Tackling Transition in Psychology

  • Date: 7 Feb 2012
  • Start Time: 05:45 pm
  • Location/venue: National Science Learning Centre, York

Bookings for this event have closed

Making the transition from sixth form at school or college into university education can be challenging for students.  Evidence from good practice across the United Kingdom suggests that collaboration between pre-tertiary and academic departments can be of benefit to students, and also has advantages for teachers in both sectors. 

This workshop will give you opportunities to network with individuals from both parts of the psychology education system, and to explore ways in which we can work together to "tackle transition". 


To facilitate collaboration between individuals teaching psychology in schools and colleges and those in academic psychology departments.


5.45 - 6.00       Arrival and registration, with wine and cheese
6.00 – 7.00      Interactive talks and group discussions, including thought pieces from the panel

Refreshments available

7.00 – 8.00      Feedback, reflection and forward planning
8.00 - 8.15       Closing remarks and refreshments

The panel will include:

• Professor Craig Mahoney, Dr Janet De Wilde and Dr Julie Hulme from the Higher Education Academy;
• Dr Jeremy Airey and Mark Langley from the National Science Learning Centre;
• Dorothy Coombs from the Association for the Teaching of Psychology;
• Dr Matthew Coxon from Leeds Metropolitan University.

Contact email

Post event information

Post event report

A dedicated assortment of school, college and university psychology teachers and academics braved the snow and icy weather to attend this event, organised in partnership by the Higher Education Academy (HEA) and the NSLC.  For many of us, the evening arrived at the end of a long working day, and required some travel to get there, so we were grateful for the excellent buffet and hot drinks awaiting us!   Our commitment was further rewarded during a stimulating evening of discussion and planning which put students right at the heart of “tackling transition” – supporting students in moving from pre-university to university education.

The evening started with talks from Jeremy Airey, co-head of programme at the National Science Learning Centre, and Professor Craig Mahoney, chief executive of the Higher Education Academy. both of whom provided a clear lead on the importance of transition for psychology students, and the need to work in partnership. 

The talks, although informative and interesting, were kept brief and to the point, and delegates were quickly encouraged to start exploring some practical ways of working together, supported by a team of facilitators.  It was recognised that, despite an awareness of some difficulties for both sectors, a solution-focused approach was needed to facilitate support of students through the difficult transition.  A summary of initial discussions from a teacher’s perspective was provided by Dorothy Coombs, vice chair of the Association for the Teaching of Psychology (ATP), and from an academic’s perspective by Matt Coxon, senior lecturer in psychology at Leeds Metropolitan University.  An emerging theme was the need to identify the purpose of collaborative work, and to establish clear and realistic expectations on both sides.  

Julie Hulme, discipline lead for psychology at the Higher Education Academy, then urged us into action, and we worked in small, self-selected groups to develop action plans for working together in the near future.  Each delegate completed a “pledge postcard”, outlining their commitment to working in partnership to proactively “tackle transition”.  Ideas ranged from academics volunteering to work in particular schools, or consortia of schools, to schools offering to talk through the A level curriculum and exams with academics, and universities opening their doors to support pre-university students in using their facilities.  Some ideas focused on whole cohorts of students, and others on carefully selected students who were most likely to choose to study degree-level psychology.  HEA and NSLC jointly committed to collaborating on more events around the UK.  Each idea was specifically pledged by at least one academic and at least one teacher.  The postcards were displayed on a wall, and will be posted back to delegates in a few weeks to request a progress update.

Proceedings were summarised in turn by Matt, Dorothy, Julie and Jeremy, and delegates were thanked for their enthusiastic and thoughtful contributions.  The team were all delighted to see so much positivity and a real commitment to partnership working.  We are all looking forward to hearing how those partnerships progress, and to seeing a real impact on students’ transitions into university.


Facilitating team/speakers:

Jeremy Airey, co-head of programme, NSLC

Dorothy Coombs, vice chair, ATP

Matt Coxon, senior lecturer in psychology, Leeds Metropolitan University

Janet De Wilde, head of STEM, HEA

Julie Hulme, discipline lead for psychology, HEA

Mark Langley, professional development leader, NSLC

Professor Craig Mahoney, chief executive, HEA