peep transition into school: hampshire

dad and son playing with puppets‘This year coming to Peep has helped me engage with my child through a way of learning I wouldn’t have even thought of. New techniques and ideas to make learning fun!’ – Peep parent 

‘Learning is most successful when parents/carers and teachers work in partnership and Peep supports this shared journey. Our data indicates that those involved in the Peep programme are showing rapid progress in comparison with their peers.  ’ – Head teacher

In Springwood Infant School in Waterlooville in Hampshire, Peep is offered to support transitions and school readiness from pre-school to reception/foundation stage class (age 3-4 to 4-5), with Peep sessions continuing during the reception class year (and now into Year 1 and Year 2, combining Peep Learning Together with the current topic/s being covered by the class teacher). Parents and their children attend weekly Peep sessions, delivered by the school’s Peep-trained Learning Support Assistant. This is initially supported by a Peep-trained pre-school practitioner.

The school serves a mixed population near the town centre, and children arrive with a wide variety of pre‑school experiences. The proportion of pupils known to be eligible for the pupil premium/ free school meals is above average, and it is partly for this reason that the school decided to use the Peep Programme.

mum and daughter playing game - transition peepPeep is becoming so embedded in school culture that parents see it as a normal part of school life.  It is having a positive impact on children’s learning outcomes and their settling into school, on parents’ understanding and confidence in how they can support their children’s learning at home, and on family-school relationships. There has been a significant increase in the proportion of Peep children reaching a 'Good level of development' (GLD, the English government's target for children's outcomes at the age of five).

> Read more below, or download a copy of the Peep in reception class case study.

how is peep offered?

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The school and its major feeder pre-school, Bushytails, invites all parents whose children are due to start at the school in September, to attend a Transition Peep group of six weekly sessions during June-July. The school’s reception class Learning and Support Assistant (LSA) Lyn Hayes plans and delivers these sessions, while the pre-school use their existing relationships with families to help the school staff and families get to know each other more quickly. So many families wanted to attend that three groups were held.

Weekly Peep sessions continue in the autumn term, with new parents also being invited to join. The practitioner primarily uses the Peep topics, but also weaves in the Characteristics of Effective Learning, what will be happening during the school day, and how parents can support this. The Peep Learning Together Programme (LTP) complements the Early Years Foundation Stage, with the LTP’s five developmental strands focusing on Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Communication and Language, Early Literacy, Early Maths, and Health and Physical Development.

Depending on the needs and interests of the families, groups sometimes have a specific focus, such as Communication and Language, and other times follow all the Peep strands. Regular stay and play sessions, underpinned by the week’s Peep session focus, is also offered to all reception class parents. The initial Peep group was over‑subscribed so there are now two larger Peep groups each week. 

improved relationships between school and families

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By the end of the school year about 70% of families have attended Peep sessions, with almost half participating regularly throughout the school year. 

The Peep sessions improve families’ transition into the school: Peep children settle in particularly quickly, and both parents and children develop friendships and are comfortable with the adults in the school.

‘M is now very excited to learn and is more confident.’ (Parent)

‘It’s building T’s friendships and confidence – especially in the first Peep sessions before starting school. I believe this positively impacted him when starting school’ (Parent)

‘I was able to ask questions without feeling silly.’ (Parent)

‘It’s great to be able to learn different techniques and get advice from other parents on how to help the children learn.’ (Parent)

‘Helping parents to build relationships with each other to provide a network of support and friendship has been very rewarding.’ (Learning Support Assistant / Peep practitioner)

‘A discussion with the LSA identified that parents who have engaged with Peep have settled into school particularly well and made at least good progress.’ (Local Authority Early Years Advisor)

parents more knowledgeable about the value of the home learning environment

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Parents learn more about how to support their children’s learning, by building on all the valuable things they already do.

