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Last month 596 parent/carers and young people accessed our service which led to a total of 2,859 emails, contact forms, telephone calls and face to face meetings. Contact us if you need our advice and support.  

‘Transition’ in education terms means moving into, between or out of educational settings.

When a child or young person with a special educational need or disability (SEND) approaches a change in their educational setting, or a new phase in their education, they may experience a range of emotions including excitement, anticipation and anxiety. This can affect both the child or young person and their parents/carers.

This move or phase change in education is commonly called 'transition'. It is important to help prepare the child or young person for this, to ensure that the experience is as positive as it can be and the transition is successful.

There are many transitions that take place including moving from:

  • Home to setting (such as childminder, pre-school, nursery or school)
  • Class to class
  • Early years to infant or primary school
  • Infant to junior school
  • Junior or primary school to secondary school
  • Secondary to post-16 settings
  • Post-16 to higher education/adult life
  • One region to another
  • One year group to another

Person Centred Planning aims to put children and young people at the centre of planning and decisions that affect them. When children are meaningfully involved, this can change their attitude, behaviour and learning and make them active partners who work with adults to bring about change.

Further information about Person Centred Planning

Support at every stage of transition

Good transition planning is important for all children and young people. But children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) will require additional planning and preparation. Transition planning should start early to ensure it is successful.

All educational settings must adhere to the Equality Act 2010 which means that they have to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ so as not to place disabled learners at a disadvantage. Settings should anticipate needs and make any reasonable adjustments in advance.

People from the current and new setting should talk and work together to plan for a positive and successful transition for all children and young people.

Additional support for children and young people with SEND could include:

  • Organising extra visits for children and young people with SEND to give them more time to get used to the setting and people
  • Taking photos of the new setting and looking at them with the children and young people to keep the new setting fresh and familiar in their mind
  • Introducing prompt cards or checklists to help them remember what to do/where to go
  • Using social stories to help prepare the children and young people for change
  • Using a ‘My new school’ booklet or transition pack to introduce key changes and give information about the new setting
  • Giving out a clear map of the site and/or timetables
  • Identifying a ‘go to’ person for children and young people and families to contact
  • Working with health professionals to adapt the learning environment and ensure accessibility
  • Organising specialist training for staff
  • Providing specialist equipment or resources to facilitate access to learning
  • Completing a ‘my usual week looks like this’ timetable with children and young people and their parents/carers to provide additional background information to pass on to the new setting

Support when leaving school to go to college or work

Leaving school to go to college or work is a really big step for everyone and needs lots of planning, which normally starts when the young person is 13 years old.

The most important person to be involved in planning ahead is the young person. This means being supported to make the choices that will enable them to be in control of preparing for Adulthood.

Preparing for adulthood planning should include support to prepare for:

  • Further or Higher Education or employment
  • Independent living
  • Developing and maintaining friendships
  • Creating circles of support
  • Maintaining good health and wellbeing

Advice to support transition around children and young people who have autism 

Autism Education Trust have produced a toolkit to help.

Transition toolkit

Also in this section:

Choosing a School for a Child or Young Person with SEND

Information on choosing and starting a new school, transition tips and how to move a child to a different school

How to Apply for a School Place

Information on how to apply for a school place and admissions appeal guidance

Starting a New School

What to expect and what you need to do when your child is starting school for the first time or moving on to another school.

Mid Year Admissions

If your child is at primary, junior or secondary school and you want to move them to a different school, you need to apply.

How to Appeal a School Placement

This section is for appeals for children/young people who do not have an EHC plan. We understand this can be an unsettling time but are here to help.

Home Education

A parent or carer can choose to educate their child at home, this is known as 'Elective Home Education or EHE'.

Also in this section:

Choosing a School for a Child or Young Person with SEND

Information on choosing and starting a new school, transition tips and how to move a child to a different school

How to Apply for a School Place

Information on how to apply for a school place and admissions appeal guidance

Starting a New School

What to expect and what you need to do when your child is starting school for the first time or moving on to another school.

Mid Year Admissions

If your child is at primary, junior or secondary school and you want to move them to a different school, you need to apply.

How to Appeal a School Placement

This section is for appeals for children/young people who do not have an EHC plan. We understand this can be an unsettling time but are here to help.

Home Education

A parent or carer can choose to educate their child at home, this is known as 'Elective Home Education or EHE'.