Transitioning to Secondary School

For children with Down syndrome, starting secondary school can be as stressful as the transition from early childhood to primary school.

Prepare for this change the year before your child is due to start secondary school. By starting early, you have the chance to look at a range of schooling options and decide which one is best for your child.

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Transition from Primary School to Secondary – Information Sheet»
by Sandy Alton, DSA UK Consortium 2006


Handling the transfer to secondary school

This article from Down Syndrome Education (DSE) Online will help guide your decision making. It suggests what to look for and questions to ask when you visit secondary schools.

By secondary school age, students with Down syndrome face an ever-increasing gap between themselves and their typically developing peers. Deciding between continuing with inclusive education or moving into a special class or school, can be a difficult choice. As outlined in this article, it is clear that there are many factors involved in the decision making process.
Read article (DSE website)»

A comparison of mainstream and special education for teenagers with Down syndrome: Implications for parents and teachers

From Down Syndrome Education (DSE) Online. It is worth keeping the benefits of inclusive education in mind. Professor Sue Buckley has done a lot of research in this area. She has written this very interesting article about the benefits of inclusive education for students with Down syndrome.
Read article (DSE website)»

External resources

GSE: Group Special Education

As with the transition to primary school, you will have support available to you through GSE. You may like to ask them to go with you to visit schools.

Once you have decided on a school and completed the enrolment process, ask for your young person to make transitional visits to their new school during term 4 of the year before they start. Visits can  begin with just coming for one period and gradually increase. You can negotiate this with staff from the school, and your GSE support worker can also help.

Allowing time for transitional visits can help prepare your young person for the new environment they are entering. This will hopefully help alleviate any fears you or they may have.
Read article (Kiwi Families website)»