Moving between stages of education (transition)

Moving between learning stages is a challenging time. Managing this change well can really help your child or young person to settle in to their new environment.

Find out more about choosing the right school.

Phase transfers

When a child or young person moves from one stage of education to another, this is called a phase transfer.

If your child has an EHC plan, they will start their phase transfer when they are in:

  • their last year at their early years setting (such as a nursery or preschool)
  • year 2 if they are moving up to junior school
  • year 5 if they are transferring to secondary school
  • year 10 when thinking about post-16 options

Phase transfer reviews

Your school will hold a phase transfer review. It takes place during:

  • the summer term of the second to last year, or
  • the autumn term of the final year

The aim of the transfer review is to:

  • review the EHC plan
  • talk about moving between education providers
  • consider the next phase of independence

Parents/carers and young people should talk about the school or college they want to go to next. We will talk to the provider named in the EHC plan, and others that may be able to meet your child or young person’s needs.

Your early years provider should arrange a meeting in the term before your child is due to start. They’ll invite you and any professionals who work with your child.

At the meeting, you’ll talk about the transition and your child’s needs. They will then have enough time to arrange the right support. This can include training, resources or adaptations.

Moving from reception to year 1 is when a child moves from the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) to Key Stage 1.

This is the start of more formal education. It requires careful planning and preparation. Reception and Year 1 staff should work together to ensure a smooth transition.

You can find lots of useful information and support for parents and providers on the Early Years Alliance website.

Staff from the current school and new school should work together to plan for a positive transition. It is important that parents are involved to help make transition successful.

The Young Minds website provides information and support on transitions to parents, young people and professionals.

Planning to leave school to go to college or work normally starts when the young person is around 13 years old.

The young person is the most important person who needs to be involved in planning. They should be:

  • supported to make choices
  • in control of preparing for adult life

Find out more about: