Grow­ing pains needs sup­port

Pri­mary to sec­ondary tran­si­tion not al­ways smooth

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - with greg whit­byy @greg­whitby

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.

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