Helping your child settle into secondary school

'My advice to parents of children starting high school would be to relax, it's not as bad as you think it's going to be.'

Kavina's daughter Willow has now completed Year 7 at Braybrook Secondary College, but when she started high school she was very nervous because she didn't know many people..

'She made a good friend really fast and I think that's really helped with the transition,' Kavina says.

'My advice to parents of children starting high school would be to relax, it's not as bad as you think it's going to be.'

'Give them their independence and don't hover over them because they want their own space.'

Alicia's son Elliott also completed Year 7 at Braybrook Secondary College.

Alicia says seeing Elliott off to high school was a lot more daunting than the experience turned out to be.

'I found the school very supportive and very approachable,' Alicia says.

'If parents are worried, I would advise them to talk to the school.'

Before they walk through the gates

A great deal of work has gone into ensuring the transition from primary school goes as smoothly as possible, long before Year 7s walk through the gates on their first day.

Braybrook College Transition Co-ordinator Anthony Ventura says at Braybrook College, this begins with visits to all the schools in the surrounding community to speak to students and parents.

The college hosts a transition day for its four main feeder primary schools. Once students have confirmed enrolment, the college sends transition forms to their primary schools.

These forms include information about individual students such as academic achievement, interests, behaviour and friendships.

For children with additional needs, college teachers might visit a primary school to discuss these further with the child's existing teachers.

The college then allocates children to home-room classrooms.

'It takes two teachers two days to allocate classes and we try as much as possible to place friends together,' Mr Ventura says.

Students attend an Orientation Day before beginning high school and a three-day induction at the start of the school year before attending classes.

The college also has a peer support program, which pairs a Year 11 student with two or three Year 7 students.

Guide and support

Parents Victoria Executive Officer Gail McHardy urges parents to familiarise themselves with their child's timetable and curriculum.

'Ask questions of the school staff, attend the information evenings, invite their new friends over and get to know other families so you and your child have strong supportive networks for the years ahead,' she says.

'It's a time to teach our young people to develop some independence but it's also important for your child to know you're a great support too.'

See our tips for parents to help their children make the move from primary to secondary school a positive experience at Tips for starting primary and secondary school