We have been working for the past 2 years with the Literacy and Numeracy CPD Transition Project.
The aim of this project is two-fold:
- To provide a professional development programme for teachers of English and Mathematics across Key Stages 2 and 3 which focuses on the delivery of high-quality teaching and learning.
- To address issues related to learning that pupils face at the transition from primary to post primary school.
“Schools and other organisations need to strengthen transition links in order to build effectively upon pupils’ prior learning and address the regression that can occur.” (Chief Inspector’s Report, 2012-14, p13)
The transfer from primary to secondary school phases can be a very turbulent experience for young children. They are separated from their peers, faced with the prospect of a new learning environment and of learning different subjects in a more rigidly timetabled structure.
Izak9 was originally designed as a transition device. We wanted to create a mechanism whereby children in the later years of primary school could build a more positive relationship with mathematics, by giving them back play, while also giving them the capacity to embrace maths more fully as a subject of choice prior to moving to secondary school. In parallel with this, we wanted to create an environment for pupils coming into secondary school from different primary backgrounds, that would offer a genuinely collaborative environment rich in shared learning.
If we combine the obvious opportunities for pupils with the fact that teachers from both sectors can be offered shared CPD training, then we really are on to something with impact potential. This shared training creates an ideal introductory forum to initiate relationships between the maths department staff of the secondary schools and the teachers of the feeder primary schools and indeed also between schools in the same sector that want to build relationships and share leading practice.
These relationships can then be developed, putting both parties on the same page, to fully support children through the transition period not only in respect of the teaching and learning of mathematics, but also with their interpersonal and cross curricular skills development. The picture below is of primary and secondary teachers from across Northern Ireland, who participated in a joint Izak9 ‘sharing of leading practice’ training day in Omagh, Co. Tyrone, with the support of the Education Authority NI.
The teacher below is John Mulholland. He is a senior teacher and maths specialist from St. Joseph’s College, Coalisland. John visited one of the College’s feeder primary schools – Annaghmore PS, where he delivered an Izak9 session to the children for an afternoon. John says:
“This was a marvellous experience getting to work with the younger children. The one thing that stood out for me most, was the variety of methods that the children had in responding to the different tasks. It is now much clearer to me that we need to give children more thinking time, especially at Secondary level, as due to the demands of the curriculum, we’re always teaching to the clock”
John is one of many innovative Izak9 practioners at both primary and secondary level now prepared to share the skills and particularly, the confidence they have gained through building their own relationship with Izak9. This alone could have an enormous impact on the building of relationships between schools, but coupled with the provision of joint Izak9 training to the staff of primary and secondary schools together, we have the potential to have a profound effect on pupil transition, which we are already beginning to see happen.
To view the results of the EANI’s independent pilot evaluation of Izak9’s impact on Pupil Transition in Northern Ireland, please visit our efficacy page.
Even beyond the remit of the NI Transition Project, schools are prepared to use Izak9 to initiate relationships of their own. One example is Ross Isdale from Firrhill High School, Edinburgh, pictured below working on fractions and equivalence with Peter Gorrie, principal of a neighbouring primary school – Bonaly PS, Edinburgh, Scotland.
Ross came across from Scotland to participate in the previously mentioned ‘sharing of leading practice’ training day in Omagh. After this event, he has taken to visiting Primary and Secondary Schools in Edinburgh with Izak9, as an initiative of his own. Having done some testing with his own first years, he is convinced that Izak9 is having a positive impact on not only their peer relationships and attitudes to maths, but also their attainment levels, with in some cases, the pupils that have had access to Izak9 performing more than 30% better than those who haven’t.
If you are interested in investigating how Izak9’s use can help pupils in your school or region navigate the often onerous and turbulent path posed by the transition process, please contact us any time using the link below.