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Supporting Transition between Early Years Settings and Reception Classes

There has been widespread concern expressed about the impact of COVID-19 on young children’s development and well-being, with the largest impact likely to fall on children from the poorest families or those with vulnerabilities and particular needs, including those with Special Educational Needs or Disability (SEND).13,14

Attending an early years setting is highly valuable for all children, leading to positive social and emotional, language, and physical development.

The lack of access to provision during lockdown means that children’s development is being significantly compromised. There is a risk of isolated young children developing issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder, attachment problems or a sense of grief which could have fundamental and long-term effects.

Early years settings can be the most stable element in a child’s life and there is a heightened risk of safeguarding issues as vulnerable young children are not in regular contact with professional carers and other children at a time of increased financial and emotional stress. Remote contact and learning experiences cannot replace the need for the human contact and interaction which is crucial to healthy development. (

With this in mind we have gathered a multi-disciplinary team from a range of disciplines across West Sussex and have recorded some webinars for educators to watch.

The team wanted to:

  • Continue to support educator’s knowledge and understanding of good practice around transitions, with reference to Covid 19.
  • Develop understanding about how the curriculum will need to be modified in response to Covid 19.
  • Give best practice ideas for universal transition and supported transitions.

There are two webinars available. The first focuses on universal transitions which include Covid 19 related specific issues, such as wellbeing, attachment and lack of time in pre-school settings. The second is for those children who would benefit from a supported transition, for example those with SEND, other vulnerabilities, disadvantaged or care experienced children.

Webinar 1: Universal Transitions

Webinar 2: Supported Transitions

Links on Tools for schools.

Annex Section 2: Early Years Foundation Stage “Ordinarily Available Provision” guide.

Additional links and resources:

Link to West Sussex County Council Transition Guidance

Link to West Sussex County Council Transition Pack

BBC Bitesize – planning for transitions when schools are closed

ELSA transition resources – ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant) Support is a website which provides downloadable resources that support the teaching of emotional literacy or emotional intelligence by ELSAs. 

Twinkl transition resources – A website with teacher-created resources.

National Autistic Society transition advice

Coronavirus Support for Early Years | Coronavirus support for Nursery | Anna Freud Centre

The British Association for Early Childhood Education – a national charity supporting early years practitioners with training, resources and professional networks, and campaigning for quality education for the youngest children

West Sussex staff who took part in the presentation:

Carrie O’Rourke – Advisory Teacher for early years, WS virtual school
Deirdre Nash – Speech and Language Therapist
Helen Smith –Early Years Associate Adviser
Jessica Bubb – Advisory Teacher Autism and Social Communication Team
Lizzy Lynas – Educational psychologist
Louise Burgess – SEND & Inclusion Link Adviser
Sue Woods – Early years and Childcare Consultant