The change from home based programs to school can be an anxious time for parents; they will rightly be concerned as to the school's ability to manage their child and all his/her needs and idiosyncrasies. Sharing information with the school is of paramount importance, before and during transition to school.

If parents are comfortable with the new stage in the child's life, the child will also feel comfortable. 

Transition to Primary School

Early Childhood Teachers are experienced in dealing with children at all developmental stages and in successfully engaging and communicating with parents about their child's needs. School staff will be supported by a Students with Disability Consultant from Catholic Education Western Australia (CEWA).

Transition into school can happen at different stages for different children, and can be undertaken gradually. Once a child has been offered a place in a Catholic school, the school and the Special Education Consultant will start gathering information about the child to ensure the school is equipped to meet the child's needs.

Students can start school in the 3-year-old-program, if available, Kindergarten or Pre-Primary, depending on the arrangements parents have made with the school, and depending on the early intervention programs or therapy that the student is accessing.

Children must be in school full time by the beginning of the year in which they turn five and a half years-old. It is generally expected that a student would be attending school full-time by the start of Pre-Primary, having made a gradual transition from home to school.

Parent Input is Vital

In order for schools to put into place appropriate arrangements, parents should provide full information to the school of the child's needs, and of the early intervention the child is receiving.

Before starting school, the Students with Disability Consultant will visit the child in a current educational or therapy setting to determine the level of support required, what training staff will need, and whether any classroom modifications are needed.

The consultant will contact therapy providers to discuss the current programs and skill levels. The school may suggest the use of different resources to assist with transition such as a 'Kindergarten Passport'; a friendly way of letting the school know all about your child.

In Term Four schools hold transition meetings for parents of all children entering school the following year, at which parents can have their questions answered and can meet other parents. This is an important meeting for you to attend. In addition there may be a separate transition meeting for children with identified disability with parents, principal, therapists etc to discuss individual needs.

There is also a meeting for all parents of children with disability new to school at CEWA in Term Four. Parents are invited to this through their schools. This meeting explains the processes and supports that school will utilise to make school a happy and productive place for all children.

Visits to the school by the student may be suggested and generally transition into the early stage of school takes place gradually at the beginning of the year. Students can become familiar with the routines in the classroom, with peers and with staff. Flexible transition arrangements can be discussed with the teachers.

Early intervention providers also work closely with the school and CEWA to ensure a smooth and happy start to school.

Transition from Primary to Secondary School

Year 7 is the first year of secondary schooling in Western Australia. All enrolments are subject to regular school enrolment criteria. Parents make application to the school of their choice. Once a place has been offered CEWA Consultants will be involved in supporting the school to put into place transition strategies such as staff training, student observations, discussions with current service providers, assessment of resource needs etc to ensure a smooth transition into school.

Transition into school may be gradual and ongoing depending on the needs of the student and the family.

Year 7 is the first year of secondary schooling in most Catholic schools in WA. Transition may start early depending on the needs of the student. In most cases it will take place in Year 6 and involve meetings between the primary school and the secondary school.

A transition plan will be developed between primary and secondary schools and the parents to ensure access, resources, staff training and familiarisation are planned in a systematic way. The student will make visits to the secondary school with all incoming Year 7 students, but may also visit alone to become familiar with the new environment in their own way.

Transition from a Catholic School to Adult Life

Senior schooling education provides a variety of pathways for all students to have access to a diverse range of post-school options. The School Curriculum and Standards Authority Courses enable students to study at all levels including ‘preliminary’ units for less academic students, taking into account the different needs of the student.

The aim of the program for students with disability is to raise their competence and confidence levels and equip them with the skills to function in employment, recreation and leisure and home and community environments.

The three main curriculum areas of Career Education, Independent Living and Leisure and Recreation help develop the student’s abilities, talents and interests as well as their social and interpersonal network so they are independent participating members of society.

All students, where appropriate are included in regular or specific senior schooling programs based on individual needs and priorities. These needs are established through the individual transition plan. The plan begins in Year 10 and is developed in collaboration with the student and their family and is reviewed every semester.