Transition to Secondary School – Our New Grade 7 and 8 Students

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Kingsgate’s expansion into secondary has been an exciting time for our school and new students. We consider grade 8 and grade 9 to be an important preparation phase for IGCSE which starts in grade 10. These 2 years are incredibly important and essential to make sure children succeed in the IGCSE program.

The transition to secondary school often coincides with important social, emotional and physiological changes in the lives of adolescents. At Kingsgate we identify five key aspects occurring when adolescents move from childhood to adulthood that are useful to consider when thinking about the provision for students at important transitions.


Young adolescent learners are curious, motivated to achieve when challenged, and capable of critical and complex thinking. Therefore, students have opportunities to be curious and to have their thinking extended and challenged.


Young adolescent learners have an intense need to belong and be accepted by their peers while finding their own place in the world. They are involved in forming and questioning their identities on many different levels. Therefore, students’ need to be social and to know about themselves, is met through a culturally responsive programme and a classroom culture that celebrates diversity.


Young adolescent learners mature at varying rates and go through rapid and irregular physical growth, with bodily changes that can cause awkward and uncoordinated movements. Therefore, the programme caters well for students’ needs to be physically active.

Emotional and Psychological

Young adolescent learners are vulnerable and self conscious, and often experience unpredictable mood swings. Therefore, teachers are sensitive to the emotional and psychological changes that are happening to students.


With their new sense of the larger world around them, young adolescent learners are idealistic and want to have an impact on making the world a better place. Therefore, there are opportunities for students to participate in decision-making that affects their life within the school.

We know that students’ academic failure can be partially accounted for by the mismatch between the schools organisational structure and curriculum and the intellectual, social, physical, and emotional needs of adolescents. Schools should be thinking about the wellbeing and learning needs of adolescents and responding appropriately to the changes that are taking place for this age group .

Some of the threats to students’ successful adaption to school might be as a result of ‘normal’ adolescent change. Other threats might be environmental. In either case, there are practices that schools can use to pave the way for students.

At Kingsgate International School our teachers balance academic priorities with social and emotional needs. Our students will achieve their academic potential when all characteristics are attended to.

Happy, sound, balanced, confident children have a greater capacity to be determined, courageous and critical learners.

Contact us now to find out how your child can best prepare for IGCSE through our lower secondary program.