Year 6 Transition to Senior School

One of the great advantages of A.B. Paterson College offering an education for children from Junior Kindergarten right through to Year 12, is the opportunity this provides for smooth and easy transitions throughout the school. Providing this transition on one campus is another positive – as students move from one part of the school into another, they already have a familiarity with the surrounds. 

There are, of course, still significant transition points during a child’s journey with A.B. Paterson College. Moving from Senior Kindy to Pre-Prep offers an exciting transition into the wonderful facilities offered in The Winton Centre. The move from Pre-Prep into the world of ‘big school’ and the Prep year is another significant event in the life of an A.B. Paterson College student. The move from Year 11 into Year 12 and the responsibilities that come with student leadership of the school is an important one. Another of these important transitions that forms the focus of this article is the transition from the Junior School to the Senior School.

The transition from Year 6 to Year 7 is layered with excellence, care and commitment. It is important as a school to recognise the importance of this approach as students are changing a familiar pattern and habits of their school life. In a survey conducted by HPE Faculty member and Head of Dennis House Mr Peter Brookes, and a Senior School health class of Junior School students, the data showed that familiarity with people and spaces were two of the biggest worries experienced by A.B. Paterson College students as they navigated the transition into the Senior School. 

Based on this data, we introduced some activities and experiences to help students feel more confident in the transition from Year 6 to Year 7. During the second semester of Year 6, students now spend one afternoon a week doing their lessons in the Senior School. This gives them the opportunity to navigate the physical space and buildings of the Senior School to build a familiarity under guidance from College staff. There is a gradual release of responsibility during this plan that allows students to find classrooms with increasing independence and always in a safe and supported structure.

Our Year 6 students also told us of the importance of being familiar with the people who will support them in the Senior School. As part of the transition process students now have the opportunity to meet and spend time with the four Heads of House, who form an integral part of the pastoral support structure in the Senior School. They also have the opportunity to participate in a number of tutor group sessions towards the end of Term 4, so they become acquainted with the habit and routine of how they will start each day in the Senior School.

Transition initiatives such as these, that were based on the feedback from our students, are further supported through the well-established structures that assist our students in transitioning from the Junior School to the Senior School. All Year 6 students participate in transition days that help them to know the Senior School Heads of House better. These transition days are fun, engaging and focused on the skills, knowledge and attitudes that will serve students well in the Senior School. Year 6 staff and the Heads of House also go through a comprehensive sharing of information so that the strengths and achievements of our students are well-known by Senior School staff as they enter this part of the school.

Parents and carers with specific questions about the transition from the Junior School to the Senior School are encouraged to contact College staff for assistance.

Steve Clacher
Deputy Head of Junior School: Pastoral