Step 5: Transitions

A little boy with a backpack outside some blue school gates peering inside

Moving around is a way of life for many Armed Forces families.

It can be exciting but, sometimes, it can be difficult to find your feet in a new location. It can be unsettling for children and young people in education as they leave behind classmates, make new friends, and face a different curriculum or exam system.

It is important to remember the entire family is ‘in transition’.

“Data suggests that a career in the Armed Forces may damage Service children’s attainment levels if they repeatedly have to change schools, as many do.”

– Armed Forces Covenant Report 2018

Educational establishments must be aware of the impact on those children who see friends come and go. This can be particularly difficult for civilian children.

The Association of Directors of Education Scotland (ADES) has produced a series of guidance documents to support effective transitions for children and young people from Armed Forces families.


Transitions Cycle – Experience

Support with transitions is paramount in ensuring that each child and young person maximises their potential in each education setting.

Educational establishments must encourage families (Regular, Reserve, Veteran or ex-Service personnel) to identify themselves as Armed Forces at registration and at the beginning of the school year. This information should be recorded in SEEMiS, within the Armed Forces Family indicator.

ADES Transitions Guidance – Children of Armed Forces families

The Association of Directors of Education Scotland has produced a booklet, Leading Education for Armed Forces Children, which provides guidance and information to support effective transitions.

The key themes of this guidance are:

  • Communication
  • Transitions
  • Systems
  • Wellbeing
  • Leadership.

Reflective questions

  1. How do you know you are appropriately supporting children and young people from Armed Forces families as they transition into and out of your establishment?
  2. What information is available to staff during transitions to ensure they have as full a picture as they need of learners’ achievements, needs and prior learning?
  3. How do you know you are working in a collaborative partnership with families to support their children’s transitions?
  4. How well does your curriculum planning meet the needs of different groups of learners?
  5. How do you ensure that learners who need additional support have personalised and meaningful progression pathways?