Moving on up: VicSRC Transitions Report

Making the shift from primary to secondary school can take a bit of getting used to. We see plenty of great articles with tips and advice at this time of year, but often student voices are hard to hear in the din. How to get around this? Go straight to the source.

VicSRC Transitions Report

In 2015 we worked with the Department of Education and Training to produce the VicSRC Transitions Report. We consulted with 155 Grade 6 and Year 7 students who shared their first-hand experiences and their ideas for making the shift to secondary school an easier one.

"Be excited and think positive."
(Year 6 student)

"Surround yourself with good people."
(Year 6 student)

"Of course it's going to be harder – if it doesn't get harder how are we going to learn?"
(Year 6 student)

"You are thrown into a new environment where you have to suddenly make new friends, meet new people and do things that you've never done before. Of course this is difficult, especially if you have entered a school without any of your old friends (e.g. myself). It is a scary thing because of the unknown."
(Year 7 student)

"Have more than 2 people from a primary school per class."
(Year 7 participant)

The report drew on the ideas and experiences of these students to address two key questions:

  1. What are the key challenges faced by students in the transition from primary school to secondary school?
  2. How can schools better support students to make smooth transitions from primary school to secondary school?

The students were full of insight as to what the transition experience is actually like in real life. From their responses, we developed six key recommendations for schools:

Recommendation #1 Ensure students have access to strong support networks before,
during and after transition. These networks may include peers, family and teachers.

Recommendation #2 Align students’ workloads so that the increase in academic
expectations post-transition is manageable.

Recommendation #3 Provide formal and informal opportunities that foster collegiality and
friendship among students.

Recommendation #4 Reduce the “unknown” for students prior to transition wherever
possible.

Recommendation #5 Provide clear avenues for students to access information about their
new school.

Recommendation #6 Employ effective strategies to address bullying. 

Take a look at the Department of Education and Training's Transitions pages (we recommend the student-created videos!), and check out the full VicSRC Transitions Report for the the findings and great implementation ideas for each recommendation.

Thank you to all the students who shared their experiences with us!

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