Now, I’ve been around the clock a couple of times now and have had a very long career in education, so have seen a range of different approaches, some of which work, if they are bedded in and continued through reflective practice.
Quite often the changes in staffing, especially at Secondary level, can mean that understanding and interpretations of the roles involved can vary from year to year. It is also possible that, where Secondary schools articulate that they will test the children on arrival that all records up to that point can seem to have become irrelevant, with the implication that the preceding teacher judgement and the National Curriculum testing should not be taken as the baseline.
The lack of professional acceptance has been a feature since the inception of the National Curriculum in 1987, at which point I was the Deputy in a First School, feeding a Middle School where the staff would never accept the judgements, even if they had been moderated and validated by County Advisors and Inspectors. It happens at all stages, yr2-3, 6-7, 9-10, where transfer into another Key Stage with some kind of terminal testing might be an issue.
It has long been argued that a level 3 in Infants was not the same as in Junior or in Secondary. It is an issue of looking down on the stage before. It happens within schools too, at transition points, but can be further exaggerated at transfer, where the children are not known at all.
Primary schools know their children extremely well, especially if the staffing is relatively static, as previous staff knowledge is not lost between years, so all become the eyes and ears of the system, ensuring that change is quickly spotted. As Jon said, the equivalence is that within a half term, the Primary teacher will have seen their children for as many hours as a Secondary teacher does in a year. It is a great pity if that knowledge is devalued or effectively lost.
While transfer can be a new start for some, for the majority it is important that continuity of expectation ensures that the transfer year is not spent doing the same as has been done before, so that previous benchmarks can be the start point for that year.
Some suggestions for transfer activity:-
Talk, talk and keep talking, even when transfer has happened. Evaluate the process from all angles, staff, children and parents. Did it work for each of them?
Quality visits between schools, with Secondaries walking their feeder Primaries, so that they have a full picture of where their new entrants have come from. Otherwise, you might as well meet in a coffee shop and just talk about the children, disembodied from their learning context.
Share and value records passing from the previous phase. If this is too much, then at least a small portfolio as a record, against which the new efforts can be judged. Avoid slippage, as this can become a significant negative. The number of children who come back to Primary and tell teachers that they are doing the same again, as in years 5 and 6, is probably significant. It was a regular feature in my school. (The Secondary bus stop was just outside the school, so easy to pop in for a chat on the way home)
Agree to use the same books across years 6 and 7, so that the last book used in year 6 is taken with the child to be the start point in year 7; benchmark known.
Cross phase projects; see the work of Pete Jones @Pekabelo in this regard, for excellent examples. This enable quality work to be developed across the summer holiday in preparation for the new start.
Growth mindset should be the hallmark of transfer. How will the receiving school/teachers build on the successes to date? Levels do indicate some level of ability, even if you’d rather they didn’t.