A successful transition from primary to secondary school involves a student being able to move as seamlessly as possible to their new setting. 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 after students commence Year 7:

  • students are consistently less engaged in their schooling
  • 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

Schools are encouraged to develop a transition plan to support the process of transitioning students from Year 6 to 7. This plan can be in the form of an individual transition plan, or developed as a cluster transition strategy, in collaboration between feeder primary schools and secondary schools. Transitions plans can be 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 plan for your school.

While an individual school transition plan 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-development and implementation of a cluster transition plan.

For tools and resources to assist schools to develop cluster transition plans refer to the planning and preparation section of this guidance.

Overview to the Guidance on successful transitions — Year 6 to 7, including why a smooth transition is important and considerations for developing a school transition plan

Reviewed 27 May 2020

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