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Moving On. Supporting children through school transition

  • Date published:

  • Author: ssutton

When our children start in full time school or are moving from primary to secondary school it can trigger all kinds of emotions for both parents/carers and for our children, It can be exciting as a child moves on to the next stage in their life. There might be some worries or anxiety. Change can bring some uncertainties such as new friendship groups, a bigger school and expectations of work changes. This blog provides some useful tips to help prepare your child. You can also listen to a School Nurse webinar that has lots of ideas to help you support your child to make that move.

Whether your child is starting in full time school or making the move to secondary school then it is a big transition for you both. It is a time that should be exciting and bring new experiences, opportunities and friendships. However, it can be a little worrying for some children. These feelings are normal when changes are happening. The important thing is to prepare your child for the change. Below are some ideas and tips.

Starting full time school

Many children will have attended play group and nursery settings and so will have had some experience of being away from their parents and carers. Now it is time to prepare your child to be away for the whole school day. Your child might be moving from a nursery area of their school to the reception area and so be familiar with the building. Other children will be moving to a new setting to start in reception year. Which ever move your child is making the time spent preparing your child will help a smooth transition.

School Readiness

You may have heard nursery staff and professionals such as Health Visitors talking about help children to be ‘school ready’. So, what does this mean? Most professionals agree that there are things that all children need to develop so that when they start school they can enjoy the experience and be ready to learn. These include:

  • have strong social skills

These include the ways children communicate with each other and with adults. Both what they say and the use of body language. These skills help children build relationships and to manage their emotions.

  • can cope emotionally with being separated from their parents

Before children start school they are often with a small number of adults, usually their parents or carers, wider family (grand parents) and perhaps nursery staff. They are usually away from home for short periods of time. Once your child start school then need to learn to be away from you for longer and trust other adults such as their teacher.

  • are relatively independent in their own personal care

Your child will be getting dressed and undressed for PE lessons, using the toilet in school and putting their coats, hats and gloves on for out door play. They will need to wash their hands during the day. These are all personal skills that they need to be able to do with perhaps a small amount of adult help.

  • have a curiosity about the world and a desire to learn.

Children usually love learning and exploring. To this they need to be able to concentrate and listen. These are skills that come but need practice.

PACEY is the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years and has some useful resources for parents and carers to help when their child is Starting School.

Listen to one of our School Nurses

Thinking about your child’s health and development is really important. Listen to one of our School Nurses talking about preparing to start reception year. This webinar has some useful information about child health and tops tips to support your child to make that move.


Moving to Secondary School

Making the move from primary school to secondary school can be exciting and also daunting time for children and for parents/carers. It is a time when they develop more independence, perhaps start to travel to and from school with their friends. Children might be excited to try new subjects but worried about getting lost when they move between classes. They move from been the eldest in their school to the youngest. It is important to take time to prepare your child for that move. Talking and listening to them is a starting point to find out what they are looking forward to and what they might be worried about.

There are lots of useful resources to help you start conversations and explore the topic together. Young Minds is a great website with lots of information for young people, parents and schools.

Listen to one of our School Nurses

School Nurses can help support you and your child to make the move to secondary school. Watch our transition to secondary school webinar for helpful information and tops tips.


Other useful Resources

Transition Tips For Pupils With SEND – Young Minds