Moving On to Secondary School
The move from primary to secondary education can be stressful for any young person, but those with learning disabilities or other special educational needs (SEN) are under even greater stress.
This is because primary schools offer more predictability, usually with the same teacher and classroom throughout the year. The move to secondary school brings a lot of changes - different classrooms and different teachers for each subject, larger buildings spread over a campus, new travel arrangements and coping with support from unfamiliar teaching assistants.
If the transition between primary school and secondary school is not well-managed, children with learning disabilities or SEN can end up feeling isolated and vulnerable. Their emotional health suffers and so does their academic performance. A well-planned transition between primary and secondary phases will help remove any barriers to learning and enable them to reach their full academic potential as well as feeling less isolated.
The project team, a partnership between the Foundation, University of Northampton and University of Cambridge, met with pupils, school staff and parents in three Peterborough schools, to find out about their experiences of this transition.
We wanted to produce some resources to support schools to plan successful transitions. We spoke with around 20 pupils with SEN who had recently moved from primary to secondary school to find out what worked and what didn't work well when they moved school.
We used their experiences and their ideas to develop the following three guides:
- Top tips for pupils moving on to secondary school (PDF) This is an easy-read guide that includes a checklist and poster, to give young people simple ideas of how to prepare for the move to make it less stressful.
- Useful information for parents who have a son or daughter with special educational needs (SEN) moving from primary to secondary school (PDF)
Some practical ideas for families, to help support their child to feel more prepared and able to cope with the move to secondary school. This resource complements the Top Tips for pupils
- Moving on - good practice in facilitating primary to secondary transitions for pupils with special educational needs (SEN) (PDF)
This guide is aimed at teachers and is divided into good practice suggestions for primary and secondary school staff. Some of the ideas are very practical and can be achieved quickly, others may take a little more planning, and there are other suggestions to consider that will require strategic or systemic change.
We also produced two posters, one for pupils and one for teachers, to help you stay on track and plan the best possible transition from primary to secondary education
- Download the Moving on poster for pupils (PDF)
- Download the Moving on poster for primary and secondary school teachers (PDF)