Get into a high school frame of mind

Students at a transition to High school workshop at St Luke's Catholic Primary Revesby.

Jake Angelis, Sarah Nicholas, Anna Gazzera, and Beau Bozinovski at a transition to High school workshop at St Luke’s Catholic Primary Revesby in 2015. Photo: Kitty Beale

Students about to start high school worry most about too much homework, making new friends, being lost and late for class, a survey of more than 1600 students in Years 6 and 7 at Sydney Catholic schools found.

The research was completed in 2012 by Sparks Education founder and transition specialist Jenny Atkinson, a former primary school teacher whose two-hour Get set for high school workshops have been completed by Year 6 students at St Luke’s Catholic Primary Revesby, St Christopher’s Catholic Primary Panania and others.

Ten of the 29 survey questions were open-ended, allowing students to explain what they thought about navigating a new and bigger school.

“The main concern Year 7 students had was coping with the amount of homework they were given,” Ms Atkinson said. “One third were struggling with the type of homework they were doing but two thirds were struggling with the amount at the end of Term 1.

“The Year 6’s were worried about getting lost, how to read a timetable and those types of things.”

Among the advice Ms Atkinson gives students is to do boring or unpleasant homework tasks first to get them out of the way – described as ‘Eating the frog’ – and ask for help when needed. She said there was more focus on students moving into Kindergarten than from Year 6 to Year 7.

“There is this expectation that because school is already very familiar to them it’s not that much of a jump,” she said. “It is actually a major jump. It’s a very different system and they’re expected to be far more independent.”

Related content:

Subject selection: How to choose?

Preschool to post school: Navigating the transition

Preschool to post school: Key milestones

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