Transition from Primary school to Secondary School
Choosing a Secondary School
The process of choosing a school for your child can seem daunting, but starting your preparation and planning early can help you to make a well informed choice. You can find some useful information on this process on our Admissions page. This will explain how to choose a school, applying for a place at the your preferred school and the LA Admissions policies and procedures.
Checklist for visiting schools
Listed below are some examples of the questions you might want to ask when you are considering which school you would prefer for your child. Some of the questions can be answered by looking carefully through the written information you have about a school eg school brochure, SEN policy, behaviour policy, recent OFSTED report. Others might be answered through discussion with school staff on a visit to the school. Not all the questions will be appropriate for your child.
- How would the school plan for a successful transfer to secondary for my child?
- What will the school do to make sure that all staff know about my child's individual needs?
- Does the school have experience of helping children with similar needs to my child?
- What opportunities do staff have for training on SEN issues?
- How is support organised for children with special needs? Is support usually provided in class?
- How does the school make sure that children with special needs are included in after school activities, trips, sports and residential opportunities?
- What would the school do to ensure my child would have full access to the curriculum?
- Does the school have an anti bullying policy and how is it monitored?
- How would other pupils be helped to understand my child's individual needs?
- How does the school celebrate different cultures?
- What should I do if I have concerns about my child?
- Does the school offer any extra support to parents of children with SEN?
- Are all areas of the school accessible to my child? If not, could adaptations be made or would other arrangements be necessary?
- How do specialists SEN staff liaise with class or year tutors about individual children?
- Does the school have a positive behaviour reward system?
- How often would I be involved in Individual Education Plan (IEP) meetings?
Moving from primary to secondary school is an exciting and sometimes challenging step for most children. Children will usually have their own view about where they would like to attend. It is important that they feel that their opinions are listened to along with everyone else. For example, staying with their friendship groups may be important to some children but not to all.
It's important to keep an open mind and consider several possibilities before making a decision. Talk to the staff at your child's present school and other involved professionals who know your child before you make up your mind. You can do this informally when your child is in the summer term of Year 5 but discussion about transfer to secondary school will be on the agenda at the first Individual Education Plan (IEP) review meeting in Year 6. If your child has a statement of his or her special educational needs then this discussion may take place at an Annual Review meeting which can be brought forward if necessary. You will be invited to the IEP or Annual Review meeting to give your own views and listen to professionals' views.
Year 5 Annual Review Transition Meeting
At this meeting you will be able to discuss the schools you have considered. Following the meeting you should be able to make a final choice of which school to apply to for a place for your child.
The head teacher will arrange the meeting. They will invite you and they may also invite the following people depending on the needs of your child:
- The head or Special Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) of your child's local mainstream school
- Class Teacher
- A support teacher/ LSA
- The Educational Psychologist who knows your child
- The Speech and Language Therapist or other professional who knows your child
- A representative of the Local Authority SEN Team
The transition meeting is held in the primary school and usually chaired by the SENCO. It should be relaxed and informal and talk about your child's progress and their strengths and weaknesses. It is important to look at what your child can do and can cope with. At the same time, it is important to be realistic about any difficulties and the provision most likely to meet your child's needs.
You should have several options to choose from and the transition meeting may help you in deciding on the type of provision that you should consider.
Most children are educated in their local mainstream secondary school. All parental preferences for other provision are looked at carefully by the SEN Panel together with the professional advice and the reports made about your child. The panel will allocate places and you will then be informed. If you are unsuccessful in gaining a place in your preferred school, it is important to stay in close touch with the SEN Team and they will help you with alternatives that could be available.
Whatever placement has been allocated, it is usually very helpful and often very important for staff in your child's primary school to liaise with your child's new Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) in the receiving school, after the transition meeting to agree a small number of targets through an Individual Education Plan (IEP). This can be worked on in the last term of primary school and first term of secondary school to ensure continuity and to help your child settle into their new school.
