The transition from primary to secondary school for students and their families can be daunting.
For many students, the first year of high school is a time of great change. Year 7 brings new routine, teachers, friendships and responsibilities. For every student, a new state in their schooling is an opportunity to develop a sense of competence and self-worth. At Busselton Senior High School, making this transition smooth is not about removing the obstacle itself, but instead giving our students the skills to manage the change.
Our transition program has been designed to provide support and direction for our Year 7 students during this time of change, ensuring they build a solid foundation for their secondary schooling.
We hold a parent night early in the year for our local parents to learn what our school has to offer. This is a great opportunity to ask questions and become familiar with Busselton SHS. Enrolment packs are available on the evening and include a vast amount of information, including scholarship applications for our academic, music and Indigenous scholarships.
Students are invited to attend our school for a half day program during Term 2. Here they will experience some of the subjects at high school that are not usually available to them in primary school, such as Design and Technology and Home Economics. They also get to sample the wares from our canteen. This transition visit gets students really excited about coming to high school.
In Term 3, we go out to all local primary schools to speak with the Year 6 students about what high school is like and what our school, in particular, has to offer. Former Busselton SHS Year 7 students accompany our visits to answer any questions from the Year 6 students about how they have found the high school experience. We have found that the Year 6 students really value hearing from their peers about the reality of high school.
The Associate Principal in charge of Year 7 and 8 students works closely with the primary schools to gather relevant information about each student’s needs. We look at their NAPLAN results, Year 6 Semester 1 report results, and the attendance and behaviour information from their teachers. This begins in Term 3. The Associate Principal also meets with the Year 6 teachers and finds out about any individual education and behaviour plans currently in place, or strategies that work for students that we can use in our school.
Our Associate Principal along with our Learning Support Coordinator meet with parents and students with special educational needs to discusses support available at our school and also tries to find out a bit more about the student’s needs to make sure that their transition is a smooth one.
Extra transition visits are available for students with special educational needs are also available. Students can come to our school with their Education Assistant and see how the school operates on a normal day. It is less confronting for them, as they are either visiting on their own or with two or three other students, rather than with their whole class.
The enrolment process begins at the start of Term 3. The process involves the completion of our enrolment package and also requires the provision of important documents to complete the enrolment. Enrolment papers need to be completed and handed in as soon as possible.
The information gathered from enrolments is used to plan our staffing for the following year and begin building success for our Year 7 cohort.
Year 6 students have the opportunity to attend a full day orientation at our school during Term 4. The students attend Busselton SHS and go to classes as if they have already begun high school. They move around the school to the different classrooms and learning areas. They complete lessons with teachers and have breaks in the Year 7 quadrangle. This provides students the opportunity to experience what it will be like being in lessons with students from other schools, and also offers a setting for friendships to begin to form.