Parent Update, Week 3, Term 3 – 2021

Feeling comfortable in high school. Starting at a new school is a big step for any student. Many of our current year 6 and 7s will be starting high school in a new school next year, with new adjustments like moving between classrooms for some subjects.

We know from our pilot program that our year 7 students are well and truly ready for high school. The pilot has involved three public high schools that started welcoming year 7s in 2019, providing early insights on the move for the rest of the state. Many of the families we spoke to at the start of the pilot initially wondered how their children would find their
way around high school. They also wanted to know how their children would fit in with older teenagers and what the workload expectations would be.

By the end of Term 1, 90% of parents said their child’s year 7 experience met or exceeded their expectations overall and these factors were no longer concerns. Navigating high school settings.
High school campuses are generally larger than primary schools, with higher volumes of students. An initial concern for many students in our pilot program was that they might get lost in high school, but in reality, they quickly found their way around.

Your child’s wellbeing is just as important in high school as it is in primary school. Our high schools help all new students to adjust to routines, find their classrooms, get organised and read timetables.

“In our diary we’ve got a map of the school, so we know where we’re going and, if we ever get lost, there’s always people to help you.”
– pilot program student.

Fitting in with older teenagers
Some families of students involved in the year 7 pilot were initially concerned their children might find interactions with older teenagers challenging. Our schools are very aware that
most 7s will be 11 or 12 years old when they start high school. This is also the case in all other states and school sectors across Australia which already have year 7 in high school.
Frameworks already exist to manage interactions between students of different ages in our Birth to 12, Reception to 12, Area schools and primary schools. For example, many have peer mentoring programs or different lunch and recess areas for different age groups. Our pilot schools initially established dedicated spaces just for year 7s and 8s, but quickly found
they were no longer needed after a few weeks. Ask your school what they will offer to support younger students on site.

“I really did think they (older children) were scary but, after a while, they’re literally just like everyone else.”
– pilot program student.
“We have a spot where it’s only year 7s and 8s that can go into so that is kind of good”
– pilot program student

Workload expectations
All South Australian school students learn the Australian Curriculum. This will not change under the year 7 to high school move. Students will be supported to adjust to new routines and different academic demands through support systems provided by their school. Teachers will also help your child to adjust to high school expectations and build confidence in their learning.

“She is pushed and challenged to be her best in all areas.”
– pilot program parent.
“My daughter no longer complains about being bored at school; she is happy to go to school.”
– pilot project parent.

Don’t just take our word for it: A new video titled ‘There’s a lot to look forward to in 2022’ is available on the Department for Education website at www.education.sa.gov.au/7toHS.
It features, students, teachers and principals from high schools that have already welcomed year 7s talking about their experiences. Find it on the year 7 to high school section of the site, under the heading ‘Benefits for your child’.

Here is the link to go straight to the video ;t=5s