Growing pains needs support
Primary to secondary transition not always smooth
IT IS easy to understand why some students get lost in transition between primary and secondary school.
It’s a big leap from being in a class of 30 with one teacher to being in a group of 200 students with several teachers.
Not only is there a change of school locations, uniforms and even friendship groups but it is also a time of heading into adolescence.
Although there is an expectation the transition will be smooth, we know from looking at NAPLAN data, something is occurring during that crossover period.
Results show that there is a consistent dip for most students between Year 5 and 7.
While it isn’t entirely clear why learning seems to stall, there are some possible reasons. In NSW, the Year 7 NAPLAN data seems to be more reflective of the learning from the previous 18 months in primary than the actual five months of learning in secondary school.
One of the obvious challenges is that most often secondary and primary schools do not provide feedback to each other about students and their learning.
There is a kind of black hole in which valuable information about where each student is in their learning, what their special interests are and where support is needed is lost in the ether.
This is why many edu- cation systems are now looking at Preschool to Year 12 learning communities in an effort to ensure learning not only remains seamless but that students, teachers, and parents are able to develop long-term relationships across several years.
While there are primary and secondary schools who work together, parents can play a valuable part in helping to bridge the gap.
Continue talking to your child about their learning, expectations and practical aspects of secondary school.
Most importantly, build a good working relationship with the principal and teachers so together you can support your child to achieve.