As Curriculum for Excellence continues to embed itself into the culture, structure and practices of education in Scotland, there has never been a greater need for effective transition arrangements throughout the secondary phase of the education system. As young people continue their learning journey through the broad general education (broadly 3 years to 15), the move between primary schooling to secondary is an important one, as the new curricular arrangements seek to develop successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens.
Indeed, the journey does not end here, but instead continues into the senior phase curriculum; eventually leading into post-school education, training or employment. The impact of the recession on post-16 learning opportunities has tested the current transition arrangements. The purpose of this paper is to establish how effective post-16 (and ergo post-school) transitions are throughout Scotland. The topic will focus predominately on post-school transitions, including post-16 learning within the senior phase curriculum, although there will be additional light touch exploration and discussion to establish the effectiveness of transition arrangements between the primary and secondary phases. The scope of the paper will cover integral concepts such as universal and targeted support, Getting It Right For Every Child, Health and Well-Being, 16+ Learning Choices and The Additional Support for Learning Act. The paper will explore the outcomes for particular groups of young people, for example, those who have identified Additional Support Needs, and in particular those who are Looked After at home or away from home. Focus will remain solely on mainstream and maintained schools in Scotland although there may be occasional reference to special schools or special units within a mainstream setting, where a young person studies a bespoke curriculum which is partly or exclusively designed to meet their individual needs. The paper will draw together sound conclusions based on research evidence with the possibility of identifying particular strengths in current transitions arrangements or common issues which may need to be explored further.