Primary to High School Transition Program
In April notices are sent home regarding choices for Secondary School for year 6 students.
Secondary Schools visit Thomastown West to promote their programs. Secondary Schools offer information nights to provide information to parents regarding year 7.
Some Secondary Schools require students to sit entrance examinations and or interviews before May.
It is important that you submit your Secondary School selection form as early as possible in Term 2.
Please feel free to talk to us about your Secondary School choices. It is encouraged that you make a time for a tour of a couple of Secondary Schools.
Parents will be notified early in term 4 about their Secondary School choice. There is a state wide transition day for year 6 students to visit their Secondary School early in December
Click on the name to see a local Secondary School website.
Thomastown Secondary College (Next door)
TIPS for PARENTS and CARERS
These Parent Tip Sheets were developed by the Hume Whittlesea LLEN and is a summary of Welcome to Secondary School – A Parent’s Guide to Victorian Government Secondary Schools developed by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.
Parent Tip Sheet 1. Preparing for Secondary School
When choosing a secondary school:
Visit the Find a School website at www.education.vic.gov.au/findaservice or www.myschool.edu.au
Visit school websites
Attend parent information sessions and open days
If you miss the open day, call to make an appointment for a tour
Think about how your child will travel to and from school
Find out what facilities and resources the school offers– are you comfortable with the ‘feel’ of the school?
Find out what the subject choices are.
Are there specialty programs to meet your child’s needs, interests or talents?
Ask if the school offers Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) in the senior years?
Find out what help is available if your child requires English as a Second Language support
Find out what additional support is available at the school – for example for students with a disability
Read the school’s latest annual report and newsletters
Understand school policies on homework, discipline and uniforms
Ask about how you can get involved.Parent Tip Sheet 2. Transition from Primary to Secondary School
While moving from primary to secondary school can be an exciting time for young people and their parents, it can also be a bit daunting.
The more informed and involved you are in your child’s preparation, the more likely the transition will be positive.
From day one your child will experience many changes, each of which brings questions and new things to do:
- More subjects
- More homework
- More challenging school work
- The responsibility to get to classes in different rooms on time
- The need to manage themselves, their learning and equipment
- Using lockers and carrying books between classes
- Adapting to different teaching styles
- Having no ‘home’ classroom although many schools have a base for Year 7 students.
With the help of family and school staff, students usually adapt quickly to their new environment.
Most secondary schools work with primary schools to make transition easier.
A school’s transition program may include:
- Secondary students visiting their former primary school to talk about their experiences
- A buddy system where students new to the school are paired up with older students already at the school. These older students can answer questions and help the new students adjust to secondary school life
- Secondary school teachers visiting primary schools to talk about what to expect at secondary school
- Year 6 visits to secondary school.
A resource for Parents and Students
In Transit from Primary to Secondary School DVD is a resource developed to assist parents and students in making a smooth transition from Year 6 to 7.
A copy of the In Transit DVD can be obtained from your local primary or secondary school with subtitles in Arabic and Turkish.
Some students fear they will lose many of their old friends when they start secondary school. Encourage your child to keep in touch with their primary school friends.
Parent Tip Sheet 3. Life at Secondary School
How to help your child start PRIMARY or SECONDARY school
- Be interested and enthusiastic
- Attend parent information sessions
- Ensure travel arrangements to and from school are organised
- Organise your child’s uniform well before the first day of school
- Learn about school routines and timetables
- Practise organisational skills with your child
- Keep the lines of communication open with your child
- Have a back-up plan in case your child misses their transport
- Discuss emergency and safety issues with your child
- Put your child’s name on all personal items, such as clothes, calculators and books.
Key Contacts at Secondary School
- In secondary school students may have several teachers, and may be concerned their needs and interests could get lost in the crowd.
- It is important to let your child know there are always people who can help. It’s OK for you and your child to ask questions or express concerns.
- Your child will have a Year 7 coordinator and a home-room teacher who will take the roll (checks attendance) and distribute school notices and newsletters. They are often the key point of contact for any concerns or issues.
- If your child is Koorie, you can obtain support via a Koorie Engagement Support Officer through the school’s regional officer .
Time management tips
Encourage your child to:
- Use a school diary
- Create a ‘to do’ list
- Draw up a simple home timetable using a calendar to plan activities, study requirements, deadlines for assignments, etc.
