For some children with special educational needs, moving from primary to secondary school can feel like a big jump.
Schools are often much bigger than children may be used to and they will most likely be seeing lots of different teachers and moving between different classrooms throughout the day. This is very different from having one consistent teacher and the same class friends at primary school.
Try not to worry too much – there is lots the primary school, the new secondary school and yourselves can do to make your child’s move a bit smoother.
Schools will be working together – The primary school will be sharing lots of important information about your child with the secondary school and will make sure you get to share your views too. Some schools create written profiles or passports that they share with the new setting, these contain details on any needs your child has, how best to support them, what has worked so far and any likes or dislikes. Sometimes this is called person centred planning.
Secondary schools plan ahead – Some schools will offer induction days (sometimes called moving up days) to give your child the opportunity to experience the school before they start. They should be asking to speak or meet with you to learn how best to support your child.
The school will put in place early any adaptations or support that your child will need when they start. The SENCO of the new school will be sharing information on your child with all staff that will be working with them. Some schools will also offer a mentoring or buddy scheme. They can also offer visuals and pictures to share with your child before they start.
Supporting your child at home
- Ask for information early – Contact the new school as soon as possible and ask for any information or visuals they might have to prepare your child. A map of the school can be really helpful. You can also visit the outside of the school and travel the journey to school either walking or on public transport.
- Create a checklist – Having a list of everything your child needs can be really helpful in supporting them to be organised each day. You can create a visual for the wall that they can tick off.
- Work on new skills – Your child may need to practice putting on a tie, ordering a lunch or following a timetable – these are all things they might not have come across before.
Read Young Mind’s transition tips for pupils with SEND.
National Autistic Society – Starting or Changing School information