Some pupils transferring to the secondary phase have passed through the system of teaching adopted by Miss Fairfax and some through that of Mr Bailey and Mrs Castle. Many will not have had experience of either type of competent teacher. Unless they take the trouble to visit the feeder schools, the secondary teachers who teach the new entrants will be unaware of the past mode of learning to which the individuals in their charge have been subjected. They will soon discover that not all the incomers had the good fortune to attend an environmental study centre regularly; their knowledge and understanding of the natural world and the built environment will vary enormously. It is no wonder that some secondary cynics decide to start all over again. Applefield Comprehensive School receives an annual intake of up to 300 pupils from nearly 30 primary feeder schools with the majority coming from six in the locality. Teachers at Applefield have learned that they can assume nothing where the environmental experience of each individual is concerned. New teachers are told the story of the time that a group of 11-year-olds were set the task of replanting the lupins rescued from the bulldozer, about to level the local allotment land for playing field space. For three months the plants had been piled against the boundary wall so that any leaf evidence had long since disappeared. The after school activity ended with an inspection of the work—true all had been planted in neat rows as directed: all with their roots in the air and their stalks in the ground! ‘Assume nothing, even the most basic of knowledge and understanding’ was the message.
Applefield, like all secondary schools, has its ration of Miss Fairfax and Mrs Castle/Mr Bailey types; it also has its Mr Careless BA whose classroom discipline and lesson planning is not all that it might be. The world of the secondary school, through its complexity of size, timetable domination and constant movement from place to place, is hard enough on the new pupil, without having several teachers with varying styles and levels of competence. But much can be done to alleviate many of the difficulties of transfer both before and after the event. Surprisingly little