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Change is still not for the better

Inspectors still have "serious concerns" about the impact of the transition from one sector to another on pupils' learning.

The latest in HMIE's How Good Is Your School? series of reports acknowledges the improvement in recent years of pastoral arrangements to ensure an effective move from pre-school to primary and primary to secondary.

However, it underlines that effective continuity and progression in pupils'

learning remain "very significant issues" for Scottish schools.

Introducing the new report, Graham Donaldson, senior chief inspector, states: "Recent Scottish research has shown very good liaison between secondary and primary schools, but a major gap in co-ordination of the 5-14 curriculum across the two sectors and a lack of consistency in the use of assessment information to plan relevant and challenging learning experiences.

"As a consequence, there is a clear need for all establishments to work in partnership, review their current transition procedures and increase the focus on learning."

The report, entitled "Ensuring Effective Transitions", highlights conditions in which arrangements can be developed and evaluated, stressing the use of self-evaluation quality indicators.

In terms of children's learning, the critical areas of concern are the extent to which there is continuity and progression in learning; a common understanding of assessment approaches and standards; and use of assessment information to plan children's progress.

"The quality, or even the existence, of effective cross-sector partnership on these matters is very variable," it states.

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