Welcome back, teachers! The return to school can be an exciting yet challenging time, especially when you’re working with Year 6 pupils who are on the cusp of transitioning to secondary school. Building strong teacher-pupil relationships, creating a positive classroom environment, and addressing anxieties are essential elements of a successful school year. In this blog, we’ll explore strategies and activities to help you navigate the back-to-school transition with your Year 6 class.

1. Strategies for Building Strong Teacher-Pupil Relationships

Building strong relationships with Year 6 pupils is crucial, as it sets the tone for their final year in primary school and eases their transition to secondary school. There is pressure to focus on outcomes, but getting to know your pupils will help them to feel valued.

  • Active Listening: Practice active listening during class discussions and one-on-one interactions. Make sure pupils feel heard and valued when they share their thoughts and concerns.
  • Open Communication: Create an environment where pupils feel comfortable approaching you with questions or worries. Encourage open dialogue by being approachable and empathetic.

2. Creative Icebreakers and Class-Building Activities

Fun and engaging icebreakers and class-building activities can help your Year 6 class connect with each other and build a sense of community as they spend their last year at primary school together.

  • “All About Me” Collage: Have each pupil create a collage that represents their interests, goals, and personality. This activity helps pupils creatively share about themselves.
  • Team Challenges: Divide the class into small teams and give them fun, collaborative challenges to complete. This fosters teamwork and camaraderie.

3. Tips for Setting a Positive Classroom Environment
A positive classroom environment is essential for effective learning and a smooth transition. Here’s how you can create one:
  • Establish Clear Expectations: Set clear rules and expectations for behaviour and classroom routines. Discuss these with the class to ensure everyone is on the same page.
  • Decorate and Personalise: Decorate the classroom with pupils’ work and incorporate their input into the classroom. When pupils see their contributions, they’ll feel a sense of ownership.
  • Celebrate Achievements: Recognise and celebrate both academic and personal achievements. Whether it’s a great mark or an act of kindness, acknowledging success builds confidence.

4. Advice on Addressing Anxieties and Challenges

Year 6 students often face anxieties and challenges as they prepare for the transition to secondary school and get ready for the KS2 SATs. Here’s how you can support them:

  • Transition Preparation: Provide information and resources about the transition process to secondary school. Invite secondary school representatives to talk to the pupils.
  • Emotional Well-Being: Encourage discussions about emotions and anxieties. Let pupils know it’s okay to feel nervous and provide coping strategies like mindfulness or journaling.


Navigating the back-to-school transition with Year 6 pupils can be a rewarding experience. By building strong teacher-pupil relationships, incorporating creative icebreakers and class-building activities, setting a positive classroom environment, and addressing anxieties with care and empathy, you can help your Year 6 class thrive in their final year of primary school and confidently transition to the next stage of their education. Here’s to a successful year!