Moving from primary to secondary school

Moving from a primary school to secondary school can be an exciting and anxious experience for your child and your family. Before your child starts secondary school, there are some things you can do before to help prepare.

Support at home

  • Talk positively about the move, discuss the things that will be the same or the things that will be different.
  • Encourage them to share any anxieties they may have about the move so you can address these at the earliest possible opportunity.
  • Get a map of the school to check where different rooms will be, like their form room or science labs.
  • Practice the journey to and from school, especially is this involves public transport.
  • Look at the school prospectus or website together to help become familiar with the new school.
  • Attend any events the new school might be hosting, such as a summer fayre, to help to get know the school.

Support from the school

  • Check arrangements are in place so information about your child’s needs and the extra help that has been in place are shared.
  • Find out if your child can take part in any transition activities the school might be running.
  • Make sure areas of progress and successes and any special interests and skills your child has are highlighted.
  • Draw up a simple profile to be shared with staff to support a shared understanding of needs and provide continuity of approach, it could include:
    • areas of strength and personal interests
    • things that might cause them anxiety and stress and the impact of this on behaviour
    • strategies that help soothe and calm
    • how they like to be helped - what has worked well and how can this be replicated in a different school
    • how they communicate - verbally and non-verbally, for example visible signs of stress and anxiety.

Questions to ask the 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:

  • health
  • education
  • accessibility
  • school progress
  • transportation.

Read our helpful questions.

Phase transfer reviews

In year 5 your child's school will hold a phase transfer review (which is also the annual review) of your child’s educational, health and care (EHC) plan. The aim of this review is to discuss future placements, as well as to review the EHC plan.

As part of the annual review paperwork it is important that you include your request for the next school or provision. When this is submitted to us we will consult your preferred school or provision and potentially other schools or provisions that may be able to meet your child’s needs.

Find out more about the phase transfer review meeting and process.

Support from us

We are here to answer any queries or questions you might have about your child starting a new school. For support you can contact:

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 your assessment and placement officer. If you disagree with the setting or provision we have named you can appeal to the SEN and Disability Tribunal.