Understand the potential effects of transitions on children and young people’s development.

1 Leaving a parent for the first time – as a baby, as a toddler going to nursery and the most obvious when the child starts school. For some it could be going into foster care and being separated from their main carers, especially if the child has been moved around quite a lot. For these children, trusting adults and managing the very strong emotions transitions and change will bring can be very difficult.

Some children and young people will find it almost impossible to ask for help when faced with difficulties while others may cope with underlying anxieties by demanding to be the centre of attention, others by just being shy or resentful. Even children who appear to be coping well can be thrown off-course by transitions and changes.

This is why developing strategies, both as individual staff and as whole schools, increases the capacity of all children to cope with transitions, giving them both the positive experience of managing change and belief in their skills to overcome these severe, and painful, circumstances. Children and young people can face many types of transition, including:

•Starting nursery

•Starting primary school

•Moving house

•Separation from parents

•New step-parents

•New siblings

•Changing school

•Changing friends

•Illness of a member of the family

•Living with the illness of a family member.

•Death of a family member

•Entering care

•Foster parents

•Diagnosis of disability

•Supply teacher

•Starting secondary school

•Diagnosis of Illness

•Living in a new country

•Change of class teacher

•Change of head teacher

•Movement around school

•Transitions within classes

•Moving through year groups

•First exams


•First sexual experience

•Coming out as lesbian or gay