Making the change from primary to high school is a daunting task for Year 6 students.
The way a student starts high school can have lasting impacts on their educational outcomes and set the tone for the rest of their education life.
It’s important that parents and teachers help children do their best in Term 4 to make sure kids stay on the right track heading into Year 7.
Tell Them from Me is a NSW Government-run program which uses surveys for measuring student engagement and wellbeing.
A report on the role of student engagement in the transition from primary school to secondary school looked at survey results from 2015 primary school students and 2016 secondary students.
The report found that a child’s transition from Year 6 to Year 7 is ‘significantly influenced by their sense of belonging, relationships, and learning support in school and at home’.
Importantly, the report also found that there is a decline in student engagement during the transition, including a drop in student effort, the value of schooling outcome and in the sense of belonging at school.
There are plenty of things you can do with your child in Term 4 to get them the best possible start for Year 7. Here is a list of five ideas to get you started.
- Go to the high school.
Attending orientation events and visiting the school with your child can help get them excited about the future. If they will be taking public transport or walking to school, practice travelling so they’re familiar with their route.
- Prepare early.
Talk to your kids about the subjects they will study. Be involved and enthusiastic about their learning. Try to familiarise your child with the high school routine and explain how it will be different from primary school.
- Find a buddy.
Whether it’s one of their older siblings or a family friend, set your child up with a ‘buddy’ who can help them out at school and check in on them. Knowing they have help there will make the transition easier.
- Get involved
Start a routine of being involved in what your child is learning at school. The Tell Them from Me study found that support for learning at school and at home are both associated with a positive sense of belonging in Year 7. Ask questions, read with them and do your best to help them with their homework.
- Talk to your child.
It’s important with any big change to talk to your child and find out how they are feeling. The transition from primary school to high school can be an anxious one. Consistently talking to them and reassuring them they have support if they need it. If you feel like your child is trying to hide their discomfort or concerns, talk to the school and ask teachers how they are doing.