- List exam dates and other commitments
- List due dates for essays and work backwards to set mini-deadlines for each stage
- Set an order of priority against each task to help achieve goals to avoid being overwhelmed by what has to be done and then rushing at the end.
Help your child create a quiet and comfortable place in your home for regular homework and study, away from TV noise and other distractions.
During the summer holidays encourage your child to have a practice run using public transport to get to and from school.
Parent Tip Sheet 4. Student Engagement
In Victoria education is compulsory for children aged between six and 17 years. It is expected that they will attend school every day of each term.
If your child is absent because they are sick or have an appointment, the school needs to know when they will be away and why they will be absent. Your child can deliver a note to let the school office, year-level coordinator or home-room teacher know in advance or, where appropriate, upon return to school.
If your child is going to be absent from school for a number of days you should discuss the possibility of getting some class work from your child’s teachers so that no learning is missed.
Contact the school if you have concerns about your child’s attendance. Ask the school how it informs parents if their child is absent. Many schools now telephone parents or send them a mobile text message.
Your child’s timetable will list classroom numbers. It helps if your child has attended the school orientation day and already has some understanding of the layout of their new school before they start.
You could also ask at the front office for a school map.
It is a good idea to make a few copies of your child’s timetable to keep on the fridge, in their student diary and in books for each subject.
Get your child to colour-code the subjects on their timetable and cover the books in a matching colour, to avoid confusion.
Parent Tip Sheet 5. Staying Informed and Involved
Research shows that involvement in schools by parents helps children achieve the best possible learning outcomes.
Unlike primary school your child will have many different teachers at secondary school. You can establish good relationships with your child’s teachers by contacting them early in the year as well as attending parent-teacher evenings. Doing this will help you develop an understanding of the work your child will be undertaking throughout the year and provide teachers with insight into the way your child learns best.
Secondary schools encourage parents to contact them, so telephone or make an appointment to visit the school if you wish to discuss any ideas or concerns.
You can participate in your child’s education, both formally and informally, through school councils, parent clubs, volunteering, and staying up-to-date with what is happening by reading the school newsletter.
Raising concerns and parent complaints
If you wish to raise a concern or complaint, speak first with your child’s year-level coordinator or home-room teacher.
Phone them directly or organise a meeting through the school office. The school will take your concerns seriously and work with you to resolve any issues.
Koorie families can ask the school to speak with a Koorie Engagement Support Officer to assist in resolving any of their concerns.
Parent Tip Sheet 6. Homework
The Department, with the assistance of parents, teachers and students, has issued the following homework guidelines.
Years 5–9 homework:
- Should include daily independent reading
- Will range from 30–45 minutes a day at Year 5, to 45–90 minutes a day in Year 9.
Years 10–12 homework:
- From one-to-three hours per week night, with up to six hours on weekends during peak study periods.
Homework is an opportunity for you to participate in your child’s education. Your child will generally have homework set and, as they move into more senior years, the homework and study demands will increase.
If you have any questions about homework or your child’s progress, talk to your child’s school.
You can help your child with homework by:
- Taking an active interest in their homework – discuss homework tasks
- Providing a dedicated place for homework and study if possible
- Ensuring that your child keeps a homework diary
- Reading texts set by teachers and discussing them with your child
- Encouraging your child to balance the time spent between homework and other activities
- Alerting the school to any domestic circumstances or extracurricular activities that may need to be considered when homework is being set or marked
- Interpreting and translating services (free of charge for parents from language backgrounds other than English).
It is important to maintain a balance between study and recreational activities to avoid placing too much pressure on your child.
Parent Tip Sheet 7. Health and Wellbeing
The teenage years
The teenage years represent a transition from childhood to adulthood. With this comes many changes – changes to bodies, emotions, behaviours and attitudes.
Teachers and staff understand these changes and can provide information and support. Friendships developed during secondary school can provide peer support and help children develop social skills and self-esteem.
Making new friends and feeling comfortable are especially important when children start secondary school. It is important to remember, however, that your child’s friendships may change as they develop a sense of themselves and make sense of the world around them. A child’s relationship with their parents and family may similarly change.
