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Secondary transfer

Parent's perspective

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 year 5, 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.  The parent in the video clip is reassured by her daughter's therapist and also intends making sure that the teachers in the new secondary school understand her daughter's speech needs.

Parents are likely going to visit 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, a Communication Passport which highlights the triggers for the dysfluency and gives simple strategies for teachers. Some children who stammer may like to contribute to this so that their views on what is helpful to them are passed on.

Once the child is accepted by the secondary school, parents should be advised to establish a link with a key mentor teacher, usually the form tutor, 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 the SENCO 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 may be  more difficult to ensure that all the staff respond to the child's needs. 


  • Parents should make sure that information is passed to the secondary school at the New Parents' Evening.
  • Parents need a 'link' member of staff to contact if problems arise, usually the form tutor. 
  • Parents may have to remind subject staff at parents evenings about their child's stammer, as there may be staff changes.

The mother emphasises the crucial importance of contact between parent, SLT and school