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Secondary Transition

Read the principles of effective transition, the calendar of events with key milestones and current legislation.

  1. Having settled so well in school life, the youngsters cause no concerns to their parents.
  2. Showing increased interest in school and schoolwork.
  3. Getting used to new routines and school organisation with great ease.
  4. Experiencing curriculum continuity.
  5. Developing new friendships and improved self-esteem and confidence.

Transition should be seen as a process and not an event.

Effective transitions rely upon good planning and good communication. Parents have told us it requires efficient handover of the child’s documents and records and ample opportunities to visit the new setting or school.

Transitions should ensure a partnership working approach between practitioners and parents, which will secure quality and consistency of experience for the child.

Transition should underpin equality of opportunity ensuring that every child is included and supported.

SEND support should include planning and preparation for transition, before a child moves into a setting or school. This should include a review of the SEND support being provided or the EHC plan.

To support the transition, information should be shared by the home or current setting with the receiving setting or school Department for Education and Department of Health and Social Care (2015) SEN and disability code of practice: 0-25 years, para 5.4

  • The school or setting has a transition policy in place which embeds consistently good practice as children and young people move from class to class and from school to school.
  • The current setting should initiate contact with the receiving setting and information-sharing begins
  • Transition is made a priority and seen as an ongoing process throughout the year.
  • A nominated person should co-ordinate transition.
  • Communication- key information to be shared prior to transition, should be agreed with the parent (CoP 5:7). 
  • Information-sharing should be verbal and written.
  • Planning for children, young people and families requiring a targeted or enhanced transition is identified and planned for, as early as possible.
  • Targeted and enhanced transition should be tailored around the child or young person, taking in to account the voice of the family, their priorities, hopes and concerns and including professionals, already involved.
  • Children’s friendships are acknowledged and should be considered during the process.
  • A flexible approach with a long-term view, works best, over an extended period of time. Providing opportunities for repeated visits both for the child and for receiving setting practitioners to attend the current setting.
  • Maintaining a continuous and open link between settings, ensures that opportunities for follow up and review are available.

Current setting

  • Start early and take responsibility for coordinating the process 
  • Consider how many meetings will be required
  • Ensure the parent/carer views are considered at every stage
  • Be the ‘introducer’ for parent, carers and child, to the new setting 


  • Start early 
  • Contact the new setting and any professionals involved 
  • Communicate with the child and their parents about the process 


  • Arrange the meetings 
  • Listen to the voice of the child and their parents 
  • Consider how you will share information


  • Share positive stories about transition
  • Help the new setting by allowing time for visits and transition events 
  • Review how well transition has gone and what can be learnt from it 

New setting

  • Organise meetings and events for child people and families, to share information and begin to build relationships
  • Provide booklets with key information (e.g. routines, timetables, buildings, rooms and people)
  • Plan settling in visits
  • Timetable transition weeks


  • Attend meetings organised by the current setting 
  • Observe the child or young person in their current setting 
  • Communicate with the child about the process


  • Manage expectations 
  • Consider how many visits needed and when they will take place 
  • Make any arrangements for reasonable adjustments 


  • Ensure staff/tutors know about the child before they arrive 
  • Ensure appropriate support and reasonable adjustments are in place prior to the start date 
  • Ensure that any agreed actions are followed up 
  • Review how well transition has gone and lessons learnt 

January- April

  • Initial phone call with parents to introduce self/setting/school and gain an   understanding from the parent’s view of the child’s needs – name of child’s key person and SENCO where relevant.
  • Where appropriate arrange a telephone consultation with home/current setting within the next month.
  • Gain an understanding of the child’s entitlement, SEND Status and current provision and involvement of outside agencies.  

March- May

  • Gain verbal/written consent from parents to contact other agencies the child has been involved with.
  • Develop a contact list of agencies and email them with setting/school details so they have a point of contact.
  • Set up a ‘sharing’ meeting that includes the parents as well as the professionals where the child currently attends school. The key person and the SENCO should also be present.
  • Set date to review of the child’s documentation.
  • Set dates for transition visits and invite agency support staff, where appropriate.


  • Arrange transition days where the child is able to explore the new setting/school both with/without key person and/or parents.  Set date for transfer of records.
  • Arrange transition days where the child can be observed in the home and/or current setting/school by the new setting/school.
  • Undertake resources audit of anything that may need to be purchased or transferred from the previous setting (Early Years Inclusion Funding consideration).
  • Decide where specialist equipment will be put and who will take care of it.
  • Ensure all necessary referrals that can be completed, have been submitted and new contact details are included.
  • Final review of any outcomes.

October or one month post transition

  • Review meeting with parents to parents and send a courtesy email to previous setting where applicable, to let them know how the child has settled and a thank you.
  • Arrange for additional specialist training, if required.
  • Review of any additional support needs and resources. 

In September

All settings/schools should have been informed which EHCPs need to have an Annual Review.

Early January

All parents of children due to transfer to a reception class are required to submit their first admissions preference. See the Council’s website for School Admissions.

15 February

Deadline for local authorities to have held a transition review for a child in receipt of an  EHCP and issued its decision confirming the placement named in Section I of the EHCP for the child to start in the following September. Ideally the Review should take place before 23rd November.

There are a number of school transitions where this deadline of 15 February will apply for children in receipt of an EHCP:

  • early years provider to school
  • infant school to junior school
  • primary school to secondary school

Mid April

Parents find out which primary school they have been allocated a place.

Apply for a School Place.

For young people moving from secondary school to a post-16 institution

9.180 For young people moving from secondary school to a post-16 institution or apprenticeship, the review and any amendments to the EHC plan – including specifying the post-16 provision and naming the institution – must be completed by the 31 March in the calendar year of the transfer.

9.181 For young people moving between post-16 institutions, the review process should normally be completed by 31 March where a young person is expected to transfer to a new institution in the new academic year. However, transfers between post-16 institutions may take place at different times of the year and the review process should take account of this. In all cases, where it is proposed that a young person is to transfer between one post-16 institution and another within the following 12 months, the local authority must review and amend, where necessary, the young person’s EHC plan at least five months before the transfer takes place.

9.182 In some cases, young people may not meet the entry requirements for their chosen course or change their minds about what they want to do after the 31 March or five-month deadline. Where this is the case, local authorities should review the EHC plan with the young person as soon as possible, to ensure that alternative options are agreed and new arrangements are in place as far in advance of the start date as practicable.

Preparing for adulthood in reviews

9.184 All reviews taking place from Year 9 at the latest and onwards must include a focus on preparing for adulthood, including employment, independent living and participation in society.

9.185 As the young person is nearing the end of their time in formal education and the plan is likely to be ceased within the next 12 months, the annual review should consider good exit planning. Support, provision and outcomes should be agreed that will ensure the young person is supported to make a smooth transition to whatever they will be doing next – for example, moving on to higher education, employment, independent living or adult care. For further guidance on preparing for adulthood reviews, see Chapter 8, Preparing for adulthood from the earliest years.

Parents – When should they start to plan for a transition?
Parents of SEND children should start researching schools (e.g through websites, Family Information Service and Ofsted)  at least a year before their child is due to start. By starting early, they will allow time to gather evidence, and put forward their preference to the local authority, ahead of any transition review.

(Children born between 1 September 2017 and 31 August 2018 will be starting school for the first time (Reception year) in September 2022.)