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From the SENCos – Supporting the move to senior school

We’ve been supporting families as they help their children prepare for a September start as part of our next steps after primary school initiative. We spoke to a SENCo in a Portsmouth primary school who told us about the transition process and the main concerns parents have.

Behind the scenes the transition process starts quite soon after the schools get their allocations where we will start collating data and creating transition plans.  From the child’s point of view it really starts after the May half term as until that point the focus is on their SATs exams.

After May half term, we try to arrange visits to take children with additional needs to their new school with a familiar and trusted adult before their whole school transition day.  On this visit we will try to take photos and create some kind of social story/transition booklet.  Arranging a visit is not always possible as it does depend on the secondary school’s ability to facilitate this.

For all children our Year 6 teachers deliver lessons on reading timetables and have a day or two of swapping around lessons and groups as a practice session beforehand.Close up picture of a timetable with coloured sticky notes.

The main worry for parents that I talk to is about their child getting lost – physically and emotionally because the setting is so much bigger and their child will be working with more adults. They worry that adults won’t have time to get to know children and will be less nurturing than the adults in primary school.

As a primary school we try to help with this as much as possible by sharing information with heads of year/transition coordinators/SENCos so that the children are understood and can have any needs met.

My advice to parents is always to visit the school during the school day and talk to the SENCo about any worries.

Find out more about your child’s next steps after primary school

Moving from primary to secondary education is a significant milestone for any child. For parents and carers of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), this can bring about unique challenges and considerations. Find out about the steps you can take to support your child before September.

Learn more


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