High School in Year Seven
The holidays are almost over and the start of a new school year will be upon us in days. But this year is different. In what the government is calling “the biggest change to education in 50 years”, high school will now start in year seven.
It’s a change that’s been a long time in the making, starting with the introduction of a Prep year in 2007. It will also bring Queensland into line with every other state, except South Australia. The government and many education experts say starting secondary school in year seven will have major benefits for students. These include access to specialist teachers and facilities like science labs and extra independence for kids who are in their eighth year of schooling.
But change raises questions and families can understandably be anxious about sending their year sevens – a few as young as eleven – to high school. Some have questioned whether year sevens are emotionally ready for secondary education.
Cost is another factor. The outlays associated are higher than with primary education, especially if kids are going to private schools. And some families are facing a double whammy – sending two children off to high school in the same year.
Here’s some information that might come in handy if your Brisbane Kid is starting high school.
How to help your kids adjust to early highschool
* Get involved by going to orientation events, meeting teachers, understanding what’s going on at the school.
* Go on a reconnaissance mission before semester starts. This could involve walking around the school grounds, checking out the best entrance or confirming bus and train times.
* Encourage your child to link up with other kids who are also starting high school. If they don’t know anyone, see if the school runs a buddy program. Anxiety around fitting in with peers is common at this age. Try to keep communicating and watch for signs of stress.
* Put systems in place to manage the logistics. Bags, lunch gear, timetables, books and computers should all have a home.
* Be positive about the change!
The parenting website Raising Children has a comprehensive article on starting high school.
The Schoolkids Bonus for children in secondary school is almost double that for those in primary school. You can find information on rates and eligibility at the Department of Human Services website.
Parents will need to update the education details for their children if they’re: starting primary school, moving from primary to secondary school or finishing school. This can be done through your online Centrelink account. The Centrelink families phone number is 136 150.
Over the past three years 20 schools have piloted year seven moving into high school. The government’s flying start website says pilot institutions have identified four main points that schools should keep in mind. Hopefully your school is on top of this!
* Focus on transition – events like parent information sessions, orientation days, teacher swaps and workshops should be held regularly over a period of months.
* Understand the adolescent learner – pastoral care and the creation of leadership programs are important.
* Seek regular feedback – from students, families and staff.
* Invest in people – pilot schools found having a mix of current, graduate and primary school teachers worked best.
How do you feel about this landmark change? Excited, or daunted? What do teachers think?