Guidance for setting up and running a transition meeting What is the purpose of a transition meeting? A transition meeting is an opportunity for parents, practitioners and other people who have been involved with a child during their early years, to meet with school staff and discuss how best to support the child on transition into school. The aims of the meeting are: To share information about the child, their strengths and areas of need To share information about what is already in place for the child and has been working in the early years setting and at home To discuss continuing support for the child in the school setting To give parents the chance to raise any specific concerns or worries they have about their child’s needs in relation to starting school To plan how a child’s transition into school will be supported and managed effectively To establish roles and responsibilities, what type of action will be undertaken, by whom and when. Which children will benefit from transition meeting? All children with a Statement of Special Educational Needs or undergoing Statutory Assessment should have a transition meeting. Children where an Inclusion Partnership Agreement (IPA) is being considered. The IPA will probably be developed at a transition meeting and the accompanying documentation used in place of this guidance and related form. A transition meeting is often helpful for other children including: Children with complex special educational needs (SENs) where there has been a significant amount of involvement from outside agencies. Children who are at early years action plus of the SEN code of practice Children who are potentially vulnerable at points of transition and where there is a need for detailed planning and sharing of information (e.g. children who may be very anxious about transition to school, children looked after, children where there have been child-protection concerns) It is important to talk about whether a transition meeting is going to be helpful with parents and with other people who know the child (e.g. Area Inclusion Coordinators) When should a transition meeting happen? Typically a transition meeting will take place in the term before a child starts school. However, planning and preparation for a transition meeting should start much earlier (please refer to the transition timeline accompanying this document). It will be helpful to negotiate dates with schools, parents and other agencies well in advance to ensure people are able to attend. Who should be involved in a transition meeting? Once it has been decided that a transition meeting will be helpful, usually a practitioner from the early years setting will liaise with relevant people. These will always include the school and parents. They may also include other people involved with the child (e.g. area inclusion coordinators, outreach providers, speech and language therapists, health visitors, educational psychologists). It is often helpful to ask the parents if there are people that they would particularly want to be invited. Where should the meeting be held? The meeting is usually held in the early years setting or the school and may depend on parents preference, space available, or other factors. It is important to consider where parents might feel most comfortable. Before the meeting It will be useful to talk with parents before the meeting about what is likely to happen and to share the proposed agenda with them. This will give you and the parents time to think about what information should be shared and the questions that it would be helpful to ask. Early years practitioners who will attend the meeting should gather relevant information about the child and write down a summary of key points for each agenda item. Some parents might find it easier to write down any key points, issues or concerns before the meeting as well, to make sure they are included. At the meeting (also see agenda format) Setting the scene: It is important to establish how long the meeting will last and to keep a track of time to ensure that all the points are discussed. It will also be helpful to decide who will take on the role of chairing the meeting and who will take notes (and be responsible for circulating them). This will help ensure that the meeting stays focused and that everyone is clear about the outcomes. Introductions: It is important to give everyone attending the opportunity to introduce themselves and explain their role. This will ensure that everyone understands why people are there and what they can offer to the meeting and transition process. Child’s strengths: Start with the positive and try to make sure that all of the child’s strengths are highlighted. Summary of child’s needs: A brief summary of the child’s additional needs based on observations, reports, the child’s IEP’s (Individual Education Plans) and input from parents. Strategies that have worked: At home In the preschool Identify how the child’s needs have been successfully met by parents and the early years setting. For example the use of a visual timetable may have enabled a child to follow routines in the preschool, the child may need simplified instructions to support their understanding of language. Provision that will be needed in school Following on from discussion of successful strategies, it is important to consider the implications for future support. What provision should be made in school to best meet the child’s needs? It may be helpful to continue with successful strategies such as a visual timetable. The meeting will also be an opportunity to ensure that any plans for adaptations to the school building are in place and to consider whether there are any other resource implications (e.g. specialist equipment) or training needs that have not already been addressed. Who has worked with the child and what level of involvement they have had/who will they hand over to: It is important to ensure that relevant information is passed on to the school by those who have worked with the child. Some professionals (e.g. speech and language therapists, Portage home visitors, physiotherapist and educational psychologists) may continue to be involved when the child goes into school. Parental concerns/ Preschool concerns An opportunity for parents and preschool to raise any concerns that haven’t already been addressed or ask any other questions. Action plan from now until entry into school. The plan may include arrangements for visits to school/home, settling in, future support needed from external agencies, information from reports, social stories/scripts and further information sharing. Arrangements for monitoring transition plan and reviewing progress. Copies of minutes to be sent to all present and any other key people that may be (or need to be) involved. It is often helpful to set a date to review how things are going once the child has transferred to school and had a chance to settle in. If it is difficult to set a date for review at this point, a person should be identified who will be responsible for organising a review meeting.