At this point in the year, a lot of my time is spent on year 5 transition reviews.

What a great idea: in year 5 SENCos from all the different secondary schools (or their representatives) can attend the annual review and help plan for a successful transition.

We do this really well. Either I, as SENCo, or one of my senior staff always attends every review we are invited to. But how come I never see any of my secondary colleagues there? Surely if the parents/carers are still considering different provision all schools should be represented?

I consider this to be very important – ensuring parents/carers (and students – although it always appals me that they are never, and I mean never, included in transfer reviews) are aware of how secondary schools differ. How we work, different structures, expectations, etc.

In secondary school, parents/carers cannot simply turn up. Appointments need to be made in advance. Young people are given more responsibility. Support is different.

All this needs explaining. Hence, the need for secondary SENCos to be at year 5 transfer reviews.

The Code of Practice specifies that the student’s views are sought, but too often we attend a review without the students present or any written expression of their thoughts. 

Differences between primary and secondary SENCo role
One of the main elements of my job as a secondary SENCo is managing meetings with students with SEN, other professionals and parents/carers….why is the primary role not the same? Any SENCo needs to have sufficient skills to engage young people and adults in appropriate interactions.

We had a very successful feeder primary SENCo conference a few years ago. We explained how secondary provision differs from the primary setting and how we access a wider range of services.  Not to mention how we operate support differently and support a wider range of needs.

This went a long way to skilling up our primary colleagues. Perhaps we need to hold another one? Our year 6 transition morning will, I’m sure, be interesting as always…watch this space…