Transition guidelines

These guidelines and accompanying resources provide NSW schools with policy advice and practical support to ensure all children experience a strong and successful start to school.

The Strong and successful start to school transition guidelines (PDF 2.9 MB):

  • are aimed at principals, leadership teams and Early Stage 1 teachers
  • inform improvement planning and evaluation, collaboration, community engagement and networking, and teaching and learning to meet the needs of all children.

Transition to school posters

Transition assessment and planning tool

The Transition assessment and planning tool (DOCX 1MB):

  • accompanies the guidelines by supporting planning for effective transition practices through the School Excellence cycle of continuous improvement
  • provides a space for schools to reflect on their current transition practices and create sustained plans for improvement to ensure children experience a strong start to school.

The Transition practices checklist (DOCX 1MB) can be used at any stage of the transition planning cycle to ensure schools have high quality, evidence-based transition practices in place.

Tailored transition practices for identified equity groups

Evidence suggests that some children may need a tailored support approach to experience a positive start to school. These resources aim to provide differentiated advice on transition strategies and information to inform transition practices for children from identified equity groups.

High potential and gifted education (HPGE)

Within the department’s High Potential and Gifted Student Education Policy , communicating assessment information to support transition and collaborating with families and communities is identified as a responsibility of the principal. Engaging with the transition guidelines during the planning cycle, will allow schools to meet the specific learning needs of high potential and gifted students across all domains. Supportive learning environments can be facilitated during transition for high potential and gifted students:
  • collaborative processes and reliable assessment and data should inform planning, with appropriate and deliberate adjustments made for children starting school
  • consultation with students and families to understand the student’s interests and social-emotional development that will enable the student to connect, succeed and thrive
  • significant curriculum adjustments are planned for the needs of those students identified as highly gifted and whose potential vastly exceeds that of students of the same age in one or more domains
  • data about high potential and gifted students with simultaneous disability or other diverse needs is evident in a personalised learning process
  • preschool and primary school teachers and principals are aware of their responsibilities as outlined in the HPGE policy.

High potential and gifted education (HPGE) (DOCX 72KB) provides more information and resources to support transition for high potential and gifted students.

Children, families and community from low socio-economic areas

The department is committed to supporting students to connect, succeed and thrive at each stage of their development and learning. To support the wellbeing of all children strong collaborative processes help schools to identify, respond and connect with the local community. This will strengthen relationships and support the school in responding to local needs. To specifically support children and families from low socio-economic areas, schools can:

  • consider community liaison strategies within the school budget
  • utilise community organisations to provide connections to services to help the school to provide support such as breakfast programs and homework centres.
  • build the capacity of staff to work with the local community, including joint professional learning and visits with local community networks (for example trauma-informed practice, consistency of support for families)
  • support staff to engage in online professional learning, for example, Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth webinar
  • engage with community links such as Samaritans and other NFP organisations and contact businesses to seek community support for starting school costs like school bags and uniforms
  • value and support family and community involvement and show evidence of flexibility in family-school planning.

Children, families and community from low socio-economic areas (DOCX 72KB) offers links and information to inform transition planning and encourages collaborative relationships. These connections will facilitate a positive transition to school.

Children with disability and learning support needs

Inclusive education requires an ongoing process of collaboration, reflection, evaluation and tailoring transition experiences for children with disability to ensure a strong, happy start to school, including:
  • collaborating with families, local early childhood and early intervention services, and other agencies and professionals to gather information and get to know the student. This includes information from the family and early childhood staff and any documentation from medical specialists, paediatricians, psychologists, audiologists, optometrists, therapists including speech and occupational therapists
  • applying effective strategies used in the prior to school setting, detailed in the transition to school statement, to ensure that successful strategies are implemented during the transition and transferred between settings
  • scheduling meeting dates over the transition period to consult with the family and other stakeholders on an ongoing basis as part of a personalised learning support process based on the student’s strengths, interests and needs
  • monitoring and reviewing the adjustments and strategies in the transition program using evaluative processes to respond to any changing needs
  • using established relationships with early childhood services and Student Support and Specialist Programs to identify children who may need physical changes to access the school environment, at least two years before starting school to allow time for buildings and facilities to be modified.

Children with disability and learning support needs (DOCX 72KB) offers more information for students with disability and learning support needs.

Multicultural children, families and communities

The department's Multicultural plan aims to support students who have English as an additional language/dialect (EAL/D) and refugee and newly arrived students through the delivery of sustainable programs and resources. Schools can reach this target and support a successful transition for EAL/D students by:
  • engaging in processes, relationships and collaboration to identify and connect with multicultural children and families, including early collaboration with early childhood services
  • consulting with local community organisations and incorporating feedback into planning
  • ensuring staff are culturally responsive by engaging in professional learning and visits with local community networks
  • getting to know the children and the families both informally and formally
  • ensuring any language barriers are supported through access to home language/s, supporting children and families
  • ensuring multicultural students with high potential and giftedness, disability or other diverse needs undertake a personalised learning process.

Multicultural children, families and communities (DOCX 70KB) and Refugee and newly arrived children, families and communities (DOCX 71KB) offer more information to support multicultural, refugee and newly arrived children, families and communities.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families

The success of a strengths-based approach to transition is evident when schools acknowledge the skills and existing knowledge that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children bring with them to school. Recognition from the school’s transition planning team that the community is a crucial source of resource ensures genuine consultation with the local Aboriginal community, organisations and AECG in the transition planning process. A strong and successful transition to school for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students is more likely when:

  • school staff are culturally responsive and engage in joint professional learning and visits with local community networks
  • Aboriginal people are an integral participant in the transition team and meet to share knowledge about the child; identify strengths, skills and knowledge, country and mob, connections
  • language and dialect are considered within transition practices and flexibility is evident in family-school relationships
  • high expectations are set for Aboriginal children with a focus on children’s strengths and knowledge
  • Aboriginal students with high potential and giftedness, disability or other diverse needs undertake a personalise learning planning process.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families and communities (DOCX 74KB) offers more information Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families and communities.

Return to top of page Back to top