#senco5aday, People

A time of transition

In the #Leader5ADay blog earlier this month, Cole shared his thoughts on change My focus today is on transitions. For SENCOs there always seems a lot to do and demands placed upon us, whether it is because there will be farewells, new children, young people and families, new staff, new classrooms, new routines or even a new school to plan for.

The official dictionary definition of transition is:

A change from one form or type to another, or the process by which this happens.

What we know is, change can be difficult, but change is necessary for growth. A key focus is how can we support our learners and staff so that transition goes smoothly, without us spending hours on paperwork or in meetings?

Working with staff and families, I came up with a process called ‘scoping the essentials’.  It is about sharing what do the people who will encounter this learner need to know.

This method really comes into effect when transitioning between primary and secondary, when there will be lots of teachers, form tutors and support workers having to get to know a multitude of new learners and cannot hold every single piece of evidence in their head or have it instantly to hand. It also works well between year groups.

To scope the essentials, focus on

  • 3 must knows
  • 5 should knows
  • 5 would be good to knows

These 13 nuggets of information gleaned from talking with the child and family, can be recorded on a single sheet of paper, possibly with a photo.  What this provides is a powerful and effective overview document for all staff. In the long term this can also reduce your admin and paperwork, as you can do a check and update every year. The one sheet of paper is vital.  Many schools use 4 to 5-page passports.  This is hard for staff to retain.  Any information, we have about learners needs to be used “at the point of planning and the point of delivery”, as Anita Devi often says!

Every learner is unique, so focussing on triggers, hooks, behaviours, routines, preferred communication, interests, required equipment and friendships.  This will enable teachers to adapt their high-quality teaching, make reasonable adjustments, whilst still maintaining their classroom management. It’s similar to a one-page profile, but with a different focus.

Flip the process

Scoping the essentials can be flipped on its head, so families also receive the must knows, should knows and the good to knows for them about the school / setting. This could be stylised as a FAQ sheet.

Now let’s focus on you:

  • Are you moving into another role or is your role evolving?
  • What should you leave behind?
  • What should you take into the next year?
  • What should you ask for?
  • What would you like to do differently next year?

Make time to truly reflect and celebrate all that you have achieved, by yourself and with colleagues, learners and their families. If moving on, ensure the person sitting in the chair next has a good map and all the tools required. (A must knows/should knows/ good to know crib sheet would be gratefully received I am sure). If you are going into a new setting, you absolutely can ask for a ‘knows’ sheet, and try to have some time this term to shadow/explore the next role/setting with the incumbent.

If you are staying in the same role, but want to do things differently / better next year – would a must know/ should know/ good to know document help others understand your role and the pressures you face?

Finally, to all of you, remember to plan an effective wellbeing transition into the summer holidays. That does not mean falling exhausted and ill into your bed and not resurfacing for a week! Yes, holidays are for resting, reflecting, recharging, but most importantly they are for reconnecting and for enjoying! Make time to plan these last few weeks carefully so that you can have a fantastic summer and plan those holidays and that you are not endlessly picking up bits of work or switching on the laptop to check emails!

Till next month,



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