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    Primary-secondary school transition under Covid-19: exploring the perceptions and experiences of children, parents/guardians, and teachers

    Bagnall, Charlotte, Skipper, Yvonne and Fox, Claire ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4329-4056 (2022) Primary-secondary school transition under Covid-19: exploring the perceptions and experiences of children, parents/guardians, and teachers. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 92 (3). pp. 1011-1033. ISSN 0007-0998

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    Abstract

    The transition from primary to secondary school is a major life event for eleven-year-old children in the United Kingdom, where they face simultaneous changes. Following the outbreak of Covid-19, transfer children face additional uncertainty on top of this. Negotiation of the multiple challenges, combined with the reduced support associated with Covid-19, could have a negative impact on children’s school adjustment and mental health. Given the rapidity of changes associated with Covid-19, there are key empirical and practical gaps on how best to support children as they negotiate these two key events. To date, there is no published research which has explored the experiences of transfer children, and that of their parents and teachers during this time. The present research aimed to narrow this research gap by answering the research question: What are parents’, children’s, and teachers’ experiences of primary-secondary school transition during Covid-19? This research used a series of UK wide surveys to gather data from 101 Year 7 children, 88 Year 7 parents, 26 primary school teachers, and 40 secondary school teachers using a mixture of open and closed questions. The data were analysed using Thematic Framework Analysis, taking an inductive-open coding approach. All three stakeholders reported negative impacts of Covid-19 on the transition, for example, in terms of missed opportunities. There were also many comments about the emotional impact of Covid-19 on children, parents, and teachers. Numerous strategies were reported that were used to meet children’s needs pre and post-transition, highlighting areas of good practice, along with practical suggestions for how to approach transition in the future. The study has identified ways that transition can be managed more effectively, thus, having short term implications in providing an evidence base to support transfer children this year, and long-term implications for future transition years.

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