Year 6 to Secondary Transition Guidance for Children with SEN Support

Transitioning from primary school to secondary school can be an exciting, but also daunting time for many children. For children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) receiving SEN Support, the change may be particularly challenging.

Mainstream schools have a duty to use their “best endeavours” to ensure that they are doing everything that could be reasonably expected to meet the SEND of its pupils.  For children receiving SEN support at primary school, this duty continues into secondary school. The SEND Code of Practice also refers to schools supporting children through transition phases so that they are included in social groups and develop friendships.

Therefore a successful transition from primary to secondary school involves both schools working together. It’s important that your child’s primary school shares as much information as possible with their new school. This will help the secondary school plan how it’ll meet your child’s needs.  Both schools should also offer support to children during the transition period to ensure that they feel comfortable with the change. There are also lots of ways parents and carers can help prepare their child for the transition, and help them settle into their new school when they start Year 7.

Here is a checklist to ensure information the primary school has about your child’s SEND is transferred successfully to the new school
  • Check that your current school has the young person on the SEN Register which identifies them has having SEN and being eligible to SEN support.
  • Has the current school had their planning meeting with the new school where they talk about the needs of your child and what support will need to be put in place.  You can ask to be involved in this meeting.
  • Support plan, learning levels and SATs scores – has this been forwarded?
  • Obtain printed versions of the support plan prior to leaving
  • Contact details for the SENCo/Pastoral support within the new school

It’s helpful if your child’s primary school compiles a profile of your child which can be passed on to the secondary school. This could include details of:


  • Your child’s particular profile, such as with mobility, communication, concentration, etc.
  • The special measures that support their learning, like extra time for tasks, one-to-one support, visual timetables, handwriting aids.
  • Strategies that help them cope with school life, such as movement breaks, time out, or a buddy system in the playground.
Here is a checklist of things that can be done with the secondary school to help the transition period go smoothly for both your child and the new school
  • Check what transition activities they already have planned for the Year 6 pupils. Transition schedules will normally be published on the secondary schools website and may include things like SEND tours, SEND visits, induction days and summer schools.  Find out how to book onto these activities if you think it will help your child.
  • Obtain a social story Social stories and comic strip conversations ( including any pictures of the setting and key staff members such as their tutor, year lead, pastoral or support staff they will be interacting with.
  • Consider how they can make the school accessible to your child, for example by providing them with a colour coded map to look at over the summer break with clear markers for pastoral/support areas, toilets and lunch areas.
  • Have they received pupil profile, and any materials supplied by you, their current school, or other professionals involved in their care.
  • Can you arrange a meeting with you and your child to get to know them better and discuss their needs and how they can be catered for.
  • They should prepare all the staff who will be involved with your child so they understand their needs and can make them feel welcome and included.
  • Ensure they have observed your child on induction days to see how they cope with the new environment and teaching practices.
Here is a checklist of ways to prepare your child during the summer holidays
  • Try a walk or drive by to familiarise your child with the busy start and end of day.
  • Rehearse the expected travel route to and from school together at first, then following them at a safe distance.
  • Spend time with your child looking at the school map learning where everything is
  • Practice wearing the uniform/ PE Kit and if there any sensory concerns are there alternatives that could be discussed with the school.
  • Create a checklist for all the equipment your child will need. This could be laminated and used daily as a tick list.
  • Your child is likely to have their own questions about starting secondary school, so encourage them to write them down and ask a member of staff at the induction days or for you to email to the contact at the new school.
  • Finally, try working through this booklet or one similar to look at what moving up to secondary looks like for your child – My moving up to secondary school booklet : Mentally Healthy Schools
Here is a checklist of things you can do to help your child settle in and complete the transition in the first term of the new school
  • Continue to refer back to any transition resources your child used to help prepare them for the move.  For example, remind them of who they can talk to if they need more help, continue to talk to them about their worries and what they can do help themselves solve these worries.
  • Make sure you know who to contact if your child starts to experience difficulties with school.  There may be areas of concern that emerge that were not considered during the transition period and it is important to raise these with the school as early as possible to address them.
  • Ask for a meeting to be arranged in the first term to review the support plan for your child, so that you can talk about any concerns early on, and make any adjustments as needed.

What to do if you have an issue with the support for your child

You can resolve many issues by talking to your child’s school or setting. Speak to the class or form teacher and the SENCo and involve senior school leaders if needed. When a child or young person is receiving SEN support, schools should talk to parents to set clear outcomes and review progress towards them. They should discuss activities and support that will help achieve outcomes. They should identify the responsibilities of the parent, the pupil and the school.


The SEND Code of Practice states that schools should meet parents at least three times each year (paragraph 6.65). But parents can request more meetings than this if needed.

If the school are finding it hard to implement any of the ordinarily available support they may seek support via a referral to the Education Inclusion Support Service (EISS) for AFC Kingston and Richmond.

If you are still not happy with the action taken by the school, a copy of every school’s complaints procedure should be available and is often published on the school’s website. The school’s SEN Information Report should include arrangements for handling complaints.

The local authority have some useful resources detailing what schools in your area are committed to achieving for your young people, if your transition is hitting a few obstacles here are some useful links of what level of support you are entitled to.

AfC Info website – Kingston and Richmond :: Local Offer / Information and advice / About SEN Support in schools and education

  • SEN Threshold Guidance
  • Ordinarily Available Provision Guidance
  • Inclusion Toolkit
  • Reasonable Adjustments

External resources include:

Supporting children’s transition to secondary school: guidance for parents and carers | Anna Freud

Reasonable Adjustments Possible at School | Autistic Girls Network

BITESIZE CPD: EBSA/School Anxiety – Starting the Day Right – Dr Pooky Knightsmith

Education Support | Autisticrealms

If you feel you need additional SEND Information, Advice and Support please feel free to contact SENDIASS

The Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) in Kingston and Richmond offers advice and support across a wide range of subjects. This may include help with personal budgets and how to use the Local Offer plus information about:

  • local support networks
  • education, health and social care services
  • your rights in education, health and social care
  • mediation and dispute resolution

The service is a free, confidential and impartial. It is for children and young people up to the age of 25yrs who have special educational needs or disabilities, and their parents or carers.