Preparing for transition meetings

What are transition to school meetings?

Once your child’s enrolment has been accepted, a transition to school meeting is held.

Transition to school meetings:

  • are to plan for your child starting school
  • provide valuable opportunities to:
    • meet with key people involved in the transition process
    • discuss your child’s support needs
    • clarify what needs to happen to make starting school as successful as possible
  • usually happen face-to-face
  • can take place via video or teleconference or email as a practical alternative

Who usually attends?

You attend this meeting, and you may like to invite:

The school representatives may include:

  • the principal,
  • class teacher/s
  • school counsellor

You may wish to ask in advance who is likely to be attending and what the roles of these people are.

See also who is who at school? section for more information about staff roles.

What is my role as a parent in the meeting?

You should be at the centre of the transition plan as you know your child best. Your role is to make sure people know and understand :

  • information about your child’s personality and strengths
  • your vision for your child
  • what is important to you in relation to your child starting school
  • During the meeting you may come up with new questions or thoughts about your child’s transition to school which you may like to raise during the meeting so that the people there can provide answers for you

What usually happens in transition planning meetings?

  • The school principal often arranges and hosts the meetings before your child commences school. It is also usually the school principal who runs the meeting on the day
  • Several people will have information to share about your child’s strengths and needs, so it is important that the person running the meeting allows all these voices to be heard
  • You will be given the opportunity to share information, thoughts and feelings from your family’s perspective
  • The principal may have some forms that need to be completed and will ask you some questions in order to do this

How can parents and the team plan to make transition to school meetings successful?

  • do some preparation prior to meetings
  • agree on an agenda
    • what is the purpose of the meeting e.g. to determine the transition plan, roles and responsibilities?
    • how much time is being made available?
    • what is each member expected to contribute?
  • make sure particular concerns or questions you have are included on the agenda so that participants can prepare to respond

Some questions you may wish ask:

  • What types of activities will be put in place to help my child become familiar with the school?
  • How will information about my child be shared with the school staff?
  • When are the school’s general orientation days?
  • Can my child have a gradual transition to school?

Having a clear agenda and agreed expectations will lead to a more successful meeting that builds relationships and achieves successful outcomes.

See also and perhaps print and bring along to the transition meeting: what to find out about school.

What might I be asked about my child at the transition meeting?

Generally questions in NSW Department of Education meetings will focus around 5 main areas also known as “domains”:

1. Curriculum (Key Learning Areas) - how the curriculum and teaching methods may need to be individualised and modified for your child in order to achieve the outcomes set out in the syllabus documents
2. Communication - including your child’s ability to communicate their wants and needs with others (expressive communication) and your child’s ability to understand language used by others (receptive communication)
3. Participation - social competence (your child’s ability to interact with others and participate in the school) and safety (what strategies are needed to maintain your child’s safety)
4. Personal Care - hygiene, eating and dietary and health care procedures which are needed e.g. toileting, feeding, medical needs
5. Movement - mobility, positioning and fine motor skills which may impact on your child’s participation in learning activities

What if I am unsure of the process or of language used?

You may find that language used by the school system is different to what you have been used to in ECI or other settings. Just like families have their own familiar ways of talking to each other, all settings have their own “jargon”.

It is your right to ask people to explain what they mean if they use words, ideas or concepts that you don’t understand.

What happens next?

You can ask what you can expect to happen after the meeting and when you can expect any follow up actions to occur.

Sometimes another meeting is planned to discuss progress on the transition plan.