Tips for transition between schools

There are lots of things you can do to help make transition to a new setting go as smoothly as possible…

Gather information

I copied his timetable out on several pieces of paper in case he lost one, but because he loves his routine, after a few months it became second nature to him.


  • Provide clear, detailed written information.
  • Include photographs to help your child visualise the new setting.
  • Include maps and detailed directions and help with route planning.
  • Tell your child how to access support and help within the new setting.
  • Give them timetables so they know what to expect each day.
  • Do a who’s who, with photographs.
  • Describe what will happen at lunchtime and breaks.
  • Give them clear rules.
  • Go through the details of any uniform or dress code.
  • List what they will need to take with them.

Practise the new routines

At his new school my son had to wear a uniform that included a tie. We spent all summer holidays practicing things like fasteners, laces and ties. We also needed to get him into woolly jumpers, because up until now he's always been in soft fleece tops.


  • The new morning and pick up routines.
  • The journey.
  • Role-play situations that might come up, e.g.:
    • listening for the bell and getting ready to move rooms
    • changing into games kit and back into uniform
    • and doing up ties, shoe laces and buttons.
  • Practise asking questions.
  • Learn new independence skills.

Get prepared

On his first day he took objects from home which could fit in his pocket and apparently he was twiddling and touching them a lot. He did this for several weeks but then one day he just stopped.  He now has a ball of blue tac in his pocket and fiddles with this. I guess it’s his comfort.


  • Take any opportunities to visit the school.
  • If possible visit both during school time and holidays.
  • Meet the teachers and learning support staff.
  • Get your child to try on the uniform and make sure it’s comfortable.
  • Give your child a camera (it could be a disposable one) and create an album or storyboard for your child to add photographs to as they start in their new setting.
  • Encourage your child to take a small object or photograph from home.

Starting a new school – tips from parents

We never went in with him right from the beginning and I think this also helped so he never expected it or asked for it to happen.


She loved it right from the word go and after her first visit asked for one of their sweatshirts!  I bought her one pretty quickly and I think that by wearing the same as everyone else there, it helped her feel part of the unit quickly.


As for getting into the taxi, we told him how lucky he was and that it was for big boys. I think it helps to find their motivation to work on persuading right from the word go that this is a really good idea. For the first couple of weeks, we let him take one of his toys to hold in the taxi and then in school. We called it a transition toy and as it was always with him and it went to all places (something not changing). This really helped too.