More than half of pupils with statements of SEN are placed in mainstream schools and can experience high levels of anxiety during the transition period.
The Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities has this week launched Moving On to Secondary School, guidance and practical advice based on work with SEN students.
It wants more pupils to be involved in the transition planning process and has also produced guides for parents and for year 6 pupils.
They include ideas such as buddy schemes and activities to encourage students’ independence.
Ann Fergusson, senior lecturer in SEN and inclusion at the University of Northampton, said: “Without the right preparation and support during this time of transition, pupils with SEN can experience emotional upheaval or distress. Putting pupils at the heart of the transition process and really involving them makes a real difference. As a result of greater involvement, pupils with SEN will be enabled to feel better prepared and more confident in their new surroundings.”
Jill Davies, research programme manager at the Foundation, added: “While schools work hard to ensure the transition goes as smoothly as possible for pupils with SEN needs, it is high time they were put in the driving seat.
“By working with pupils to identify small, achievable steps in the journey, parents, teachers and SENCOs can work harmoniously to bring a greater sense of belonging to the school community and a positive impact on confidence and self-esteem for even the most vulnerable children.”
The guides and posters for primary and secondary school teachers, parents and pupils are at www.learningdisabilities.org.uk/our-work/employment-education/moving-on-to-secondary-school/