and familiarity between the grades, consequently, Grade 6 students will feel welcomed and supported from their peers as well as their teachers. We also recognise the importance of this being an on-going process, and from September each new Grade 7 class will be allocated a number of Grade 8 students to act as ‘buddies’ - these will be students they can talk to for help and advice.



Over the next couple of months key staff from our Junior High team will be spending days with Grade 6 in Primary, observing lessons and starting to develop relationships with individual students. From this, and from discussions with the current Grade 6 teachers we will be able to continually develop our transition plan to ensure it is meeting the needs of every student joining us next year.  Our Grade 7 students will continue to be involved in the process, currently they are designing leaflets to be given to Grade 6 students with their ‘top-tips’ on how to succeed in Junior High.



An exciting day all our staff are looking forward to is transition day which will happen later in the semester, where Grade 6 students will come and experience life in Junior High for a full day. They will meet some of their new teachers, follow a Junior High timetable, have chance to explore the Junior High building and ask any questions they might have. This will be an action-packed day, offering an immersive and supportive experience to Grade 6 students, developing their understanding of what they can expect when they join us in September.



We fully understand that transition from Primary to Junior High can be a stressful and anxious time for students and parents. Through developing a progressive, comprehensive transition program we aim to alleviate these concerns. Covering fundamental areas such as building relationships with new teachers and peers, experiencing life as a Junior High student, partaking in question-and-answer sessions and through some summer activities, our Grade 6 students are in the very best position to transition smoothly into Junior High and make the most of the incredible opportunities which lay ahead for them.




Virtanen, T. E., Vasalampi, K., Kiuru, N., Lerkkanen, M. K. and Poikkeus, A. M. (2019) ‘The role of perceived social support as a contributor to the successful transition from primary to lower secondary school’, in Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, vol. 64, no. 7, pp. 967 – 983. 


Scheduled for late April, the 2021 Festival of Education features virtual events online as well as live events at Wellington College's Tianjin, Shanghai and Hangzhou campuses. 


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18 - 23 April

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Saturday 24 April - Shanghai 

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