Transition to Secondary School Summer Group - Video

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Transition to Secondary School Summer Group (Video file)

Transition to Secondary School Summer Group

This film describes the Greenwich Transition to Secondary School Summer Group that helps children with a language impairment to practise the skills they will need when they start secondary school.

I’m Julia Longthorne and I’m a Speech and Language Therapist with Greenwich Community Health Services, part of Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust.

For the past four years the Greenwich Paediatric Speech and Language Therapy and Occupational Therapy Services have jointly run a therapy week during the summer holidays. The group is for children who have a specific language impairment and will be starting secondary school in September. With funding by the charity Afasic, approximately 30 children attend each year. The aim is to help them develop the practical skills that are required to enable them to succeed in a secondary school environment.

Starting at secondary school can be very daunting due to the increase in scale of everything. Students are required to navigate themselves around large buildings in order to attend lessons in different classrooms and with different teachers. This requires skills of organisation to read timetables, use maps and select appropriate equipment. There is also a large amount of new vocabulary which is used daily (for example: form tutor, Humanities, canteen). As children with specific language impairments often find these skills difficult, they benefit from the opportunity to practice them during the group.

Secondary school is also a time when you meet a lot of new people and can be when you establish lifelong friendships. To help the children in this area we work on social skills such as: starting and maintaining conversations, dealing with bullying and requesting clarification. As there are a number of children each year who attend the group and have a diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), the ASD Outreach Service has worked with us to share their skills in this area.

Children often have to travel a significant distance to secondary school and it may be one of the first times that the children have travelled independently. Consequently, during the week we discuss personal safety and help the children plan their journeys to school. For the past two years the Greenwich Travel Safety and the School Police Teams have delivered workshops to the children that have been well received.

The week culminates with a trip that enables the children to put into practice some of the skills they have developed during the week. Past trips have included going to the London Eye.

The group has been proved to be a useful and valuable resource with positive feedback from both parents and children. The children’s progress is also measured via therapy targets which are evaluated at the end of the week. Consequently, the plan is to continue running the group and strengthen links with other agencies so that children with communication difficulties are aided in making a smooth transition into their secondary careers. 

If you would like to find out more about the transition to secondary school group, call 020 8836 8617.