Students adapt to adolescent life in different ways. If you feel that your child is having difficulties, it is important to discuss your concerns and ask for help if needed.
Supporting your child’s welfare
Parents have an important role in supporting their children’s progress at school. It is also important to know that there are staff with specific roles to support student wellbeing and student learning available in schools.
Student welfare coordinators
Secondary schools have student welfare coordinators who are responsible for helping students handle issues such as truancy, bullying and family conflict. They work with other welfare professionals and agencies to address student needs.
If you are concerned your child may be having difficulties at school, or they are at risk of disengagement, you should contact the school.
For more information, visit www.education.vic.gov.au/studentsupport/supportinschools
Parent Tip Sheet 8. Bullying
To ensure all Victorian government secondary schools are healthy and safe places to learn, each school takes bullying and cyber bullying very seriously and has policies and guidelines to prevent and manage it.
What is bullying and unacceptable behaviour?
Bullying is when someone, or a group of people, with more power at the time, deliberately upset or hurt another person, damages their property, reputation or social acceptance on more than one occasion.
- Direct physical bullying, such as hitting, kicking, damaging property
- Direct verbal bullying, such as name calling, intimidation, racist/homophobic remarks
- Indirect bullying, such as spreading rumours
- Cyberbullying, which includes the use of digital technologies to bully or harass someone, such as setting up a defamatory website.
Unacceptable behaviour refers to a wide range of behaviours that are not appropriate or acceptable, including harassment, discrimination and threats or acts of violence.
Many antisocial behaviours are not examples of bullying, even though they are unpleasant and often require teacher intervention and management. Some examples of behaviours which are not bullying include:
- A situation where there is mutual conflict, that is, a balance of power where students are both upset and usually want a resolution to the problem
- Social rejection or dislike (unless it is a repeated act and directed towards a specific person)
- Single episodes of nastiness, meanness or one-off acts of aggression or intimidation. Although not bullying, these are unacceptable behaviours.
Schools are required to have a Student Engagement Policy that includes strategies to promote positive student behaviour, build a safe and inclusive environment, prevent bullying and antisocial behaviour, and encourage respect, compassion and cooperation.
Student safety and wellbeing is the responsibility of the whole school community. Teachers and staff have a responsibility to ensure students are safe. All students – whether they are being bullied or targeted, a bystander, or are bullying or harassing others – are able to play a role in preventing or responding to the situation .
How do I know if my child is being bullied or a target of unacceptable behaviour?
Some of the signs that a child is being bullied or is a target of unacceptable behaviour include:
- Being unwilling or refusing to go to school
- Feeling ill in the mornings
- Being frightened to walk to and from school
- Wagging school
- Doing poorly in their school work
- Becoming withdrawn, starting to stammer, lacking confidence
- Crying themselves to sleep, having nightmares
- Asking for money or starting to steal (to pay the bully)
- Refusing to talk about what’s wrong
- Having unexplained bruises, cuts, scratches
- Beginning to bully other children or siblings
- Becoming aggressive and unreasonable
- Reluctance to discuss cyber bullying in case their computer or phone is taken away.
What can I do if my child is being bullied or targeted by unaccepted behavior?
Step 1: Listen carefully to your child and show concern and support.
Step 2: Congratulate your child for confiding in you.
Step 3: Give sensible advice – don’t encourage your child to fight back; this will most likely increase the bullying or unacceptable behaviour.
Step 4: Assist your child to develop positive strategies including:
- Saying ‘leave me alone’ and calmly walking away
- Avoiding situations that might expose them to further bullying or unacceptable behavior
- Making new friends
- Using technologies safely and responsibly.
Step 5: Ask your child the following questions to understand if there is a repeated pattern:
- What, where and when did the incident happen?
- Who was involved on each occasion?
- Did anybody else see it and, if so, who?
- What solutions have been tried so far?
- What are the names of any teachers who may be aware of the problem?
Step 6: Work with your child’s school to solve the problem. Schools take their responsibilities in relation to bullying and unacceptable behaviour very seriously and they have more success when parents work with the school to solve the bullying problem.
If you were not aware that your child was being bullied or the target of unacceptable behaviour, then perhaps your child’s teachers did not know about it either. You should:
- Make an appointment with your child’s teacher and make notes of the points you want to discuss before the meeting.
