Most pupils at Pioneer respond well to structured routines and familiar surroundings and often find it difficult to make transitions between activities, places and objects of attention. For this reason we have well planned support for pupils to transition into Pioneer from another setting, to move from one class to another at the end of the school year and to move on from Pioneer to another setting at the end of their time with us.

Transition between classes and phases

Every pupil in Pioneer has a Pen Portrait which has useful information including communication strategies, behaviour and any medical information. In the second half of the summer term all Pen Portraits are updated thereby ensuring that new class staff have the most up to date information. Transition meetings take place between the current teacher and the receiving teacher during which Pen Portraits are discussed and information is shared in more depth. Teachers often engage in peer observations so that they can have a better understanding of how their new pupils work within the classroom and the way the classroom is organised.

All pupils have a half day Transition Afternoon at the end of the summer term in their new classroom. During this session the pupils meet their new teacher and support staff who will be working with them in September. Where possible a familiar member of staff will always move with pupils to aid consistency and any resources that are particular to a pupil will also be transferred to their new class. For those pupils who find transitions particularly difficult a special programme is set up to help ease their anxieties. They may spend sessions in the new classroom with a favoured adult from class or the keyworker.

Keyworkers also meet to share information if pupils are moving from one keyworker to another and Heads of learning meet to discuss new pupils entering their key stage.

When pupils move on from a key stage they have a celebration as a way of marking a significant transition. This may be a meal in a nearby café or restaurant or a party in school, whichever is most appropriate for the group.

At the beginning of the autumn term the new class team meet to share plans and go over important information for the new class group.

Transition from Key Stage 4 to FE

In the summer term, the Head of Learning for FE invites the Key Stage 4 parents to a Transition Afternoon in the Enterprise Cafe. Parents have a tour of the FE facilities which include the Independent living flat; FE classrooms; the allotment; the kitchen garden and the Enterprise kitchen and Café. They see some of the current students involved in various activities which gives them a greater understanding of our Post 16 (FE) provision.

After the tour, parents are served tea and cakes by the students that work in the café. There is then a presentation of a typical week in FE that explains all of the sessions students participate in, as well as any equipment they may need for the various activities. Parents are given an opportunity to ask questions to alleviate any concerns they may have about their son or daughter starting in FE.

These students also have a Transition Afternoon where they visit their new class and staff team. In addition some also have half day visits to FE to experience some of the sessions as part of the transitioning and settling in process. Where possible, a familiar member of staff moves with the students to their new class to aid continuity.

The adults in the new class team visit the students in their current class in a ‘getting to know you’ session. The new team receive any training required to gain a greater understanding and knowledge of any care needs the students may have. All paperwork is passed over to the new teacher before the end of term enabling them to plan for the students that are coming into their class in the September.

Keyworkers, LSA’s, Teachers and the Head of Learning also meet to share information, strategies and techniques about all students entering FE. On the last day of term, any resources or equipment that are for a particular student are passed on to the new class teacher.

At the end of term, all Key Stage 4 students are invited to a special end of term meal out in the community and to the leavers disco.

Transition from FE to Post 19 provision.

As students reach their final year in FE, a meeting takes place for the student and all the people involved, to discuss possible Post 19 provision.

The keyworker and teacher prepare the students for moving on; during the summer term students have the chance to visit local work experience placements and have opportunities to undertake some work based training. They also have visits to the local day centre for a variety of work experiences. This gives the students an introduction to the world of work and helps prepare them for changes in routine and going into different environments.

From April onwards, students visit possible new post 19 provisions with support from either the keyworker or family members. Once they have decided on a provision, a follow up meeting is arranged if needed. The transition team (school based staff and social care), liaise with the family regarding the placement. The school Physiotherapist and Occupational Therapist arrange a meeting with parents and the Adult Learning Team’s OT and Physiotherapist in order to pass on information. Staff from the new college and or social placement liaise with the keyworker and sometimes observe the student in the school setting; the keyworker may also take the student to their new placement for taster sessions. Transportation is arranged between the family and social care if applicable.

All students have an end of year trip and meal out plus a leavers disco in the evening to say goodbye to their friends and staff. They receive a personalised DVD with photos of themselves capturing their time at Pioneer School.

After students have left Pioneer the keyworker makes follow up phone calls to the parents and the post 19 provisions to ensure that placements are going well.