For a pupil with Additional Support Needs, the transition from primary to secondary school represents a transformation in daily living equivalent to an adult re-locating from Yarmouth to The Yemen. However challenging primary school may have been, the new ‘home’ will be one with few if any points of reference, and where the child must be constantly vigilant in differentiating between the benign and the hostile. Get that transition right, and the child will thrive. He/she will discover new inner strengths, talents that they never knew they had, and a close-knit network of support that will carry them through the turbulent times ahead. Get it wrong, and they will disengage to survive. At best, they will shut-down their learning and focus solely on making it through the day. At worst, they will reject what threatens them and refuse to go to school, or develop secondary mental health difficulties that will crush their belief in themselves. The pre-requisites of a successful transition are;
- For the pupil to have a place in school where they feel safe
- An adult in whom the child or young person can trust and communicate
- A friend Without these, no child, ASN or otherwise, can succeed.