Secondary School Process
· Secondary school receives information about child and arranges liaison with primary school
- Arrange visits to primary school to see pupil
- Open day for pupils and parents and/or meetings with relevant staff
- Arrange appropriate tutor group
- Prepare request for one-to-one individual funding if needed
- Arrange IEP meeting early in Year 7 with parents and relevant agencies
- Produce a new IEP
Once they have started at secondary school:
Some children will settle down quickly at their new school while others will take longer to adjust to new surroundings. The first term will be a period of pupils and staff getting to know each other and solving any problems as they arise. At some point in the first term the school will arrange an IEP meeting and invite you to attend. You will be able to share information about how your child has responded to the transfer and to pick up any remaining concerns that either you as parents or the school may have. This meeting will be an opportunity for school and parents to work together and lay the foundation of a positive partnership for the benefit of your child.
Key points to remember about the transfer process:
- It is essential that there is good communication between all parties.
- Your child has a point of view that should be taken into account.
- Transfer information needs to be accurate, provided early and regularly updated.
If you are unsuccessful in gaining a place for your child at the school you prefer you will be given details in writing of how to make an appeal. The appeal process for children with statements of special educational needs is to the SEN Tribunal. You can find more information on this process on our admissions page.
Top Tips For Parents To Help With Transition to Secondary School
- Arrange for several visits to the school to familiarise your child with the site and buildings and the new route/journey to school.
- Ask the school for a copy of a school map to help your child learn the location of classrooms, the school office, toilets and the canteen/lunch hall. Put a copy of the map in the homework diary.
- Take some photographs of the school and main areas and use them to recall visits with your child.
- Discuss the school rules with your child at home and make sure they understand what happens if they are broken.
- Speak to your child's tutor or Head of Year and ask for regular feedback about progress, including academic work and social interaction. If you have any concerns, share them and find a solution.
- Ask if all staff will be given a copy of your child's statement, so that they are aware of the Special Educational Needs (SEN) provision, understand the objectives and have some indication of your child's difficulties.
- Ask what supervision/help is available for unstructured time such as before and after school, break and lunch time.
- Suggest strategies that can be used to help your child if they experience anxiety or become upset.
- Tell the school about any medical conditions, sensory difficulties or special dietary needs and ensure that this information is disseminated to all staff.
- Try the new school uniform on at least a week before so that you can find out if there are any problems which need addressing.
- Talk to your child about how they are settling into school and ask them if they have any problems they want to share. Find out if they are coping with anxiety and managing frustration/anger.
Above all, be positive, praise your child for every small achievement, encourage independence and boost their self esteem at every opportunity.
- Ensure that your child has the correct stationery and equipment for their pencil case e.g. spare ink cartridges!
- Encourage the child to become independent and more organised. Suggest that they pack everything they need for school the night before, such as school books, homework to be handed in, dinner money, sports kit etc.
- Make sure that your child knows your mobile/home telephone number and address and consider giving them a phone card for emergencies.
- Have a good routine for the morning and evening to give your child a familiar structure. Make a visual day planner/checklist.
- Keep a regular supply of change for dinner money and the bus and remember to give your child the correct amount each day.
- Give your child a purse/wallet/key ring that can clip safely to their trousers/school bag so that it does not get lost or fall out.
- Check your child's homework diary and schoolbag each evening and make sure that you see all letters that come home from school.
- Make sure that your child has the correct equipment for school such as the necessary ingredients for food technology.
- Colour code your child's timetable to correspond with their exercise books and laminate. Display a copy of the timetable on the fridge and in the child's bedroom for everyone to see.
- Use different colour-zipped sleeves to keep all loose stationery and handouts for each subject.
Make homework part of your child's routine and to help with organization, construct a visual planner/timetable. Clear a space somewhere for them to work quietly at home, preferably away from the TV, computer and other distractions. Make sure that they label their homework and write the date, title and their name on it if it is on a loose sheet.
Most parents naturally feel some anxieties about the move to secondary. However most children settle down and enjoy secondary school without too many problems.