Vulnerable students

​​​For some students the transition from primary to secondary school can be a time of particular vulnerability, and where there may be additional risk of their disengagement from school. This may include young people who are in out of home care; students and their families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness; and Koorie students.

Identifying students who may require additional transition support

There are a range of factors that may contribute to a child or young person becoming disengaged, or at risk of disengaging from school. For more information on how to identify these factors, see:

Additional transition support for vulnerable students

If your school has students in Year 6 that have already demonstrated significant disengagement from school and you consider at further risk of disengagement through the Year 6-7 transition process, they may be eligible for support through several Department programs:

School Focused Youth Service

The School Focused Youth Service (SFYS) funds community organisations to work with schools to support young people aged 10-18 years who are attending school, but are vulnerable to or showing signs of disengagement from school.

For more information regarding the Service and to contact your local provider, see:

Navigator program

The Navigator program provides wrap-around case management support in eight locations for young people aged 12-17 years who are disengaged from school.

For more information including eligibility criteria and locations of programs, see:


If your school has students who are in out-of-home care, transitioning from Year 6-7 and who you think may require additional supports, you should contact your regional LOOKOUT Centre.

The LOOKOUT Centres are designed to boost the capacity of schools, Child Protection Practitioners and out-of-home care services to improve educational outcomes for children and young people living in out-of-home care.

For further information and to find your local centre, see:

Koorie students

If your school has Koorie students transitioning who you, or the student or their parents/carers, think may require additional support, you should contact your local regional office to discuss this with the Koorie Education Coordinator (KEC).

The KEC may arrange for additional support to be provided by a Regional Koorie Engagement Support Officer (KESO).

To get in touch with your local support officer, see:

Students with a disability

The principles and intentions that guide effective transition planning are shared for all children and young people, including those living with a disability.

What may differ for students with additional or complex needs that arise from disability is the need for transitions to be clearly planned over a longer duration, and for schools to recognise the impact that such changes may have on the student, and also on their parent/guardian/carer(s), siblings, peers and teachers.

When planning transitions for students with disabilities, considerations include:

  • the nature of a student's disability
  • the impact of a disability on a student's access to and participation in the educational setting
  • the extent to which exi​sting transition programs take account of the individual needs of the student, their family and the receiving school.

Best practice programs that help with the transition of primary school students with additional or complex needs arising from disability to secondary school:

  • begin well in advance of the point of transition
  • are person centred and tailored to the individual needs of students
  • are collaborative and involve the student and parent/guardian/carer(s) as vital partners
  • provide the student and parent/guardian/carer(s) with information to make an informed choice about future educational settings/options
  • are adequate​ly resourced
  • are facilitated by a Transition Coordinator who can communicate across all sites to ensure collaboration is effective and that all aspects of the transition planning process are addressed while supporting students and parent/guardian/carer(s).


Additional information and resources to support the transition from primary to secondary school for students with a disability:

Additional resources and case studies