Day 55 – The Transition Myth


The central myth of the two-tier dogma is that two school transfers are bad and this causes terrible disruption to our children’s education.

Hmm…SMS wonders why in the last OFSTED report for each of the 7 upper schools, negative effects of transition were not mentioned once? Isn’t that interesting ! OFSTED doesn’t see fit to comment yet Geoff Bent (Educational Official with responsibility for School Improvement) believes that these transitional dips are worth changing a whole school system for.

What complete and utter nonsense. There is no evidence that two transitions are any worse than one transition ultimately in pupils’ lives.

Two transitions managed well from small lowers to medium-sized middles to human-sized uppers are much less damaging than one harsh change from a small primary to a massive secondary of around 2000 pupils. That is precisely why the Plowden Report (1967) encouraged school system change to three-tier education in the first place: the sizes of schools match pupils’ development stage.

The second myth being propagated is that GCSE choices are terribly difficult as Year 9s are in a new school. This again, has no evidence to support it. GCSE choices are always tricky whatever system you have. They are dependent on school, teacher, pupil, the time of the day you ask a 14 year old what they want to do with their lives…

Show us the evidence that this is any worse in three-tier than two-tier.

SMS says focus resources on communication between schools to manage transitions well. If they can’t manage this now, how on earth are they going to manage the advanced communication needed during the massive disruption that our school system will face should we decide unwisely to change to two-tier.

If you want to have an impact, TAKE ACTION NOW. Spread the word. Blog on everyday. Email Do something, not nothing. And do it today.

5 Responses to Day 55 – The Transition Myth

  1. PT says:

    I attended the meeting at Hastingsbury earlier this week. On the positive side, it did seem that one or two of the panel were trying, at least on the face of it, to hold a middle line, if not quite an open mind.
    However, I was very disappointed with Geoff Bent who made various comments about the negative effects of transitions and, when questioned about proof, simply reverted to a basic “because I know best” type of argument. He seemed unwilling to reference facts and eventually became disappointingly patronising.
    However, when put on the spot he did say that if we stay with 3-tier we would have to change the way that transitions are handled or at a minimum learn to manage them much more effectively.
    So based on Geoff’s input here’s an idea. How about, if he thinks transitions are so much of a problem, we DON’T close down our already excellent schools and instead we work together to improve transitions where needed. Would Geoff consider this less disruptive to my child’s education or would demolishing middle schools provide him with a much more acceptable graph when he plots disruption versus improvement ?

  2. William says:

    I have just read your day 44 blog and to my horror it says that you are prepared to take a decison to judical review….

    Is that not going against everything you are standing for – If you take that action will you not be wasting the councils money that could be spent on our childrens education, would that not leave our children and teachers unsettled for a longer period of time?

    We have all see what a judical review can do when the old county council challenged the unitory decision!

    So basicly what you are saying is if you don’t get your way you will be going to the high court!

  3. savemiddleschools says:

    We believe that the money will be wasted and cause more disruption than it is worth. Anybody else want to comment?

  4. Colin Mosedale says:

    William, if you think the Consultation document was fair and balanced and the public were given ample air time to question and counter question the Council’s officers you have nothing to worry about. If you think that the Councils presented their views, backed up by substantive research then you have nothing to worry about. If you think the Council can avoid significant increases in Council tax to fund the conversion of lower schools into primaries the you have nothing to worry about. I know that SMS have approached the Mayor and the Councillors for further debate – judicial review is the last thing anyone wants for the Borough. What is sought is an opportunity for a frank (forgive the pun), open and honest debate with the decision makers.

  5. Alex Monaghan says:

    Judicial review really should be a last resort. But what is the alternative? I don’t personally believe that “If you don’t do this in a fair and open democratic way, we will take no further action” is going to persuade the Borough to change its approach. Any better suggestions out there?

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