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Change is a normal part of life and can provide opportunities for children and young people to develop their resilience.

Whether a child or young person is starting primary school, secondary school, further education, changing schools, or leaving school for university or work, this transition period needs to be carefully managed. If a child struggles with a transition it can have a negative impact on their wellbeing and academic achievement.

During any transition period, it’s important that children and young people are able to talk about their concerns and are supported to cope with any readjustments.

Who is more likely to struggle with transitions?

It’s important to prepare pupils who are more likely to struggle with moving to a new school or phase of education. This includes children and young people with:

  • additional learning needs (also known as SEND, ASN or ALN)
  • mental health problems
  • behavioural problems
  • limited parental support
  • experience of transient living, such as being in care
  • anxiety
  • experience of being bullied.

Identifying the signs

Here are a few things to look out for which may suggest a child or young person is struggling with their transition to a new phase of education:

  • struggles to make friends
  • doesn’t feel that they belong
  • has ongoing difficulties coping with daily routines
  • increased number of unauthorised school absences
  • challenging or disruptive behaviour
  • lower than expected progress or a disinterest in school.
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