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Student transition resources make taking the next step easier

Student transition resources make taking the next step easier

Research 3 minute read

The ability of students to manage challenges as they transition to secondary school has been given a boost with a new resource assisting teachers, parents and carers to empower them.

The ‘Guide to Thrive’ website, with free digital resources for teacher professional development, classroom activities and support for parents and carers at home, is now live and available to those supporting years 6 and 7 students.

The resources aim to help students develop confidence, independence and agency in meeting challenges associated with school transition, and respond to change and uncertainty in healthy ways.

The views of hundreds of students informed the project, which was developed by Life Ed utilising research from the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER).

How students shared what they needed

ACER researchers conducted a review of relevant literature and current transition programs, and followed up with 82 school forums, interviewing 444 students from years 6, 7 and 8 in 15 schools across four states.

In drawing and labelling emojis to describe their feelings about transition into secondary school in one forum exercise, 31% depicted joy, 25% depicted fear and 13% depicted uncertainty, with contentment and sadness also featuring.

One student summed up concerns by saying ‘I feel nervous because I know nothing about high school and I don’t have any elder siblings to tell me about high school.’

The forums identified that the most common thoughts around transition involved academic expectations, managing secondary school systems (such as larger schools and managing timetables) and the social environment (including making new friends).

Of particular relevance to the development of the Guide to Thrive resource was the response of young people to a question asking them to identify their most pressing challenge and ways to ease that challenge, at the school and classroom levels.

Many students expressed difficulties in dealing with uncertainty, but a strong desire to manage and solve problems themselves.

Get to know the website features

For teachers, features of the new website include:

  • modules on specific focus areas – for each term
  • material aligned to the Australian Curriculum
  • strengths-based lessons and activities
  • adaptable resources offered in different downloadable formats
  • content for parents and carers for a unified approach,
  • professional development mapped to Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) standards.

Activities and a podcast explainer

One example of how Guide to Thrive brings teachers, students, parents and carers together in a partnership to support transition is an activity to remove first-day concerns about getting to a new location.

A classroom activity for teachers and students involves using the Google maps app or website, with students given the opportunity to explore routes to and from their school, and familiarise themselves with transport options and a new neighbourhood.

Parents and carers are encouraged to discuss safe routes with students, agree on what to do if plans change and potentially walk, ride, drive or take public transport together to increase confidence.

A Teacher Magazine podcast answering questions on Guide to Thrive, its usability and benefits, is now available to listeners. The podcast includes Life Ed Program Development Coordinator Murray Baker, who knows the issues of transition well, having only just retired from primary school teaching in January, after 16 years.


View the resources:

Visit the Guide to Thrive website

Read the report:

What Australian students say about transition to secondary school

Listen to the podcast here 

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