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.
If you have worries or questions before moving your child into primary school, you can talk to:
- 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.
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.
Questions to ask your child's new school
With the help of Kent PACT and IASK we have put together some helpful questions to ask how your child's new school will best support them.
The questions will provide you with support surrounding your child's:
- school progress
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.
There are some things you can do before starting school.
- 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 your child can open their lunchbox and manage the food inside.
- Read stories together about school.
Getting to know new faces is important and it helps to calm any anxiety your child may have. There are some key staff members your child may meet in September.
- A class teacher is responsible for teaching and the learning of your child. You will meet your child's teacher before they join the school. It's a good idea to get to know your child's teacher and how they can support them in the first year of primary school.
- A teaching assistant mostly works with small groups of children as well as with individual children. This is managed by the school. Some teaching assistants may have additional training to become a higher level teaching assistant (HLTA) where they can cover and teach their own lessons.
- The headteacher has overall responsibility for running the school. They report to the school's governing body, which includes a parent governor representative.
- A nursery nurse provides support to teachers to help children with their learning, play and social development.
- A SENCO is a qualified teacher who is responsible for assessing, planning, monitoring the progress of children or young people with SEND. Find out more about SENCOs.
- A school nurse provides support for a variety of health issues and will refer to specialist services when needed. Learn more about the school public health service.
Find out more about other professionals you may meet.
For additional support during the transition visit the following pages:
- how to apply for a school place
- apply for free school meals
- term dates
- sign up to school closures
- school transport
- Kent library children's book selection
- KENT PACT (support from local parents and carers of SEND children)
- IASK (impartial and free advice).
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.