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Northern Melbourne schools smooth the transition to high school

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The first years of high school are tough and if a student fails to integrate it spells trouble for their school career and may even lead to complete disengagement.

To help identify what works to help children make the transition, representatives from 13 schools across Melbourne’s northern suburbs met at the launch of the Joining the Dots Transition Network in Fawkner.

The network is the brainchild of the Inner Northern Local Learning and Employment Network and a steering group of educational experts, agencies, local council representatives and school staff, based on more than seven years of research through the Inner Northern LLEN’s Joining the Dots project.

“Teachers said it was terrific to be able to share what they were doing, discuss solutions to improve transitions and to enhance student welfare in the vital early years of secondary school,” Inner Northern LLEN executive officer David Kennedy said.

The meeting was addressed by Thomas Osborn, grade 5/6 teacher at Preston North East Primary School, who spoke to the group about activities to assist primary school pupils in getting ready for moving to secondary school. Darryl Forbes, Reservoir High School junior school and transition leader, then shared with the group his school’s transition program, which helps Year 7 students find their feet in the first few weeks of the new school year.

“The research shows that if students aren’t supported to transition smoothly from year to year they are at a higher risk of failing to settle into the new school year, disengaging from school entirely, and perhaps even leaving school early – permanently impacting students’ lives,” Kennedy said.

“We expect the network will grow. Effective transition programs are recognised as vital to educational outcomes and we are fielding membership from schools and agencies in the region who want to be a part of delivering better outcomes as students move from school to school and even from year level to year level.”

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