School operations

Transition — Year 6 to 7

Planning and preparation for transition

The Year 6 to 7 transitions framework

The following diagram outlines the key stages and actions for planning and preparing for Year 6 to 7 transitions.

Year 6 to 7 transitions framework

Year 6-7 transitions framework
Year 6 to 7 transitions framework


Before transfer to Secondary School

Primary and Secondary schools

  • Planning and preparing for transition
  • Work with Parents/carers/students as partners in transition
  • Use Teaching frameworks to support transition
  • Create cluster transition strategy
  • Transition activities Year 5 and 6

Primary Schools

  • Send student data transfer

Primary and Secondary Schools

  • Create cluster transition strategy
  • Transition activities Year 5 and 6

Primary Schools

  • Import student data transfer
  • Identify plan for vulnerable students

Point of transfer to Secondary School

Secondary schools

  • Orientation activities Years 7 and 8
  • Parents/Carers/students or partners in transition
  • Teaching frameworks to support transition
  • START – Student resilience
Download Year 6 to 7 transitions framework

Planning and preparation for transition

One of the most important factors in successful transition is the relationship between primary and secondary schools.

A strong relationship between a secondary school and its feeder primary schools can facilitate smooth transitions. A partnering or cluster approach can also help address any professional barriers between primary and secondary schools that may impact on the continuity of learning and the achievement of students.

The Toolkit for Transition Clusters: Primary to SecondaryExternal Link has been developed to assist schools to develop cluster approaches, and includes information on:

  • identifying current transition processes, the cluster group and personnel to attend cluster meetings
  • holding regular cluster meetings
  • creating a cluster collaboration strategy
  • documenting a cluster transition plan

The steps below provide an overview of the processes involved in establishing a transition cluster group.

Step 1: identify current process at your school

Before meeting with your cluster group, it is essential to gather information about your students and teachers. Questions to consider include:

  • Are there any areas where students have a performance dip?
  • What are the gaps in student learning and how to address these? How many students are likely to face transition difficulties?
  • What are your teachers’ opinions about the quality of your current transition arrangements?
  • What are your teachers’ experiences of transitions? Are they new to the school and therefore may not understand their role in transition?
  • Do your teachers know what best practice is?

Use Tools 1 to 6 of the Toolkit to help gather and analyse this information and identify appropriate strategies.

Step 2: identify cluster group

Usually clusters consist of one secondary school and between 4 to 8 primary schools.

To become an effective cluster, teams must become productive working groups that are built on trusting relationships. Members need to meet regularly and be engaged in cluster processes. So school proximity and membership size are factors that need to be considered.

Natural cluster groupings

In some locations it is obvious which schools should form the transition cluster as there is only one secondary school to transition to. A natural grouping is one where the majority of a primary school’s exits are enrolled in a neighbouring secondary school where these exits provide the school with a ‘significant proportion’ of its new enrolments.

Complex cluster groupings

In some areas, cluster composition may not be easy to determine as destination patterns reveal that students are exiting to a wide range of secondary schools and that enrolments are derived from small intakes of students from many primary schools. In such situations the perspective of the secondary school generally takes precedence.

Step 3: identify personnel to attend cluster meetings


In the initial stages school leadership is heavily involved in determining the strategies to be included in the Cluster Transition Strategy.

Principal participation is important as transition commitments need to be negotiated to achieve cluster-wide agreement about what needs to be done to overcome transition discontinuities.

As cluster strategies become accepted practice, leadership participation need not be as intense.

Teachers and administration staff

Schools generally nominate a staff member to be the Transition Coordinator. Their involvement is essential but not sufficient on its own.

Equally important is the participation of Year 6 and 7 teachers as they will be responsible for implementing many of the transition strategies. Release time should also be provided so Year 6 and 7 teachers are able to attend meetings and engage in discussions about transition concerns and how to address them.

The Business Manager and/or Education Support staff will work directly with the Transition Coordinator to ensure CASES21 is updated and assist with any other administrative requirements.

Step 4: hold regular cluster meetings

Monthly meetings are generally needed to progress the development of a cluster transition strategy.

Some questions that the cluster schools are advised to investigate:

  • How are students fairing as they move from primary to secondary school?
  • What are Year 6 and 7 teachers’ opinions about transition processes?
  • What transition strategies are provided for teachers, students and parents?
  • What needs to be done to improve transition outcomes?

Step 5: create a cluster collaboration strategy

Many strategies that are a component of an individual school’s transition strategy plan will also be relevant for a Cluster Transition Strategic Plan.

Discussions of the implications of schools’ student data and the findings from the teacher opinion survey, school practice audit and gap analysis survey will have surfaced many ideas and proposals for improving cluster transition arrangements.

These transition priorities emerging from the data need to be collated, discussed and tested for their likely benefits and implementation issues. Once strategies have been identified as meeting an important transition they need to be marshalled into a Cluster Strategic Plan.

Questions to ask in order to ensure the strategy becomes actionable include:

  • What priority is the strategy addressing?
  • Will it have a strong impact?
  • Is it practical — can it be implemented?
  • Do its benefits outweigh implementation difficulties?
  • What is the expected timeline for implementation?
  • How will it be implemented?
  • Who will be responsible for implementation?
  • What resources will be needed?
  • How will the strategy be evaluated?

Use Tools 7 and 8 of the Toolkit for Transition Clusters: Primary to SecondaryExternal Link to help with establishing priorities.

Step 6: document cluster transition plan

The Cluster strategy is an overarching document that includes strategies that all cluster schools have agreed to implement. Individual school transition strategies will include all those actions from the cluster strategy that the school has committed to implementing and actions that are a part of the school’s response to local transition circumstances.

Tool 9 of the Toolkit provides a framework for documenting transitions plans.

Once sign off has been received from the leader of all schools involved, schools can develop their transition and orientation activities. See the section on transition and orientation activities for further information.

Guidance chapter explaining the Year 6 to 7 transitions framework and the process for planning and preparing for a successful transition process

Reviewed 07 June 2024

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