Working with School to Ensure a Smooth Transition from Primary to Secondary School
In my last blog we looked at how you, as a parent, can support your child with dyslexia to transition from primary school to high school. In this blog we are looking at how to work with high school to ensure as smooth a transition as possible for your child.
In primary school your child has one class teacher, who understands their dyslexia and how best to support them. In secondary school your child will have a form tutor and possibly as many as 12 subject teachers per week to build relations with. One of the keys to creating a successful transition is to ensure that the new teachers are aware of your child’s specific learning difficulty and how they can best support him or her in class.
Having worked with numerous families over the last 10 years to create successful transitions to high school, I would like to share the following suggestions with you.
Please ensure that you share information about your child's dyslexia with the new school. It will help the teachers understand your child's specific needs and support them appropriately. If teachers understand the nature of the difficulties, they are more likely to make adaptations/accommodations as they will understand what to do and why/how to do it.
There are various ways for parents to share information, which can vary from school to school. Some schools prefer face to face meetings, others prefer telephone conversations or electronic communication.
A good place to start would be to contact your child's new Head of Year or the SENCo (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator). Explain that your child has a specific learning difficulty -dyslexia, and that you would like to share some information with school to help ensure a smooth transition. Ask if it is possible to have a face to face meeting as you can then share results of Educational Psychologist reports and other relevant information.
If you are meeting in person, request that your child be present for all or part of the meeting, so they can meet the teacher, and also so they feel part of the process.
When you meet/speak with school have to hand a list of questions, including any concerns that you child may have. You can then discuss these points during the conversation. It is also very helpful for the school if you can provide a copy of any dyslexia assessment reports, whether carried out by an Educational Psychologist or a Specialist assessor.
Areas for discussion could include the following:
· Your child's strengths
· Your child's barriers to learning
· Suggested support strategies & adaptations to the curriculum that teachers can use in class
· Information regarding exam concessions (extra time, reader, scribe, use of word processor etc), including sharing evidence of need
· Ask for clarification from school regarding the specialist support available (type, amount and frequency)
· Establish a named contact for your child, should they have any difficulties
Ultimately the aim is for your child to enjoy school and have an education that enhances their strengths and diminishes their weaknesses, allowing them to thrive.
If you would like help with the transition process, I have a created a 'Succeed with Transition' plan. It has been created specifically for parents who have a child with dyslexia. As part of the plan we discuss your child's dyslexia diagnosis and create a profile detailing their strengths, potential barriers to learning and strategies that teachers can use in class to support your child. The plan is specifically tailored to your child's needs and can be shared with the school that they are moving to, to help create a smooth transition.
Please contact me to discuss how I can support your family during this process.