Working in partnership with the school to plan a successful transition
Top Tip:Talk to your child about the school they will attend, once you know for definite which school your child is going to. This will help him/her to get ready for school. Primary schools are very experienced in welcoming and settling new children. They will value you as the expert about your own child.
All primary schools have ‘new starter’ procedures for all children. Some will arrange to visit you at home to meet you and your child. Others will invite you and your child into school to meet the staff and see the classroom. Most schools will offer children additional visits if that is thought to be helpful. Many schools will also arrange to visit your child at their nursery or pre-school to see how they play and are supported in that environment.
It is usual for schools to invite the child and parent/carers into the classroom for taster sessions.
Parent/carers of new starters usually take their children into the classroom for the first few days until the child is settled. The transition experience will be tailored for your child or children.
Here are some of the additional arrangements that might be offered.
- All schools will have a pre-admission meeting. It is recommended that a child and family centred transition planning meeting is held. Parents are encouraged to say who they would like to attend this planning meeting.
- If you have an Early Support keyworker or lead 16 practitioner, they can help to organise and plan your agenda for the child and family centred transition planning meeting. If you do not have Early Support, another professional such as a specialist teacher should be able to help.
- What parent/carers and other professionals have said about child and family centred transition planning meetings:
- ‘Informal, everyone had an equal say, parents views are very welcome. Gave time to openly discuss the issues and concerns and provide reassurance.’
- ‘Very useful. It included a clear plan for transition and this was implemented well by all involved. Everyone involved knew what they needed to do and the family were clear as to what was going to happen from the action plan'.
- Practitioners in early years settings will liaise with you and should also involve your child in completing the ‘Things I’d Like You to Know About Me’ sheet. This will be given to the receiving school before your child starts to help them understand your child’s needs and preferences. These sheets can be used throughout your child’s time in school and should be updated regularly.
- The school and early years setting may help your child by preparing a photograph book or even a video/DVD about your child’s new school. You can help by looking at the book or watching the DVD with your child and talking about the new school as an exciting and positive experience.
- The deaf and hearing support team run a ‘starting school’ group for parents and their children in the Summer term.
- The school may hold a transitions group at your local children’s centre to which you and your child would be invited.
There are also school based support teams that can begin to provide support for you, following on from teh early years specialist support teams.