Early years support and help with school transition

SHS has developed an innovative new ‘early help’ programme to support both children and parents during the transition from home or nursery into primary school. By intervening early to ensure that families are ready for school, children are much more likely to do well, both socially and academically.

The gap in attainment between disadvantaged children and their classmates starts before they have even reached school. Children from poorer backgrounds are less ready for primary school than their more affluent classmates and only a third achieve a ‘Good Level of Development’ at age five. Once in school, pupils from poorer backgrounds are more likely to miss too much school, particularly in reception and year 1, persistent absence is higher than any other primary year groups.

Man with children in nursery playing together on slide and with toys

Ready for School

Ready for School is an innovative new programme to help support families so their children are  ready for their first day at primary school.

The programme is delivered via three workshops with parents, with the final workshop being delivered for parents with their children. The underlying purpose of these workshops is to empower parents to achieve a positive experience for them and their child during the transition phase. Parents will be equipped with up to date knowledge, tools and strategies to enable them to effectively ensure that they and their child are ‘ready for school’. The programme also supports parents to understand how to apply for free school meals so that their child can benefit from the extra pupil premium funding.

Nalini Scibramaniam, Parent Governor, Oliver Thomas Nursery School and Children’s Centre

“Ready for School, this should be mandatory for all parents”

Ready For Secondary School

In the same way that Ready For School workshops support families with the transition to primary school, the equivalent programme has been developed to help parents with the move to Secondary School. Statistically, average attendance rates drop by at least 1% in that first year at secondary school.  The transition to secondary school isEmotional, Physical, Intellectual and Physiological, so supporting parents with this critical transition stage is vital to the early intervention towards a positive relationship with secondary school, emotional well-being and breaking the cycle of behaviour to improve later life choices and employability.

Regina Quaye, parent who completed the pilot course

“I met a lot of people with similar or different issues, it was really useful. We talked about what a child would be experiencing [with transition] and how to deal with it. … Now I feel confident how to deal with situations when they do happen. As a parent, that is what I really benefited from. … From a child to move from primary school to secondary school is a big jump, so it’s useful to attend a session to get advice and build up your confidence.”

What does the programme cover?


SessionObjectives of session
Workshop one
  • Identify types of transitions faced by families.
  • What does ready for school mean.
  • What are the different school roles and the expectations for children within the school.
  • How to address concerns.
Workshop two
  • How can parents support children to be ready for school.
  • Identify barriers to successful transitions and strategies to overcome them.
  • Explore how the home environment impacts on school transitions.
Workshop three
  • Strategies to empower parents to support the emotional and social impact of school on their children.
  • Sustaining positive relationships with families and professionals.

Impact of Ready for School

Before attending the workshops 85% of parents who took part in our pilot said they had a low or mid level of knowledge and confidence with regards to being prepared for their children to start at school. After attending the programme, 100% of parents said they had a mid or high level of knowledge or confidence.

“I have more knowledge and info to be able to be confident in what I need them to do to support my child’s learning and will be getting to know his teacher, SENCO, pastoral team and other staff”

We recently spoke to Regina, a mother who had completed her first Ready for Secondary School session that day. See what she had to say about the course:

Get involvedhi_big_e_min_pink

Having had really positive feedback from the initial pilot we are now seeking funding to pilot our ‘Ready for School’ workshops more widely. Our thanks to the following funders who are supporting us in this pilot phase:

Richard Reeve’s Foundation

Allen & Overy

Hornsey Parochial Charities

Aston Mansfield


Clifford Chance

Awards for All

We are currently seeking funding to run pilot workshops in 10 more locations. Schools, children’s centres or nurseries interested in hosting subsidised ‘Ready for School’ workshops are invited to contact us for more information. Please contact training@shs.org.uk.