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How transition plan from primary to secondary took the biscuit

A literacy conference organised by S1s has helped ease the transition to secondary for their P7 colleagues from a feeder primary.

The pupils at Greenwood Academy in North Ayrshire had never been to a conference. But in discussion with their English teacher, Debbie Gardner, who explained the concept, they decided it would be the best way to introduce P7s from Lawthorn Primary to life at high school - and, specifically, to the literacy skills they would need in different subjects. The class carried out research, brainstormed about speakers, considered what workshops they would run and what refreshments to provide.

They secured Mary Docherty, the authority's head of education, as their keynote speaker and organised four workshops on personal and social education, science, home economics and technical. They even provided goody bags emblazoned with adverts from local businesses, which more than covered the cost of the event.

Seventy delegates attended. At the PSE workshop, they learned about the impact of bullying; at the same time, through the creation of leaflets and posters, they experimented with language and punctuation, in particular the colon.

In the science workshop, the P7s produced hydrogen and learned about the importance of literacy when it came to following step-by-step instructions and safety rules.

In technical studies, they learned how to use a computer package to create 3D images and the new vocabulary associated with it. "We taught them words such as `extrude', which means to make something 3D," explained Kimberly Thomson, one of the pupils who helped organise the event.

Meanwhile, in home economics, the delegates baked biscuits and decorated them with less commonly used punctuation marks. "We wanted to remind them that punctuation wasn't just about full stops and capital letters," explained Ms Gardner.

Each workshop was led by a teacher, with the S1 pupils acting as facilitators.

Getting help and support from peers was the highlight for Cassidy Murray, a Lawthorn pupil who is now at Greenwood: "You don't usually have pupils teaching you, so it was a fun change."

The pupils' hard work was recognised last month at the School Leaders Scotland conference where they were presented with the Homework Diary Award, worth pound;2,000.

Next year, the theme for the competition will be enterprise. Schools wishing to enter will find details on the SLS website in the New Year.

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