Facilitating a Successful Transition to Secondary School: (How) Does it Work? A Systematic Literature Review

Marlau van Rens*, Carla Haelermans, Wim Groot, Henriette Maassen van den Brink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review


For children, the transition from primary to secondary school is sometimes difficult. A problematic transition can have both short-and long-term consequences. Although information from children and their parents about what concerns them can contribute to a smooth transition, this information is rarely shared during the transfer to secondary school. This review examines 30 empirical studies on the effects of interventions to ease the transition process. These are interventions which, in contrast to the usual information about curriculum and test results, focus on what children report about the transition. Our findings suggest that, although their perspectives differ, positive relationships between the stakeholders in the transition process-schools, children and their parents-can help to improve the challenges presented by the transition. It shows the importance to involve all stakeholders in the transition process. However, there is a gap in exchanging information. Little evidence is found on interventions that focus on partnership or cooperation between parents, children and schoolteachers. We conclude that children and their parents are not well represented in the decision making and in the interventions that provide information to the other stakeholders. There is a need for further research on the way children can be partners in the transition process and how they can inform other stakeholders. Researchers also must investigate how this information can be evaluated and what the consequences are for the collaboration between stake-holders in the transition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-56
Number of pages14
JournalAdolescent Research Review
Issue number1
Early online date16 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018


  • Transition
  • Primary-secondary school
  • Child participation
  • Child voice
  • Support
  • Stakeholders

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