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Universal – Starting school and other transitions

Please note: Due to Covid-19 we know that many children have not attended schools or settings for a long time. Therefore the ideas on the following pages may be helpful when supporting all children back to schools and settings. You can use the ideas and adapt them to support your own practice both now and for any transition into school in September. Please ensure that you refer to the following guidance: press here

Here are some ideas which have been shared already this term.  If you would like to share what you are doing then please get in touch:

  • “I have sent letters to my new cohort with a picture of myself and given them a couple of facts about myself. I have asked for a reply of pictures so I can start making an 'All about us' board for when they begin in September

  • “At our school we have decided to add our new cohort to Tapestry earlier (when we would usually start our stay and play sessions). We will be introducing ourselves via Tapestry and will read stories to the new children regularly

  • “We will be sending picture booklets home and putting virtual tours of our school and classroom on the school website so children can familiarise themselves with their new surroundings

  • “We will also be having a staggered entry when / if we return to school in September: allowing only 6 children to start school each day so that by the end of the week we have a full class. We have decided that it is sensible to start the youngest children first and those with any with additional needs”

  • “Instead of home visits and preschool we will be doing video messages or phone calls”

  • Tregenna Nursery Group (The Barn Day Nursery and St Erth Nursery), have made some videos in partnership with their schools.

  • “The teachers are making a little video and sharing an “All About Me” box about themselves”

View Transitions to Reception Guide by Together for Families (PDF)

With thanks to Peterborough City Council who have kindly given us permission to share their transition resource. Please see the third document for Cornwall's helpful contacts.


Download Start Practitioner Guide 2020 (PDF) Download START Parent Booklet (PDF)

Download Useful Contacts (PDF)


 Makaton uses signs and symbols to help people communicate.

Helpful resources

Click to be taken to the resource.

These templates have been devised as starting points for schools and settings to adapt and personalise to meet their own requirements.  They can be adapted for targeted and specialist use, as well as universal:

Some ideas for transition from Reception into Year 1 

If you would like to share what you are doing then please get in touch:

Set up the classroom very similarly to the reception classroom for the first 6 weeks. Copy the way they self-register etc, so it is not too much change all in one go

Year 1 teachers can read a story to the new reception class (virtually, if not physically) before the summer holidays

Teachers send the new children a postcard with 5 silly things about me, encourage the children to write one back

Reception children to create a special piece of work that is used on a display in the year 1 classroom for when they arrive

Is it possible to move a member of reception support staff into year 1 for part of the year / the whole year?

Make sure continuous provision carries on from reception class to encourage new learning potential and expectations (if it doesn’t provide challenge children could get bored easily and no learning will take place)

The British Association of Early Education have great ideas on their blog: Time for a Key Stage 1 that is developmentally appropriate? by Julie Fisher

Early Years SEND Partnership resources

The Early Years SEND Partnership organisation has published a wide range of resources available to help children in many different ways. This includes some materials that will help support all children’s language development. This includes , for example:

SLCN Commitment Declaration: A tool for settings to monitor and share with parents and staff what they are doing to support the development of communication and language skills. Click here

SLCN Strategies Declaration: For settings to display to parents and staff what strategies they are using to develop communication and language skills. Click here

SLCN Intervention Record: For sharing detailed information about a child’s identified needs and the interventions being used to support those needs. Click here

SLCN Quick Review Checklist: A comprehensive RAG rating tool that allows settings to assess their current practice and make a plans for developing practice. Click here

SLCN Needs Calculator: A quick way for settings to work out their levels of SLCN. Click here

Visual SLCN Pathway Tool: An introduction to what an SLCN pathway looks like. Click here

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