Tia Papoutselou on transition issues for Y6 students with Speech, Language and Communication Need (SLCN)

The transition from primary to secondary school is challenging for every student, but it can be particularly difficult for children with Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN). Children with SLCN feel less confident and more worried about moving up to Y7. Many of their concerns revolve around “fitting in”, bullying, being understood, and dealing with their academic workload. 

More specifically, children with SLCN typically face practical difficulties such as adjusting to having a number of different teachers, as it can be quite tricky to get used to different accents, voices and styles of talking. Additionally, they might struggle with listening and processing information delivered at a quick pace using complex vocabulary. Lastly, they might be anxious about navigating complex buildings and moving between classrooms, as well as staying organised when having to follow a complicated timetable, follow new rules and keep track of homework and assignments.

These are just examples of the challenges students with SLCN might face when starting secondary school, but they highlight the imperative need for robust transition support for Y6 students. However, schools across the UK have been receiving insufficient funding to cover their staffing needs and have been forced to reduce hours of teaching assistants, mental health support and Covid catch-up tuition. These cuts disproportionately affect children with SEND and have inevitably led to a decrease in transition support.To help address the needs and gaps, Afasic, a parent-led charity organisation, in collaboration with speech and language therapists, SENCOs, parents and academics, provides a week-long course called “Get Ready for Secondary School”. Afasic supports and provides information for families with children and young adults who have a SLCN with a focus on Developmental Language Disorder. The “Get Ready for Secondary School” course is filled with activities that support transition to Y7 for Y6 students with SLCN and has been embedded into some speech and language therapy services across the UK for the past 10 years. The course resources are free to schools and speech and language services, and their aim is to help students get excited and confident about moving up to secondary school.

It is important to highlight that resource packages, such as the one offered by Afasic, cannot replace the ongoing support that SENCOs, teachers, assistants and therapists provide to children with SLCN. It is crucial that we continue to advocate for sufficient SEND provision in both primary and secondary settings.

■ Transition issues for students with SLCN
Tia Papoutselou
Author: Tia Papoutselou

Tia Papoutselou
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Tia Papoutselou is the programme Coordinator for Afasic’s “Getting Ready for secondary School” Transition courses for Y6 students with SLCN. For more information on the "Get ready for Secondary School" Afasic programme, email Tia at tiap@afasic.org.uk

Website: afasic.org.uk
Twitter: @afasic
Facebook: @Afasic.Charity
Instagram: @afasic.charity


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