A successful transition from primary to secondary school involves a student being able to move seamlessly to their new setting.
Transition from primary to secondary school is not a point-in-time event, but rather an experience that can extend beyond the last two years of primary school and first two years of secondary school.
This requires appropriate personal and social supports to be in place to promote student engagement and wellbeing, and to enable this, schools need to be able to work together and to share information and data.
These supports and data sharing, alongside the necessary teaching and learning frameworks, will give each student the best environment to maintain their learning continuity.
Why a smooth transition is important - the research
Moving from primary to secondary school is an important step in the next stage of a child’s education. This happens alongside the transition from childhood to adolescence and includes many changes - both physically and emotionally.
Transition from Year 6 to Year 7 can negatively affect students in a number of ways. Data from the Attitudes to School survey highlights that:
- students are consistently less engaged in their schooling after they commence Year 7
- absence rates rise
- student connectedness to school declines
- declines in academic outcomes.
The data tells us that this ‘dip’ in engagement and academic outcomes can be difficult to rectify for many students, and can be the start of their disengagement from education.
A well-planned and coordinated approach to transitioning students from primary to secondary school over this extended period can make a significant difference to a student’s achievement, engagement and wellbeing outcomes.
Getting started - your school's individual transition plan
Most schools will already have an individual transition plan in place. This is an important starting point to ensure information about the expectations of your students and teachers is realistic and well documented.
If your school does not already have a transition plan in place, or if you are in the process of reviewing your school's transition plan, a number of tools are available to help you gather and analyse information and identify a strategy for your school. See:
While an individual school transition strategy will benefit students moving from Year 6 to Year 7, cluster strategies developed in collaboration between feeder primary schools and secondary schools will have better impact.
Transition goals are far more likely to be realised when schools commit to forming a cluster and working on the co-construction and implementation of a cluster transition strategy.
For tools and resources to assist schools to develop cluster transition strategies see:
Planning and Preparation