Parentzone Scotland
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Planning for transitions

Transitions are the moves that children and young people make from stage to stage in their education, for example starting school, moving from one school to another, or leaving school.

Some, but not all, children with additional support needs will require extra help to make transitions successfully. Your local authority is required to plan for transitions early if your child:

  • has a co-ordinated support plan
  • attends a specialist unit, a day or residential special school
  • has additional support needs arising from a disability (as defined in the Disability Discrimination Act 1995)
  • is at risk of not making a successful transition for any other reason.

Professionals working with you and your child will decide what planning and support is needed.

The Supporting children's learning code of practice sets out timescales for local authorities to plan and support your child in making smooth transitions at each stage.

Starting early learning and childcare

These are the steps that your local authority will take to ensure that your child makes a smooth transition from home to an early learning and childcare (ELC) setting, once additional support needs have been identified:

  1. Local authority identifies your child as likely to have additional support needs and as requiring support to make the transition to ELC.
  2. No later than six months before your child is due to start at the ELC, the local authority must seek and take account of information and advice from appropriate agencies and others (eg health services, social work services, voluntary agencies and the ELC).
  3. No later than three months before your child is due to start at the ELC, the local authority must provide information to appropriate agencies.

Preparing for primary/secondary school

  1. Local authority identifies your child as having additional support needs and as requiring support to make the transition to primary or secondary.
  2. No later than 12 months before your child is due to start at the school, the local authority must seek and take account of information and advice from appropriate agencies or others (eg health services, social work services, voluntary agencies and the school).
  3. No later than six months before your child is due to start at the school, the local authority must provide information to appropriate agencies or others.

Preparing to leave school

  1. Local authority identifies your child as having additional support needs and as requiring support to make the transition to beyond school.
  2. No later than 12 months before your child is due to leave school, the local authority must seek and take account of information and advice from appropriate agencies or others (eg health services, social work services, voluntary agencies, Skills Development Scotland and training providers).
  3. No later than six months before your child is due to leave school, the local authority must provide information to appropriate agencies or others.

Whatever additional support needs your child has, they are still entitled to opportunities in further or higher education, training or work. Their school, college, social worker (if involved) and any other agency will work with you and your child to decide which would be the most appropriate.

Further information on post-16 opportunities.

More information

Our newsletters provide the latest information on education news and events, as well as details of resources and activities to help you support your child's learning