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Managing transitions

Transitions are about the movement from one set of circumstances to another resulting in changes to environments, relationships, behaviours, routines, roles and expectations. Transitions are a process of change. Some people need extra preparation, planning, adjustment and support.

A child or young person will experience many transitions during their education journey. These changes may take place on a daily basis between their home and setting or between class and break. Other transitions occur less frequently such as a change in school or year group. The way in which transitions are managed is central to the child or young person development and emotional well-being. This will have a significant impact on the child’s capacity to cope with change in the short and long term.

Key principles for supported transitions

In a ‘supported transition’ there should be substantial preparation, planning, adjustment and support.

  • Clearly explain transition processes so that parents and young people can make informed choices.
  • Make views of the child or young person and parents/carers central to and evident in the planning for transition.
  • Use person-centred techniques to support the child or young person’s mental capacity to participate in decision making.
  • Co-ordinate a multi-agency approach to reduce the need for children, young people and families to repeat their stories to multiple agencies.
  • Consider the diverse needs and vulnerabilities of families. Identify children, young people and parents carers who may need additional support for the transition process as early as possible.
  • Be aspirational and promote independence and life skills of children and young people. Have a long-term view for transitions and the pathway to adulthood throughout all education settings.
  • Ensure the individual needs of children and young people are know and support with personalised approaches. Some children will need support to manage all the mini transitions throughout the day.
  • The needs of children and young people should be met within their home communities as far as possible. This will enable them to remain part of their established families, local communities and networks.
  • Recognise that transition is an ongoing process, not an isolated event, and that support in settling continues to adapt in response to individual needs.
  • Ensure that records and information about the child are sent securely between settings. This includes safeguarding records sent between Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSL). See ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ for further information.

General transition cycle

Transition at its best is a sequential, planned and thoughtful process that should take place over a period of time, rather than changes happening all at once.