This is a momentous change in the life of any child, particularly nowadays as there may be competition for favoured schools in the area.
Children who stammer may be especially sensitive to these worries as they face adjusting to a big school with many subject teachers and large numbers of new pupils, including many older than they are.
Discussion about choice of secondary school should begin in P6 especially if the parent is considering a popular, over-subscribed school.
Parents should be made aware of the realities of the processes of transfer and to take note of the child's speech needs in making a choice. The speech and language therapist may be able to give some insight into the experiences of local secondary schools in supporting children who stammer.
Parents may wish to visit the schools to make their choice and, as long as it does not worry the child, may want to involve him in their discussions.
Once the choice is made, the feeder primary should ensure that the secondary school receives information about the child's needs, including information about the stammer and may find it useful to compile a short pro-forma with the therapist, which highlights the triggers for the dysfluency. Some children who stammer may like to contribute to this so that their views on what is helpful to them are passed on.
The 'Communication Passport' prepared by the therapist is described in the video by this parent. This will be used to provide her daughter with a useful tool to inform her teachers in her new school about her needs and is very reassuring for the pupil.
After her daughter started at the new secondary school, this parent explains how well she has settled in and has built up good communication with all her teachers. Feedback to the BSA is that pupils benefit from being involved in the formulation of this passport and are more confident about approaching their teachers in their new school.
Once the child is accepted by the secondary school, parents should be advised to establish a link with a key mentor teacher, usually a member of the Guidance staff, who will provide support for the child individually and notify the parents of any concerns.
If the therapist is able to visit the new secondary school to talk with that colleague that is very helpful.
Parents should be advised that they should keep a 'watching brief' over their child's progress, as in a large secondary school it is more difficult to ensure that all the staff respond to the child's speech needs.
This parent anticipates that the 'Communications Passport' will help her daughter when she starts secondary school. She then reflects on how well her daughter has settled in at her new school.