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Specialist – 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

For children with more complex needs a bespoke approach is needed, as with any transition, to ensure the best possible start to school. It is crucial to gather as much information as possible from all of those who know the child, and to read any relevant documents for example, the child’s Education Health and Care plan, in order to understand how to most effectively meet needs. Aim to be flexible in your approach and if you are considering different contexts, always start in your head with “What might that look like in my setting?” And remember it will probably look different!

Key questions and considerations:

  • Deploy staff effectively depending on skills and knowledge. If staff need specialist training try to ensure where possible, that this is organised before the child starts with you. You may find useful advice in the SEN File.
  • Has everyone involved read the EHC Plan and do they all understand how they can contribute to it’s implementation?
  • Have you thought about wider staffing implications for break times and what they will need to know or what training they will have need to attend for example, if a child communicates using Makaton, ensure that the relevant adults understand what the child is communicating and are able to respond (see further links within these pages to appropriate resources).

To support schools and settings in welcoming their new children there are a range of websites with information and guidance to support. These are helpful in gathering the most up to date information, guidance and support for a range of specific needs.

View Transitions to Reception Guide by Together for Families (PDF) Local Authority, Early Years Graduated Response document, support for the Foundation Stage to the end of Reception for support with toilet training for bladder and bowel conditions for support and ideas for parents around sensory processing difficulties a range of ideas about how to use an intensive interaction approach at home and in school, this organisation has run training in Cornwall for our Early Years setting and parents a range of support and guidance for supporting children with SEN a range of support, guidance and training for practitioners working with children who have a significant speech, language and communication delay or disorder guidance and support with communication for children with complex needs particularly around using AAC support to develop speech, language and communication support for parents who have a child with Autism who displays some challenging behaviours support for schools and settings who are working with children who have a diagnosis of Autism support for professionals and parents supporting children with SEN support for families and professionals working with children who may have a rare gene or chromosome disorder support and advice when working with children who have Down Syndrome government advice to support children beyond the EYFS Early Years Developmental Journal for tracking progress  Development Matters to support planning and assessment across the foundation stage support and advice for children with disabilities support and guidance for families who need help with their child’s bedtime or sleep routines support for parents around a range of areas such as sleep, communication and benefits. released three new webcasts and supporting documents for Early Years practitioners, SENCOs, teachers, teaching assistants and parents. for support and information on childhood deafness for families and professionals


 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:

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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