Independent Thinking on Transition

Fostering better collaboration between primary and secondary schools

By: Dave Harris


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Products specifications
Attribute name Attribute value
Size: 198 x 126mm
Pages : 160
ISBN : 9781781353400
Format: Paperback
Published: February 2020

Written by Dave Harris, Independent Thinking on Transition: Fostering better collaboration between primary and secondary schools is an inspirational compendium of practical strategies to empower primary and secondary school leaders to work together to get transition right.

Foreword by Ian Gilbert.

When it comes to looking at the quality of our current schooling system, the biggest elephant in the room is transition. We do it the way we've always done it and, in so many ways and despite our best intentions, we often end up doing it badly.

But, as ever, there is another way.

Which is where Independent Thinking Associate Dave Harris comes in. With an impressive track record in leadership that includes establishing one of England's all-too-rare all-through 3–18 state schools, Dave knows first-hand how much can be achieved when all phases work together and keep the children, not the system, at the heart of all they do.

In this book he tackles school transition head-on, sharing a wealth of practical approaches and vividly illustrating how primary and secondary schools can better collaborate to ensure their pupils enjoy a smooth and effective move between the two phases.

Dave's passion for joined-up thinking between different phases shines through in his writing, as does his ingenuity when it comes to the design and delivery of programmes that work. He provides a clear explanation of the differences between transition and induction programmes, and also shares a comprehensive set of appendices in which he presents a range of materials to support the ideas put forward in the book.

Suitable for all school leaders – from heads of department and heads of year to head teachers and transition leads – in primary and secondary schools.

Independent Thinking on Transition is one of a number of books in the Independent Thinking On ... series from the award-winning Independent Thinking Press.

Picture for author Dave Harris

Dave Harris

Dave Harris has worked for over 20 years in school leadership, including 12 years as a school principal across both primary and secondary phases. During this time, he has developed a reputation for innovative thinking and practice, which he is now sharing with school leaders across the world. He is a sought-after speaker and writer and is also Business Director of Independent Thinking.

Read Dave's feature on page 26 of Leadership Focus Magazine - March 2013.


  1. Dave Harris' Independent Thinking on Transition makes for essential reading. The book provides practical solutions to help school leaders address some of the key issues causing anxiety, frustration and problems relating to well-being and confidence among those pupils moving from primary to secondary school. In addition, Dave distinguishes between transition and induction - stressing that transition is a far more ambitious and detailed process than a two-day induction workshop.

    Readers will especially gain from the strategies Dave shares on how to integrate learning experiences between phases into the schools' calendars. These activities include sharing curriculum plans on a termly basis, joint curriculum days, joint school trips, and regular use of each other's facilities, among many other ideas. Furthermore, the excellent appendices are also full of practical strategies to help school leaders put ideas into practice.

    The book is full to the brim with thought-provoking and practical ideas to make transition a really worthwhile process by seeing to issues such as developing new friendships, improving learners' confidence and alleviating the concerns of their parents.

    I would highly recommend that teachers, school leaders and policymakers read this book.
  2. In Independent Thinking on Transition Dave Harris addresses tangible and perceived divides which have developed between the primary and secondary phases of education, and provides well-evidenced conceptual and practical ideas on how to succeed in bridging those gaps. I would recommend this book to all school leaders as they strive towards a seamless and happy learning journey, through all phases, for all children.
  3. While reading Dave Harris' Independent Thinking on Transition I was struck by the depth of his knowledge and the wide range of practical suggestions he shares to help school communities enrich the transition process for their pupils.

    Dave encourages his fellow professionals by recognising the challenges involved in the process, and also offers an informative account of the science of young learners' brain development and its impact on a child's learning journey. As a result, I'm delighted to report that I now know what -˜hairy dendritic sprouting' means!

    This book is well worth a read if you are passionate about pupils' well-being and the success of our education system.
  4. This is just what our education system needs: a thorough discussion about the difference between induction and transition. Mostly we are doing the former; but we need to be thinking about, and implementing more carefully, the latter. Independent Thinking on Transition is a great book that should prompt some proper, thought-through action to make sure we get better at this aspect of provision.

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