For children and young people, the most significant transitions occur when they start school, move from primary to secondary school, and from secondary schooling to adult life. It is a process of change that for some students may require substantial preparation, planning, adjustment and support. The following information will assist schools and families to provide a positive transition experience from primary to secondary settings.
The Transitioning from Primary to Secondary resource is advice/guidance designed to assist schools to support students with additional or complex needs that arise from disability or difficulties in learning, to transition from primary to secondary school, so that their experience is a positive one.
The Importance of Transition
Supporting students with additional or complex needs to transition involves more than timing and monitoring the physical transfer from one educational setting to another; the endeavour is best described as building a strong, well-engineered bridge that the students can cross.
The principles and desired outcomes that guide effective transition planning for children and young people living with a disability are the same as for all children and young people. What may be different is the need for transitions to be well defined, of longer duration and for schools to be conscious the impact that such changes may have, not just on the student, but also on their parent/guardian/carer(s), their siblings, their peers and their teachers.
So, when initiating transitions for students with disabilities, elements to be considered are:
- the nature and severity of the students’ disabilities,
- the impact of a disability on the students’ access and participation
- the extent to which existing transition programs take account of the individual needs of the student, their family and the receiving setting.
Good practice programs that support students with additional or complex needs that arise from disability and difficulties in learning to transition from primary to secondary school have a number of things in common. They:
- begin well in advance of the point of transition,
- are person-centred and tailored to the individual needs of the student,
- are collaborative and involve parent/guardian/carer(s) as vital partners,
- provide the student and parent/guardian/carer(s) with information to make aninformed choice about future educational settings/options,
- are adequately resourced and
- are facilitated by a ‘transition coordinator’ who can communicate across sites,ensure that collaboration between the sites is effective and that all aspects of the transition planning process are addressed, and support the student andparent/guardian/carer(s).
Many schools have excellent transition processes and programs that promote positive transition experiences. The resource has drawn upon existing practices of schools, as well as research by, and recommendations from, disability and educational experts. The processes and plans suggested are designed to align with existing practices in schools. The intention of this resource is to provide information and support documents in one accessible location.
Schools and communities, in consultation with parent/guardian/carer(s), are in the best position to make decisions about their students and the support they require. This resource provides information and advice for schools in supporting them to implement positive and effective transitions for students with disabilities. In this resource you will find:
- a framework for transitioning students,
- a suggested timeline for key planning activities,
- templates that schools may use to strengthen their transition processes and
- links to additional information.
Use of the words ‘additional or complex needs that arise from disability or difficulties in learning’ is deliberate. Disability exists on a continuum and young people with disabilities are not a single, easily identifiable group. As such, the Transitioning from Primary to Secondary resource has been designed to be sufficiently flexible for schools to adapt and augment to suit the needs of students with very different disabilities as needed. In this way, the transition program is responsive to the individual.
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