Prioritise children’s emotional wellbeing during school transition periods

Dr Charlotte Bagnall, Manchester Institute of Education (MIE)

Dr Charlotte Bagnall

Dr Bagnall, a Lecturer within Manchester Institute of Education (MIE) at The University of Manchester, specialises in applied social psychology, focusing on intervention science and co-creation. She's a recognised expert in school transitions research, with a strong reputation nationally and internationally. Dr Bagnall collaborates extensively with local authorities, NGOs, and policy influencers to develop effective school transition interventions, aiming for sustainable and impactful outcomes. Currently, she leads two funded projects: the P-S WELLS research project and the TaST 5-6 intervention evaluation research project.

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Moving from primary to secondary school comes at a critical time in a child’s development. Providing emotional-centred support throughout this transition is crucial to improve the mental health and the educational trajectories of children, and reduce long-term inequalities. To do this, educators need tools to identify and support children’s needs.

Now is the time for education policymakers to...

  • facilitate the introduction of an early intervention sensitive transition curriculum running from Year 5 in primary school to Year 7 in secondary to help children feel prepared and not overwhelmed;
  • facilitate educator access to the Primary-Secondary School Transitions Emotional Wellbeing Scale (P-S WELLS), which has been recognised by the Minister for Children, Families and Wellbeing as a valuable approach to identify and support children’s wellbeing over the transition from primary school to secondary school.

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