‘This year coming to Peep has helped me engage with my child through a way of learning I wouldn’t have even thought of. New techniques and ideas to make learning fun!’ (Parent)

‘We have both very much looked forward to the sessions. It’s made us have a commitment to learning together that we have continued at home.’ (Parent)

’Peep helps the children gain confidence and helps us to help our children with their school work. It’s really nice to share their learning with them and see them interact with their peers.’ (Parent)

‘It is great to see parents blossom and become more confident as they realise everything they do in normal life contributes to their child’s learning. Listening to parents about what they need help with meant that I broke down barriers and ensured that they were able to understand how to support their child’s learning in a specific way.’ (Learning Support Assistant/ Peep practitioner)

strong links made between learning at peep, at home and in the classroom

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‘The Peep programme provides a good opportunity for parents/carers and children to work alongside trained staff to enhance learning opportunities.  The parents involved feel more confident in how to support their children, and the children benefit from activities designed to build upon their skills.’ (Head teacher) 

Parents who have attended Peep make four times as many contributions to children’s learning journals in the form of ‘proud clouds’ than parents who have not. These contributions are thoughtful and knowledgeable. They demonstrate that parents are recognising and valuing both the developmental steps that their children are making, and that the learning opportunities which they provide at home are worth capturing. Parents notice not only the more ‘academic’ learning by their children, but the development of their equally important physical, personal and social skills, such as empathy and having a go at new things, which are also covered within the Peep Learning Together Programme.

Comments made by parents on their ‘proud clouds’ include:

‘I am proud of F’s attempt of cutting a star out all by himself.’

‘C tried raspberries, blueberries and beetroot for the first time. He liked raspberries and blueberries and now has them at home.’

‘During Peep, P counted backwards from 10.’

‘J helped collect some dropped bottles for an elderly lady.’

Activities which the children are doing in the classroom at that time are woven in to Peep sessions, so the parents gain the confidence, background knowledge and relevant information to help them effectively support their child’s learning at home.

The Peep practitioner shares the content of school learning for upcoming weeks in the Peep group. This provides a great opportunity for the less confident children to be the expert when this content is delivered back in the classroom. 

parents have increased confidence, skills and engage more with school

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As Peep parents gain confidence, they support the delivery of the group by reading the story to the group. This in turn promotes the English language learning of parents who have English as a second language.

The parents wish to continue as a group as their children move into Year 1 (the year they turn six). The school and the group are looking at how best to do this. Options include the parents becoming ‘Expert Peepers’ and supporting other parents whose children are moving from pre-school to reception year. When parents were asked if they would like the group to continue into Year 1, comments included:

‘Yes, please. I really think it will help the transition into Year 1. It also helps me understand what E is learning and the tools I can use to help her succeed in her learning.’

‘Yes, curriculum changes and new methods are unfamiliar. M is more confident through doing the Peep sessions and I want it to continue that way.’

‘We would love Peep to continue so we don’t lose the interaction with the school environment.’

[June 2019: The school now offer Peep groups to families in Year 1 and Year 2, linking with what the children are currently doing with their teacher in the classroom. Update to follow.]

improved outcomes for children

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Outcomes at the end of the year have identified that 73% of children who regularly attended Peep sessions attained their Good Level of Development (GLD - the government’s measure of five year old’s attainment at the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage). This compares with the school’s GLD of 52% the previous year, and progress has been faster. Whilst some children in the group were already on track to attain this, all children have made good progress from their starting points.

‘Our data indicates that those involved in the Peep programme are showing rapid progress in comparison with their peers.  Learning is most successful when parents/carers and teachers work in partnership and this programme supports this shared journey.’ (Head teacher)

‘Some of these children are performing among the most able in the year group and this demonstrates an excellent use of Early Years Pupil Premium funding. An example of the impact of the programme is that a child who did not speak in school is now communicating more confidently as a result of the school and family working so closely together, and the child is gaining confidence through observing and feeling secure within this relationship. Observations made during the Peep group are captured in the learning journals and contribute to the full picture of children’s learning.’ (Local Authority Early Years Advisor)

how is the work funded?

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Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) funding provides focused support for every 3 and 4 year old in England who is eligible for free school meals, to help close the attainment gap. Similar funding is available in Scotland via the Pupil Equity Fund.

DfE survey (January 2017) indicates that EY providers are mainly using the funding to support communication and language, personal social and emotional development (PSED), literacy and numeracy, and/or physical development and outdoor play. They are doing this through additional staff time for EYPP children, buying resources, staff training, and engaging parents to support home learning - all of which can link to the Peep Learning Together Programme.
For more funding info see

Mum and daughter

feedback from Springwood school parents and staff:

'Peep helps me understand what my child is learning and the tools I can learn to help her succeed in her learning' - Peep parent

'It is great to see parents blossom and become more confident as they realise everything they do in normal life contributes to their child’s learning.' - Learning support assistant/ Peep practitioner

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