Stages and transitions in education: How to deal with them Thursday, 28 September 2023

Welcome to another podcast episode! In this episode CEO Esther Chesterman is joined by NEC’s very own Karyn Nash, who is a qualified teacher and Pastoral Support Officer. Together, throughout the episode they discuss the important stages and transitions in education that some students may find challenging and how to deal with them.

Returning to school after the Summer break

For many students, the idea of returning to school after a lengthy 6-week break can be quite daunting. With a new school year ahead of students and for some, a completely new school environment, it’s important to appreciate how much this transition can impact a child or teenager.

In this episode, Esther and Karyn discuss how “it can be quite nerve racking for racking for younger students and older students as well”.

We did an episode earlier around students who are struggling to attend school. And you know, there’s been a lot of data coming out recently the the Children’s Commissioner for England recently said that if a child has an unauthorised absence in the first week of school, then they are likely to have a 25% unauthorised absence through the year as compared to a child who doesn’t have that first week of interrupted education. That generally is about 2%. So that’s a huge difference.

Factors that have impact on how a child deals with transitions in education

The beginning of the academic year can be overwhelming for many students, but even more so for those who haven’t been able to spend as much time socialising with others their age during their time away from the school setting. This is just one factor that can create negative emotions around a school transition.

Challenges can also arise if a child finds themselves in a new environment away from their usual friend group. The pressure to socialise with new people can be a daunting task, especially when lacking in confidence. Other factors that have an impact can include:

  • Experience of being bullied at school
  • Mental health problems
  • Behavioural problems
  • Anxiety
  • Changes in other life areas such as families dealing with a divorce, a death in the family etc

So there’s lots of different points I think which a student might feel a bit more pressure and a bit more stressed about about going back into education.

How to help your child cope with transitions

We understand it can be difficult trying to help your child through a time of struggle, and with educational transitions being so important, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. One of the most important things to keep in mind is how useful open communication can be. Whether that line of communication is from a parent and guardian or from a teacher, having someone for the child to talk to will be a huge benefit when trying to make transitions easier.

Keep in mind that parents and guardians will have a better idea of what is the typical behaviour of the child compared to a teacher, especially if the teacher is new to your child’s life. Getting to know the teacher from a parent and guardian’s perspective can allow for a great introduction into the child’s personality, needs and behaviour.

In the podcast episode, Esther and Karyn discuss other ways of helping your child cope during this time and what to keep in mind leading up to these big transitions.


As we conclude the episode, it’s clear that although transitions in education can be daunting and difficult for many, there are ways to help this time feel more positive for the child involved. We hope the podcast episode has given you both insight and helpful advice when it comes to coping during this time, but if you have further questions please feel free to contact us and stay tuned for the next NEC podcast episode.


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