Moving on (transition in education)

As a child or young person approaches a change in their educational setting or a new phase in their education, anxieties and apprehension levels can start to rise, both for the child or young person and their parent/carers.  This move or phase change in their education is commonly called “transition”, and it is important to help prepare the child or young person for this transition.

Person centered planning

The most important people to be included in this preparation is the child or the young person and their parent / carers, this is called “Person Centered Planning” and will allow you to be fully involved in transition decisions.  There are several tools which parent / carers can use with their child or young person to help develop information which will be useful for their transition planning: -

  • One page profile - a simple summary of what is important to someone and how they want to be supported
  • Relationship map – help you think about the people who are involved in all areas of the child’s, young person’s life
  • What’s working, what’s not working tool – as you think about what the child, young person would like to do in the future, it might help to think about what is working and you would like to keep, and things which are not working and you would like to change
  • Decision making tool – in two part parts, a decision making profile and a decision making agreement.  Together, these help you work with the child, young person to support them make decisions and record how these decisions will be made

Support at every stage of transition

Before every transition, the current educational setting or early year’s provider should organise a transition planning and review meeting to discuss the Special Educational Needs (SEN) support given, and planning and preparation for the transition.  Information from the child or the young person and their parent/carers should be central to this transition planning and review meeting.  

If the transition involves a change of education setting or early year’s provider the current setting will agree with the child or the young person and their parent/carers the SEN support information to share with the new setting.  Once agreed the information will be shared.

Where possible, the new provider should be involved in the transition planning and review meeting so that they have the information they need to prepare to meet the child or the young person’s needs and ensure a successful transition into the new setting.  This will also be an opportunity for the child or the young person and their parent/carers to discuss any concerns they may have with the new provider.

Transition planning reviews provide a good opportunity to investigate other activities or topics which may not have arisen in the current phase, for example, swimming lessons at primary stage, sex and relationship lessons in high school stage.

This review meeting should be carried out in plenty of time to allow for transition taster activities to take place.  Here is a list of transition activities that can be used to support transition at any age and stage:

  • Visits to the new setting
  • Opportunities to meet people who will be teaching and/or providing support in the new setting
  • Taking photographs of the new setting and new people.  These can be looked at and talked about regularly to increase familiarity especially if there will be a summer holiday gap before starting in the new setting.
  • Opportunity for people who will be providing support in the new setting to visit the child or young person in their current setting.  This kind of observation is very helpful in helping new teachers and/or support staff get a true understanding of a child or young person and the SEN strategies that work well for them.
  • Find out the general timetable for the new setting and talk through any concerns and strategies for overcoming anxieties eg visual timetable or cues
  • Opportunity to try out the lunch arrangements in the new setting, find out how to pay 
  • Find out what the transport, drop off and pick up arrangements are
  • Find out what the medical and medicine provision is, and where to find it
  • Opportunity to try out the transport and the journey to the new setting

Additional support when moving from primary to secondary school

Details of the activities your child’s school provides to support them through transition will be available on their website.  Find your school using Schoolfinder.

Types of additional support can include:

  • Taster days or summer schools at the secondary school so children can become familiar with the environment, expectations and staff.  Children with SEND may require and be offered additional taster days.
  • Early transition in July so children have time to familiarise themselves with school and help remove anxiety over the summer term
  • Buddy systems so that children have a friendly face who they can go to for help

Additional support when leaving school to go to college or work

This is a really big step for everyone and needs lots of planning, which normally starts when the young person is 13 years old.  This is normally called the Preparing for adulthood review.

The most important person to be involved in the planning is the young person.  This means the young person and their parent / carers will make the choices which enable them to be in control of their own life as they prepare for adulthood.  Other people who could be involved are teachers, transition or guidance adviser, social worker (if you have one), and anyone who the young person and their parent/carers think can help them make choices.

Part of this planning will be thinking about the people who can help the young person do the things they want to do, if the young person wants to, these people could be asked to join of a circle of support.

If the young person is remaining at the school for post-16 provision, this planning and preparation should include consideration of how to provide a high quality study programme.

Norfolk County Council also has what it calls a Transition Pathway and helpful books such as:

  • ‘Moving On - The Transition from Age 13 to Adulthood’
  • ‘Transition for Young People with Additional Needs’ (this is sent out by Norfolk County Council to all young people and their parent/carers who have an EHC plan).

These have lots of information for the young person and their parent / carers to make sure that the young person has plenty of time to make the move to college, work or day service (or a combination of any) and that the young person has the right support in place.  You can also find additional information about support in finding a job in the Preparing for adulthood section.

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