- At the meeting try to stay calm and present information in a way that makes it clear that you and the school are working as partners in trying to fix this problem.
- Recognise that the school will need time to investigate and to talk to teachers and, perhaps, other students.
Step 7: Work with the school to establish a plan for dealing with the current situation and future incidents of bullying or unacceptable behaviour. Before you leave, ask for clarification about the next steps in the plan.
Step 8: If needed, ask for appropriate specialist staff to become involved.
Step 9: Encourage your child to report any further incidents of bullying or unacceptable behaviour to a teacher they trust at the school.
What can I do to reduce bullying and unacceptable behaviour at school?
- Report all incidents of bullying and unacceptable behaviour to the school, not just incidents that happen to your own child.
- Let your child know how much you disapprove of bullying and unacceptable behaviour and why.
- Respect for others should be modelled and encouraged at home.
- Talk to your child about the qualities associated with caring friendships and discourage them from staying in friendships where they are mistreated or not respected.
Parent Tip Sheet 9. Support for Students with Disabilities
Victorian government schools are committed to ensuring that all students have access to a quality education to meet their individual needs.
To improve educational outcomes for students with disabilities, Victorian government secondary schools:
- Provide parents with a choice of learning environments to best develop their child’s potential
- Support students and their families in making the transition from school to higher education, training and employment
- Involve students and parents in school program planning decisions
- Support students to access programs that allow them to pursue achievable post-school pathways
- Ensure that the expertise of professionals working in mainstream and specialist schools is maintained and developed.
Schools enrolling students with disabilities may also be eligible to receive additional student resources from the Victorian Government.
For more information, visit www.education.vic.gov.au/healthwellbeing/wellbeing/disability/default.htm
For all students, early careers and pathway planning is an important aspect of secondary school. For students with a disability there are some additional things to consider.
For more information for parents about careers and pathways planning for a child with a disability, visit www.education.vic.gov.au/aboutschool/careers/disability.htm
Parent Tip Sheet 10. Support for Koorie Students
Wannik, from the Gunai/Kurnai language, meaning ‘Learning Together – Journey to Our Future’ is the education strategy for Koorie students in Victoria. It is designed to ensure Victoria’s Koorie students reap the benefits of quality schooling.
As Koorie parents this means you will:
- Feel welcomed and respected within your school community
- Feel assured that your child is valued within the classroom
- Have ongoing discussions with your school regarding your child’s education and future aspirations
- Have your child’s aspirations realised and supported by the school community
- Have your cultural heritage acknowledged and celebrated in the school and in the curriculum.
Individual Education Plans for Koorie students
Every Koorie student must have an Individual Education Plan developed between the school, the student and the parent/carer for every year of schooling including Years 11 and 12. The plan sets out academic and life goals for your child. The plan is a partnership agreement between you, your child and the school.
For more information, visit www.education.vic.gov.au/wannik
Parent Tip Sheet 11. Support for Refugee & International Students
Support for refugee students
English language schools and centres provide intensive English as a second language (ESL) tuition for newly arrived students from language backgrounds other than English. Refugee students can attend these schools and centres for up to 12 months.
Funding is also provided to other schools with significant numbers of refugee students.
In addition, every region has a full-time ESL Program Officer to support schools with ESL learners, including those with refugee students.
For more information, visit www.education.vic.gov.au/studentlearning/programs/esl/refugees/default.htm
Also, Foundation House provides direct services to families from refugee backgrounds in the form of counselling, advocacy, family support, group work, psycho-education, information sessions and complementary therapies. For more information, visit www.foundationhouse.org.au or phone (03) 9388 0022.
Support for international students
A dedicated International Student Coordinator (ISC) is provided in every secondary school accredited to accept international students. The welfare of international students is the responsibility of International Student Coordinators and these staff are the first point of contact for all international student queries or issues.
Interpreting & translating services
Schools can provide access to interpreting and translating services, free of charge, for parents from language backgrounds other than English.
Schools may also provide telephone interpreting service for families. This service can be used for:
- emergencies such as accidents, illness and discipline issues
- contacting parents who have difficulty coming to the school during normal hours
- accessing languages where there are limited numbers of accredited interpreters
- confirming appointments
For more information check with your school and/or visit www.education.vic.gov.au/interpreting