We realise that starting school can be a big step for all children, and their parents/carers, and our aim at St Mary’s is to make this as positive and enjoyable experience as possible. This transition can bring its own particular stresses for pupils with SEND and their families. Our induction programme is as follows:
- Once places in Year R have been formalised, we invite families to an information sharing open evening. This is lead by the head teacher, and a presentation given by the Reception Class Teacher and Early Years Leader, Mrs Davison, outlining what life will be like over that first important year. Other support staff, the Chair of Governors, Friends of the School and the School Nurse, regularly attend the meeting. A very comprehensive information pack is explained and given out and there is ample opportunity for your concerns and questions to be voiced, with members of staff on hand to answer queries.
- You and your child will then be invited to an after school “School Start” event. This is a fun and informal treasure hunt around the school buildings and grounds, so you can familiarise yourself with the environment. This can be particularly important for children with special needs relating to spatial awareness and unfamiliar settings and routines.
- All new starters, at the end of the summer term, will spend half a day in their new classroom with their new teacher and nursery nurse and get to meet each other. Parents don’t stay to these sessions, building on those first important steps towards independence.
- We stagger starting days in September, 6 children at a time, building up to a full class of 30 after 5 days. Very young summer born pupils and pupils with SEND often benefit from starting on the first day, in a small group setting, where their individual special needs can be catered for while they are “finding their feet”.
This programme can be adapted to accommodate the additional needs of any child, and as many visits as appropriate can be arranged to ensure a smooth transition. It is also a good time for families and school staff to plan together for the needs of children with SEND. Our staff will have already visited all the children in their nursery setting and discussed their needs and progress with nursery staff. Your views and hopes and dreams for your child are important to us in planning for success and achievement, whatever the starting point.
Primary to Secondary School Transition
Most of our pupils transfer to Year 7 in St Bede’s, Lanchester. We have excellent transition arrangements, in partnership with Mrs Beth Meggeson, Transition Coordinator at St Bede’s, who works with the cluster of primary feeder schools. The transition programme is full and varied, beginning with taster sessions and parents information evenings in Year 5.
Throughout Year 6, St Bede’s staff visit us to familiarise themselves with the needs of all Year 6 pupils – academic, personal, physical and so on. – to plan for a smooth transition and cater for individuals with SEND. Parents are kept well informed by the school, and any concerns and worries will be addressed before the move to Year 7.
St Bede’s runs a summer school, with places available for pupils who would benefit from additional opportunities to prepare for the move from primary to secondary school.
Our Parent Support Advisor, Glynis Railton, is a valuable link between the family and the two schools, and is available to give extra support where needed, at home or in school.
If you would like to discuss your SEND requirements in detail please contact the school to arrange an appointment.