Strong maths skills at primary level and positive student-teacher relationships at second level key to transition
Growing Up in Ireland today (19 October 2017) publishes a new report from the study on young people’s transition from primary to second-level education: Off to a Good Start? Primary School Experiences and the Transition to Second-Level Education, by Emer Smyth, ESRI. The report is being launched by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, TD, at an event held at the ESRI.
The transition to second-level education is a major landmark in young people’s lives, as they adjust to new teachers, new school subjects and new friends. Off to a Good Start? looks at the way in which primary school experiences can provide a crucial foundation for a successful transition to second-level education. The findings are based on interviews conducted with young people when they were 9 and 13 years of age, as well as interviews with their parents and questionnaires completed by their principals and teachers. The report emphasises young people’s own views and perspectives, highlighting important issues for policy development and school practice.
Attitudes to school
Implications for policy
The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone TD, said:
“Changing from primary to secondary school is a key moment in a child’s life. This report explores what factors help or hinder children during this transition and their school engagement at second level. It generates some important insights about the role of early school experiences, as well as difficulties encountered by particular groups. One of the key findings shows that young people’s school experiences and outcomes are shaped by their social background. This research will help inform policy on supports for children, young people and their families. It will also ensure that the 1.38 billion euro that we will invest in children and young people in the coming year will be focused on achieving the best possible results for them. More broadly, the report’s findings will be of great value to policy makers and educators committed to better educational outcomes for all.”
Emer Smyth, author of the report and Research Professor, ESRI, said:
“How children get on in primary school sets the tone for their later educational success. Primary education provides them with the literacy and numeracy skills they need to engage with learning at second-level. Children can disengage from school and their school subjects even at this early stage, making it difficult to reengage them later on. At second level, building positive student-teacher relationships is critical in supporting young people to feel more confident as learners and helping them to thrive in the new environment of second-level school.”
The ESRI works towards a national vision of ‘Informed policy for a better Ireland’. This means producing high-quality analysis to provide robust evidence for policymaking, with the goals of research excellence and policy impact.
The ESRI produces research that contributes to understanding economic and social change in the new international context and that informs public policymaking and civil society in Ireland.