27 November 2019
Author: Elizabeth Sims - Doctorate in Educational Psychology (DEdPsy), Cardiff University, 2019
This study explored the perspectives of school staff and educational psychologists (EPs) regarding two normative, vertical transitions that take place within the early years of children’s education in England: the transition from nursery to Reception (YR); and the transition from YR to Year One (Y1).
A wealth of international literature (e.g. Shields, 2009; Boyle et al., 2018) has explored the important issue of children’s transition to compulsory schooling (YR in England), the success of which can have long-term implications for children’s development (e.g. Hugo et al., 2018; Margetts, 2009).
Furthermore, in England research has shown that the subsequent transition to more formal learning in Y1 can be challenging (e.g. Sanders et al., 2005; White & Sharp, 2007).
Three focus groups were conducted with sixteen members of school staff in one school and semi-structured interviews were carried out with six educational psychologists (EPs) to provide a timely update to existing research and to address gaps in the literature.
Participants' views towards both of these transitions were sought, with a particular focus on: emotional factors; neighbourhood and community influences; how to support children with additional needs; and the past, present and future role of EPs. Data were analysed using thematic analysis.
Five main themes were identified for staff:
Five main themes were constructed for EPs:
The findings are discussed and a range of implications for EPs working in early years settings and schools are described.