Transition and transfer

Effective transitions between schools and within the school day.

  • Transitions throughout the day are planned for and well-managed and provide the opportunity for the children and young people to develop the skills to manage change.

    Transitions include:

    • Getting ready for and coming into school / the setting.
    • Moving around the school or setting
    • Preparing for weekends, the start of holidays and the beginning of term.
    • Moving from lesson to lesson in schools or between experiences.
    • Changing from structured to unstructured times.
    • Moving from break to lesson times or one activity to the next.
    • Changes of peers and staff ( permanent and temporary). e.g. key staff
    • Special events: visitors, visits, celebrations.
    • Life events: birth of a sibling, change in parenting arrangements e.g. change in parent’s relationship status, loss and bereavement or contact visit.

    Examples of good practice

    Staff are aware of those who will need additional support for all or most transitions and plan for these transitions. This includes:

    a) Children or younger people who have insecure attachment, bereavement or trauma including but not limited to Care Experienced Children , Children In Need , those on Child Protection Plans, Special Guardianship Orders, Child Arrangement Orders, Refugees and Forces children.

    b) Children and young people who have social communication difficulties including those who are autistic.

    c) Children or young people who are showing signs of anxiety.

    d) Children or young people new to the school or setting.

    e) Children and young people who are returning from an extended period of time away from the school / setting.

    The following strategies may help with daily transitions.

    Staff prepare children and young people with additional support needs for daily transitions by using appropriate communication methods. e.g. reduced language, Makaton, PECS, Now / Next or First / Then boards, visual or aural timers. See Communication and Interaction section for further strategies.

    Plans are made for unstructured times. Low arousal / calm spaces are available and chosen in agreement with the child as far as possible. The space is used to reduced anxieties during transition periods. There are structured alternatives such as games clubs or use of the library.

  • Procedures are in place for ensuring smooth progression through schools and settings, particularly during all transition phases, including on entry and exit.

    Examples of good practice

    Information is actively sought and shared about the child or young person to support successful transitions and manage change both within the school / setting and beyond. This should include information on support strategies and arrangements that have been useful for the child or young person as well as on their interest and likes.

    A pre-entry ‘Team around the family’ meeting is recommended for children moving between pre-entry to early years settings. ‘Team around the family’ meetings are also recommended for children with additional needs as they transition from early years settings to school. Team around the family meetings should include the new and old school / setting, parent carer and other professionals working with the family.

    The ‘All about me’, or equivalent, information should be regularly updated and inform successful transition planning.

    Information gained should be made available for the child or young person’s parent carers, other staff within the school / setting and receiving or previous school / setting to support a smooth transition and to plan for the first few weeks of the child’s time at the new setting.

    If the child or young person needs specialist equipment, including medical equipment, this should be transported where possible, or re-sourced for the new school / setting. Staff should be trained by relevant professionals on how to use the equipment. This should all take place prior to the child’s transition. Where appropriate, healthcare plans, risk management plans and one page profiles are in place before the child or young person starts and should be reviewed regularly are they arrive.

    Staff are aware of children and young people who need additional support while transitions and adjustments are made. Effective strategies to facilitate transfer from one school / setting / teacher to another include pupil passports, one-page profiles, meet the teacher PowerPoints, empty classroom visits, virtual online tours, maps and familiarisation book, additional visits to a new setting / classroom with a familiar trusted adult, creating social stories, photo books, virtual tours, video clips and opportunities of staff and parents to share support stories.

    These transition arrangements are planned in advance, involving all appropriate parties including parent carers and receiving school / setting. The plans are clearly communicated with all parties and include actions that will benefit the child or young person.

    Schools and settings encourage parent carers to consider the steps they can take at home to help prepare their child for learning.