Program helps students with the transition to high school

Aldridge State High School students

Throughout the school year, Aldridge State High School opens its gates to final year primary students from nearby state schools, to help them prepare to move to high school.

The move from primary school to high school is a big step in most children’s lives and it’s common for both students and parents to have a few nerves. For Aldridge State High School, the key to a successful high school transition is hosting regular orientation and transition events throughout the year, so that incoming students can confidently navigate the school, while having the opportunity to meet their prospective classmates and teachers.

Having taught at both primary and secondary school, program coordinator Therese Dixon understands that the move to high school can bring up mixed emotions for transitioning students.

“Once a week, a group of up to 25 students drawn from four of our local primary schools join a number of Aldridge State High School’s Year 8 students for extension lessons in either, art, science, mathematics, creative writing, instrumental music, or volleyball, as part of the Transition with a Purpose extension program.

“This year, as we’re welcoming both Year 7 and Year 8 students to Aldridge State High School in 2015, we’ve also invited Year 6 students to participate in the transition program.

“Earlier this year, we were excited to again partner with the University of the Sunshine Coast, to host a creative writing program. Dr Maria Arena from the University’s Creative Writing Department facilitated these classes together with our English teachers. In Term 4, we’ll change things up and work on an instrumental music program for the transitioning students.”

Since the transition program started in 2010, Therese says the team has noticed that both students’ and parents’ confidence about high school life has increased.

“We’ve noticed that students appear more confident and comfortable in their surroundings much sooner, and think that this has had a positive influence on their behaviour once they start attending high school.

“For instance, we’ve noticed a marked increase in the number of Year 8 students who’ve earned merit awards, given for achieving an A or B for behaviour and effort across their classes. We’ve found that receiving a merit award is also an indicator for academic success further down the track,” Therese said.

Interestingly, parental attitudes towards the program have also changed over time.

“During the first few years of running Transition with a Purpose, our team fielded questions from parents concerned with how their child would work with older students, find their way around the school and be safe in the playground.

“Now, largely due to word-of-mouth between parents, we’ve noticed there are fewer questions and parents appear much more comfortable about the prospect of their children joining high school classes while they’re still in primary school.”