Higher Openshaw Community School

Together We Learn

0161 223 3549


Saunton Road, Openshaw, Manchester M11 1AJ

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Moving from home to nursery


Starting at an early years provision offers exciting opportunities as well as challenges, and this transition needs to be managed sensitively and effectively. When a child leaves the home environment for the first time it can be an anxious and emotional time for the whole family.

The principle of well-planned transitions and of working with parents to ensure that children’s needs are met appropriately is embedded within the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). Transition will be viewed as a process rather than a single event and children, teachers and parents will all be involved in the process.

We have clear policies and procedures to ensure that we support children to make smooth and successful transitions. The following checklist includes the key areas that we consider when we are developing transition policy and procedures.

  • Evaluate communication and correspondence with new parents, ensuring information is clear and welcoming.

  • Develop a clear settling-in policy and share it with parents.

  • Offer parents a welcome pack with photos of the staff and the provision.

  • Hold drop-in sessions so new families can get to know the provision before their child starts.

  • Ask parents for as much information as possible about their child and their current routines so individual needs can be planned for.

  • Organise home visits and introduce the child’s key worker.

  • Use photographs of children (taken with parental permission) for labels and in welcoming displays.

  • Offer staggered admissions.

  • Access and read all incoming information on individual children.

  • Highlight and brief all staff on those children who may be vulnerable and/or have special educational needs.

  • Liaise with outside health/education/social service professionals who may be involved with particular children.

  • Review how each child is settling in on a daily basis with parents/key worker.

  • Respond sensitively to parents’ anxieties.

  • Have a planned review or parents’ evening to assess how the child is settling in.

  • Have a parallel procedure for children who start in the middle of terms or at other times.

  • Make provision for parents with English as an additional language or those with poor literacy skills.

  • Ensure experiences are provided which reflect children’s home life and culture.

  • Meet with staff to review and update transition policies and procedures.

Sometimes a child needs to move to a new nursery due to a change in circumstances. Staff should support this transition by ensuring that there is good communication and information-sharing with both the family and the new provision.


A transition for a child with special educational needs (SEN) or disability may need additional planning to ensure that it is smooth and successful from the beginning.

At Higher Openshaw Community school It is good practice for us to arrange a meeting to discuss the transition once we have received information about a child’s additional needs. Ideally this should take place in the term before the child is due to start, to enable sufficient time for any plans or support to be put into place.

Parents and any professionals involved with the child will be invited. The provision will plan for any necessary training, resources or adaptations that maybe required before a child starts.

Moving to Reception class

Starting school is a huge step in any child’s life and staff from both early years provisions and schools need to work together to support families in this transition.

It is important that children and parents are given opportunities to familiarise themselves with the school environment so that they can start building relationships with the key members of staff. Parents and carers need to have clear information about what will be happening in the transition process and how they can support their child.

Higher Openshaw Community School therefore ensure that there is good communication and information-sharing between themselves and parents prior to a child starting school.

Preparation for the transition should begin early to enable us to develop positive relationships to facilitate the process. Good practice involves:

  • identifying a transition lead to liaise with school and parent/carers.

  • organising visits from school Reception teachers and introducing them to children in their current provision

  • talking to children about starting school and offering opportunities to share their feelings, such as at circle time

  • providing school role-play activities, such as uniform or book bags and reading books about starting school

  • encouraging independence at lunch and snack times

  • encouraging children to develop independence when putting on their coats/shoes and with personal self-care in readiness for starting school

  • providing the new school with children’s records of development, interests, special needs, etc

  • considering the children who are not yet old enough to move to school and how they are feeling about their peers leaving.

Moving from Reception to  upper Keystage

The move from Reception to upper keystages is a key transition in a child’s education, as it is when they move from the EYFS to the start of more formal schooling. This also needs careful planning and preparation. Staff s work together to ensure a smooth transition and continuity.

There is a statutory requirement to complete the EYFS profile for each child at the end of the Reception year. This provides parents and carers, practitioners and teachers with a well-rounded picture of the child’s knowledge, understanding and abilities, their progress against expected levels and their readiness for Year 1.

The profile should be used to support a smooth transition to and help teachers to plan an effective and appropriate curriculum that will meet the needs of all the children.

Effective transition practice includes the following.

  • Facilitate visits between Reception and Year groups.

