THE DREADED move to secondary school was not so frightening after all for primary pupils who made the leap two months early and got a preview of what to expect ahead of September.

Year six children from across Swindon, including Ferndale, Gorse Hill and the Beech Avenue site, due to start at Swindon Academy in the autumn, joined their new school on Monday and will be living life as official highschoolers over the next two weeks as part of the Step Up programme.

Now in its second year, the scheme was launched to give pupils time to adjust and find their bearings so the transition to secondary school is as smooth as possible.

Secondary headteacher at Swindon Academy, Karen Stokes, said: “We feel that our Step Up weeks give pupils a great advantage. By the end of term, they will know all their teachers, and they will be able to find their way around our fabulous building. They also meet other students in their tutor group, who help them to settle in to their new routines. This means that pupils don’t worry about secondary school over the six week summer holiday – they are happy and confident having spent eight days with us.”

New students will also have the opportunity to bond before September at the Academy’s summer school – ten days of non-stop activities including a sleepover and a visit to the Cotswold Water Park.

Year six children’s fears and concerns were put to rest soon after meeting their teachers and by day two they had embraced their status as high school students.

“We go to lessons and get used to the school so we know where everything is in September, “ said 11-year-old Emily Miller, who just three days ago was a pupil at the Academy’s Alton Close primary site. “I was very nervous about coming here at first but now I’m confident. I was worried about getting lost but now I won’t worry about it over the summer.”

Kacey St. Clair, 11, a year six pupil at Swindon Academy’s Beech Avenue site added: “Leaving the primary school was a bit upsetting. We were leaving all the teachers and some of our friends are going to different secondary schools. So I was a bit nervous. Meeting all the new teachers has been good. It’s better than just having a one-day induction. I’m looking forward to starting now.”