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Learners make positive start at secondary school thanks to Lift Off programme

Northlands Primary School in Rugby was one of three primary schools that participated in the pilot programme for Lift Off, ASDAN's primary to secondary school transition course. Learners complete challenges and develop characteristics such as resilience and determination that support their progression. Tash Bonehill, Assistant Head at the school, explains the transformative effect the course had on learners.

The pupils who undertook Lift Off improved their confidence and self-esteem and ended up making a more successful transition to secondary school. Soon after starting at the ‘big school’, they came back to tell me about their experiences and they spoke about secondary education in such positive terms, saying they were really enjoying it. Some said they were in the top set in maths, which they were very pleased about. My pupils from the previous year had also come back to see me but were less positive, instead referring to their secondary school experience as simply ‘ok’.

Improved performance in English and maths

The year that we delivered the Lift Off programme, we noticed particular improvements in English and maths attainment among those who had participated in the project. The school has a structure in place to gauge progress in English and maths every week. There are four stages:

  1. Novice, which involves the basics of the subject matter and requires a lot of support from the teacher
  2. Apprentice, when learners work at a higher level but still receive some support
  3. Practitioner, when the learner is able to work independently
  4. Expert, where the learner has mastered the subject

We found that pupils who undertook Lift Off developed the ability to move through the various stages more quickly. The project helped them become more determined and recognise the skills they needed in order to reach the Expert stage. Many learners also began to show more initiative and confidence by choosing to skip the Novice stage in order to work more independently at the Apprentice stage.

Seeing the value in education

Undertaking Lift Off helped remove barriers in the pupils’ education because they started to realise the value of their learning and how they needed to acquire certain skills in order to achieve their ambitions. The Lift Off group talked about learning and the value of learning – something I had not seen to the same degree in previous year groups. When a pupil is able to talk about learning, it shows that they have developed an understanding of the value of their education rather than just seeing it as something they have to do. It also shows that they are beginning to understand how it can help them achieve their goals in life.

Caption: Pupils at Northlands Primary School develop the characteristic of self-control by learning to not react to distractions around them