Ensuring a Smooth Transition into High School

MLC School traditions

Credit: MLC School

Transitioning from primary school into high school can be a big change. NSW Centre for Education Statistics & Evaluation reports a decline in students’ effort in learning, valuing of school outcomes and their sense of belonging at school during this time.

Ensuring your child’s smooth transition into high school can have ongoing implications for their emotional and academic development.

How can I assist with the transition into high school?

1. Attend school orientations with your child

Many schools offer orientation days or transition programs for your child.

Attending these with your child will help alleviate uncertainty and anxiety by familiarising them with the school’s environment and culture.

Entering Year 7 doesn’t need to be stressful! Meriden offers a Preview Day, providing Year 6 students an opportunity to spend a day on campus, making friends, becoming familiar with the location of key buildings, and experiencing taster lessons in specialist classrooms. You can smooth the transition to high school by encouraging your child to be more independent even in small ways.

Christine Kenny, Head of Teaching and Learning, Meriden

These programs often provide further information and opportunities to ask ‘silly’ questions.

"orientation. year 7. transition to high school. primary school to high school students.
Credit: Roseville College

Many orientation programs available to your child are also designed to encourage independence and resilience and have them meet new students.

2. Pre-plan transport and navigation

Your child may need to travel to a different area or greater distance depending on the location of your chosen secondary school. Organising a transport plan for your child will help with the transition.

Sit down with your child and go through potential bus, train or coach routes. If you are dropping them off to school consider visiting drop-off and pick-up points at the school.

If the school they wish to attend is far away or your working load is heavy during the week, you may consider boarding facilities.

Your Year 7 will also have a ‘timetable’ which is new to them. You may wish to ask about the classroom numbering systems during orientation or find the classrooms during visits. If the school does not offer any form of orientation, consider requesting or obtaining a school map for your child.

timetable. school timetable. transition into high school. year 7 timetable
Credit: John Monash Science School

3. Build relationships with the school and teachers

Students transition from having one teacher to many different teachers in high school. It may be challenging for them to build relationships.

Studies show support from teachers can minimise the declines in student engagement during this transitionary period.

Beginning Year 7 is a time of both excitement and apprehension. At St Leonard’s College, our approach is grounded in establishing the strong relationships that support students and families to confidently navigate this transition. With this support, students soon become accustomed to the routines and rhythms of life as a secondary student, relishing the broad array of subjects and their new learning environment.

Kate Esler, Head of Year 7, St Leonard’s College

You may consider connecting with your child’s teachers. Sharing insights about your child may assist their teacher’s understanding and cater for their needs. Alternatively their teacher may provide advice for your child’s transition and learning.

4. Help them stay in touch with old friends

Child psychologist from Sydney Psychology Services, Nidhi Dev, stresses the importance of making an effort to keep long-lasting relationships.

“Especially when making the transition from primary school to high school, it is important to stay in touch rather than having your child start fresh.”

Maintaining friendships from primary school will assist with your child’s sense of belonging during this transitionary period.

5. Communication is key

Speak to your child and make sure they understand they are welcome to ask for help at school.

Students can ask teachers for assistance, older students on the playground about classroom locations or speak to a counsellor or wellbeing officer whenever they need.

Discuss with the school whether they have ‘buddy’ programs or peer support available to Year 7 students.


Once you have chosen a school that suits your family, take advantage of the opportunities available.

  • Utilise any opportunities for orientation or school visits prior to your child’s first day
  • Connect with teachers and discuss your child’s performance and behaviour during the transition
  • Discuss with the school whether they have any ‘buddy’ or peer support programs available

Choosing a school for your child can be difficult, if you wish to receive further information please see Choosing a School NSW 37 or Choosing a School VIC 34.

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