All over the UK families are looking forward to the summer holidays, and in Northern Ireland and Scotland a lot of schools finish up this week. The schools in England and Wales have another couple of weeks to go. The end of term is an important milestone for many children who will be leaving primary school for the last time, and starting “big school” in September.
The transition from Primary to Post Primary is a massive change in anyone’s life, and those young people with an ABI may need a bit of extra support. The organisation and planning skills needed for big school are a lot more than was required in primary school. First of all there is the sheer size of many of the high schools with hundreds of pupils in each year group. Then you have a teacher for each topic, rather than one teacher who teaches you everything. Then pile on top of that the multitude of textbooks to remember, the homework diary to complete, the deadlines to balance and your PE kit on a Tuesday – it’s tiring just thinking about it.
So what can you do to help your child prepare for the changes they are going to face? It can help to talk to them about it, and what it will be like to go to that school.
Most secondary schools have someone who is responsible for liaising with primary schools in their catchment area – often the head of Year 7 – who will be finding out about children with special educational needs who are due to move up to secondary school. If the child is known to have special educational needs and therefore is known to the SENCO/Support for Learning Staff and/or has a statement, the school teams and Educational Psychologist should be involved in the transition as a matter of course.
However, not all young people with an ABI will have a statement or Education and Healthcare Plan (EHCP) although they may have considerable difficulties and it is these children who can be most vulnerable to the change as they may have less support. With all children but perhaps especially those with an ABI, it pays to identify their needs in advance so that the transition can be carefully planned and managed. This gives it a much better chance of being successful.
For practical advice and tips on how to help your child prepare for this transition, download our full Fact Sheet here.
Have a great summer from all the CBIT Team.