  • Organise non-contact time for EYFS and keysstage staff to discuss individual children and data.

  • Communicate clearly with parents and carers about the transition.

  • Plan an open evening to introduce new teachers and explain the structure and routines where possible..

  • Provide opportunities for children to experience structured play-based activities.

Moving from primary school to secondary school

it can be a hard decision when it comes to selecting the right school for a child. The transition to secondary school is one of the most pivotal changes that a child will experience in their young life, choosing the right school can become a heavy process.

The transition to secondary school refers to the time in which a child makes the educational shift from ending their final year at primary school, to settling into a new stage of their life in Year 7. Not only is this an educational change from a Key Stage 2 curriculum to a Key Stage 3 curriculum, but social, environmental and sometimes geographical factors change too. This can be a very exciting period of time for children and their families, but it can also be challenging for many families, especially in cases where a child has particular attachments and needs. It can raise feelings of anxiety, uncertainty and insecurity for many children and their families, due to the challenges that may come with making new friends, children becoming more independent, entering a new curriculum stage and meeting new teachers.

At Higher Openshaw Community School we support our pupils as part of the process by offering lots of discussion about their new schools, meet and greet sessions, transistion days and having planned meetings with new schools to share vital information about pupils to make the process as smooth as possible. A successful transition to secondary school can have a wholly positive impact on a child’s experience of school and learning for many years to come.


What is different about secondary school? 

There are major differences between the experience of secondary school, compared to primary school:

  • Educational shift: Children in secondary school meet a more rigorous curriculum, where many new skills need to be fostered to engage with it. Additionally, children in secondary school are typically given homework for each subject that they study on a weekly basis.
  • Organisational shift: Children in secondary school have different teachers for different subjects, and are usually taught in different classrooms for each subject. They will be given an exercise book and textbook for their individual subjects, and are expected to remember to bring the correct books to the correct lessons. The school day looks quite different, with just a few minutes to get between lessons and sanctions given for lateness. After school and weekends can look quite different to primary school, as children will have to manage their homework schedule and independent study time. In Year 7, children face many organisational challenges, and progress towards greater independence.
  • Social shift: Children who are transitioning to secondary school will be immersed into a new social world, where they may not be with many or even any of their close friends. They will have the opportunity to make new friends or establish a social group in some way. They may be spoken to differently by teachers, who aim to foster a sense of maturity in each child.
  • Cultural shift: Children will wear a brand new school uniform, and have to understand a new set of rules and a new school ethos.
  • Geographical shift: Not only is the building a completely different layout, but their new school may be in an entirely different geographical location. They may have to learn new transport routes, travel alone and acquire a certain level of street safety awareness.
  • Biological shift: As children transition to secondary school, they are often experiencing the changes of puberty in their bodies. Some children are not affected by the challenges of puberty during this period of time, but many experience changes in their personalities whilst they are working out how to fit in or stand out. This can be in conjunction with emotional changes, changes to their physical appearance and a heightened sense of self-awareness. This can make the process of transitioning to a new environment more challenging.

 Transitioning to secondary school


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Changes within the family

Children may also have to face changes in their home life which will require additional support from school and our pastoral team. Other types of transitions that children may experience include separation or divorce of parents, a new sibling, moving house or the death of a family member.

Children going through these transitions may be experiencing a range of emotions or a sense of loss. Staff will work with children and their families to provide a safe environment in which to support the child’s individual needs. Developing a secure attachment with staff & pupils is essential to supporting transitions. Teachers have an important role to play in supporting children when they are experiencing strong emotional upset. Keeping to familiar routines, such as going to nursery and school, can help to reduce a child's anxiety. It is common for children’s play and behaviour to reflect what is happening around them and this is a healthy response which should be encouraged.

School can support children by:

  • sharing stories about transition or loss appropriate for the child’s age

  • observing children to identify behaviour changes, areas of interest and friendships and offer support via our pastoral and inclusion.

  • having opportunities for children to use to express themselves

  • allowing children to express their emotions through various schemes

  • talking about emotions and looking at zones of regulation, and emotional coaching.

It is important to remember that some transitions will affect the whole family and parents may also need support. Our school family support and designated safeguarding lead will offer information such as advice line numbers and details of recommended professional bodies in a supportive and professional way.