At St Alban’s Roman Catholic School we endeavour to support our pupils and parents with the transition to secondary school. Moving from primary to secondary schools is a big step for all children and their parents, bringing feelings of excitement as well as apprehension. For children with special educational needs, it is especially important to plan for this time. Secondary schools are used to working with pupils with a wide range of abilities and individual needs. Different schools organise support for pupils with special educational needs in different ways. However, they all have learning support departments to make sure that pupils get the help they need. Your Learning Support Teacher at St Alban’s will make sure that all important information is shared with the new school SENCO at a transition meeting.
Here are some points to consider when choosing a secondary school and how to plan for the move.
How can I involve my child in choosing a school?
When thinking about secondary schools, talk to your child about:
◆ what they enjoy and areas of interest?
◆ what they are looking forward to?
◆ what will make them happy at secondary school?
◆ what will help them learn?
When should I visit schools?
Usually each autumn term, secondary schools hold open evenings where parents and children can look round the school, meet some of the staff and see pupils’ work. If this is not possible for any reason the school will provide you with information through booklets, visual tours etc.
Ask to make an appointment to visit the SENCO who is responsible for special educational needs.
Before you visit think about:
– would you like to look around the school?
– will you take your child with you or visit by yourself?
– would you like to take a friend or relative with you?
Is there any information I can get before visiting a school?
You could speak to other parents about the school and look at the school’s website and prospectus.
Try to keep an open mind as different things are important to different parents. You know what is likely to suit your child best.
What should I ask during the visit?
Consider having a list of things you want to find out about when you visit. If you visit more than one school, it can help to make notes. Here are some questions you might want to ask:
- How would the school help my child to settle in and make friends?
- How does the school group pupils?
- What is the average class size?
- How does the school make sure all the teachers know about children’s needs?
- What support would my child get?
- How would I know how my child is getting on?
- What lunchtime and after-school clubs are there?
- What if my child is unable to do their homework?
- How much homework do students have?
- How does the school deal with bullying?
- How would the school make sure my child has the chance to take part in all areas of the curriculum?
- What courses are offered for GCSE choices?
When do I apply for a secondary school?
You will receive an application form and a booklet about secondary schools in the Autumn term of Year 6. The booklet will give details about each school and the dates of their open evenings. You must complete the form and return it by the date given. You will hear in the spring term which school your child has been allocated. If you do not get the school you wanted, you have a right of appeal. The booklet explains how you can do this.
How do schools help children with secondary transfer?
Primary schools do a range of things to help their pupils prepare for secondary school. These include;
- talking with them about going to secondary school and any things they are looking forward to or worried about.
- arranging extra visits if possible to secondary schools.
- passing on copies of individual support plans to the new school.
- inviting the secondary school SENCO’s to review meetings in year 6.
Primary and secondary schools often have very good links. For example, staff may spend some time in another school getting to know the pupils and the work they do.
How can I help my child prepare for the new school?
Here are some practical ideas parents have told us they found useful when their child went to secondary school. You know your child best and can decide what will help most.
◆ practise the journey to school and road safety skills;
◆ check the school equipment list;
◆ practise getting ready for school in good time;
◆ think of ways to make sure your child does not lose belongings in school;
◆ think about ways of organising books and equipment, such as having one file for each morning’s lessons and another for the afternoon;
◆ talk to your child about what to do if they: miss the bus, can’t find their class, lose their dinner money or are not sure what to do.
Getting organised at home…
◆ stick a copy of your child’s timetable on the kitchen wall
◆ encourage your child to pack their school bag the night before. It’s fine to help them with this if they need it
◆ have a place where they can keep all their school things safely when they come home
◆ plan a homework routine
Reviewed February 2021