Moving from early years to primary school

Moving your child from an early years provider to a primary school is called transition.

Children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) often find change difficult. As part of transition, schools, educational settings and families must work together to create a plan for your child. The plan should be in place to help with any specific needs, strengths, interests and potential anxieties and learning styles.

The move should be part of a process, rather than a one off event, allowing your child to feel confident and happy when the time comes.

Supporting you

If you have worries or questions before moving your child into primary school, you can talk to either:

  • your child's key person
  • preschool special educational needs coordinator (SENCO)
  • other professionals who have supported your child at preschool
  • your child's new teacher.

Your child's key person will be there to support you in creating a transition plan with your primary school.

Transition plans

As part of transition, a meeting will take place to make sure that your child gets all the support they need.

The meeting will give you the opportunity to meet your child's new teacher and the school SENCO. At the meeting, your child's key person, specialist teacher, and Special Educational Needs Inclusion Fund Practitioner (SENIF) may also attend.

Remember, you know your child best. Make sure that you share your thoughts, wishes, aspirations and the support you need. They know that sharing the information may feel difficult, but they are there to support you and your child.

Find out more about transition plans and the process of phase transfers from early years to primary school.

Get to know your child's teacher

You may feel anxious about meeting your child's teacher for the first time.

Remember they want to get to know your child and you, and communicating is the best way to start. Teachers are experts at helping young children to settle in at school. They will be there to help them thrive and achieve all that they can.

If you have any concerns or issues, you should raise them as early as possible. Here are some questions that may help you:

  • Where do I take my child on the first day?
  • Where do they go at playtime?
  • What happens at lunch time?
  • My child still needs pull-ups, who will provide support?
  • Who will make sure my child receives their medication?
  • My child does not like noise, how will you support this?
  • Will my child have free access to drinking water?
  • What do I do if my child is sick?
  • My child needs to attend regular hospital appointments, how do I let you know?

Supporting your child

This transition is important to your child's emotional wellbeing and achievements. The move can be full of excitement and anxiety for you and your child. You should keep an open conversation with your child which allows them to:

  • become familiar with the idea of moving on to school
  • have the time to talk about it the move with their family
  • absorb new environments and information
  • discuss their needs, wants, likes and dislikes.

Before starting school you could:

  • start talking about school in a relaxed way so that your child can start to process the move from preschool to school
  • practice the school run during the summer holidays, this helps children to become familiar with the travelling to and from school
  • let them try on their new school uniform to help them feel comfortable in their new clothes, they may experience sensitivity to some fabrics or fastenings
  • get spare clothes ready to take to school if your child is not fully toilet trained
  • teach children to flush the toilet and get used to different types of flush
  • chat about the importance of good hand washing
  • make sure that your child can open their lunchbox and manage the food inside.
  • read stories together about school.

Additional support

For additional support during the transition, you can visit one of the following pages:

If you are unhappy about the school named on your EHC plan

If you would like to discuss the school, college or provision that is named in the EHC plan then you can contact you assessment and placement officer. If you disagree with the setting or provision we have named you can appeal to the SEND Tribunal.