Transitioning to secondary school - students with disability

A successful transition depends on the primary school, secondary school and the student’s parent/carer(s) working together to:

  • plan the student’s transition process early
  • identify the student’s learning needs
  • identify any adjustments that need to be made.

Key people involved in the student’s transition

A trained and experienced Transition Coordinator can be a great resource for a student and their family throughout the transition process. Other key people involved may be:

At home

  • The student’s parent/carer(s).

At primary school

At secondary school

Student support group

It is recommended that all students with a disability have a student support group (SSG).

The SSG plays an important role in planning and monitoring a student’s transition from one school to another. They also make sure the student gets the personalised learning and support they need.

Key considerations in a successful transition process

See Transitioning from Primary to Secondary resource (docx - 5 (docx - 641.92kb) for full transition guidelines

Students with disability may have complex transition needs, and schools may need to be mindful of how they engage with students and their families. This may include:

  • helping families identify their role in the transition to secondary school
  • updating the student’s parent/carer(s) about their child’s progress
  • understanding the developmental needs facing students
  • recognising and acknowledging how moving from primary to secondary school may impact a student.
  • considering the school environment. For example students with physical and mobility difficulties may experience difficulty because of distances and/or stairs between their classrooms
  • making sure signage is clear, and school staff are easily identifiable at orientation days
  • having additional opportunities for the student and their families to visit the school and meet their teachers before the start of the school year
  • providing professional development for school staff to help them understand the additional needs of the student.

Transition planning overview: suggested roles and timeline

See Transitioning from Primary to Secondary resource (docx - 5 (docx - 641.92kb) for full transition guidelines

This planning timeline gives suggested steps for the transition of students with additional or complex needs.

Schools may use these steps with consideration to the unique needs of the student and their educational settings. The students parent/carer(s) are also involved in the transition process.

Primary school

Year 5, term 4

  • Start talking to the student’s parents/carer(s).

Year 6, term 1

Year 6, term 2

  • Submit Program for Students with Disabilities (PSD) application, if applicable (Year 6 review or new applications) and consider inviting the secondary school to the application student support group process
  • Support parent/carer(s) as required in the nomination of secondary school preference.
  • Begin gathering transfer information including health and wellbeing reports.

Year 6, term 3

  • Coordinate and submit PSD applications, for new applications if applicable
  • Receive notifications of Year 6 Review applications and notify parent/carer(s)
  • Identify a Transition Coordinator to help the student to prepare their ‘student profile’
  • Develop Transition Statement
  • Organise a SSG meeting with the secondary school to help them in preparing supports for the student.

Year 6, term 4

  • Finalise the Transition Statement at the SSG
  • Complete the student’s transfer information. This may include:
    • details about the student’s support needs
    • PSD eligibility
    • potential receipt of PSD Transition Support Funding for Year 7 students in 2019 who are no longer eligible for the PSD after their Year 6 review.

    Year 7, term 1

    • Confirm dates for the SSG to meet in Term 1 at the secondary school.

Secondary school

Year 6, term 3

Year 6, term 4

  • Begin school orientation
  • Consider strategies for preparing the student for timetables, larger classes and facilities
  • Make sure transfer information includes details about:

Year 7, term 1

  • Receive student’s transfer information including Transition Statement from the primary school
  • Talk to student’s parent/guardian/carer(s) in the SSG and develop of personalised learning and support planning
  • Consider access needs of new student. For example, storage of medication, a private area for personal care and planning for Year 7 camp.

Transition statement

Schools are responsible for managing information for students during times of transition.

Transferring student information to the student's next Victorian government school is in their best interest because it helps the new school provide the best education and support.

A transition statement provides an overview of the student's support needs and profile.

Transitioning from primary to secondary resource

The transition resource provides you with information and advice in supporting you to implement positive and effective transitions for students with a disability and additional needs. In this resource you will find:

  • an overview of the transition planning process including key elements and considerations
  • suggested timeline and checklists for transition planning activities
  • Transition Statement templates that schools may use to strengthen their transition processes
  • information on student support and targeted programs
  • contact details and links to resources and additional information.

To download the full resource, see Transitioning from Primary to Secondary resource (docx - 5 (docx - 641.92kb).

Transition support funding

Transition support funding is available to government secondary schools to support students starting Year 7 in 2019 who are no longer eligible for the Program for Students with Disabilities (PSD) after their Year 6-7 Review.

The funding supports the delivery of personalised teaching and learning programs to meet the student’s needs.

For further information, see transition support funding.