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Preparing your child for year 7 in high school

Year 7 students will start high school in 2022. Listed below are ways you can help and support your child when they start at a new school.

If you are transferring to a different school our changing schools webpage has more information. 

Safety and wellbeing in high school 

Your child’s wellbeing is just as important in high school as it is in primary school.

Frameworks already exist in public schools to manage interactions between students of different ages. These already operate in our B-12, R-12, area and primary schools to manage younger children interacting with older students. 

Schools will provide dedicated wellbeing support to help year 7 and 8 students adjust to new routines and different academic demands. The support will vary across schools, so it's best to check with your new high school about how this will work. 

Watch this video to hear from our staff and students in schools that have already welcomed year 7s talking about feeling comfortable in high school.

Feeling comfortable in high school video transcript

Student: The peer leaders from year 10 were really nice, welcoming and understanding of us.

Sharryn Daly: Often it was the parent that is concerned about the safety of their child because they've come from a smallest setting. The child is one of the oldest students in the school, and then suddenly they appear at Clare High School is the youngest and they are just worried. But what you find if you talk to the students is that a lot of those fears are not warranted and that there is a lot of support in the transition program.

Lee Shaw: We found that some of the anxieties that the students were having were actually stemmed from the parents sending their students to high school a little bit early. So we found that by making the parents feel at ease, that would rub off onto the students.

Student: It's not scary. It's just going to a new school is fun. We get to meet new people. You get more friends, I guess.

Lee Shaw: Yeah. It's not as scary as you think it is. So when we first come, we didn't know many people. We were really scared, but after two weeks or like a week or so, you just feel normal.

Student: On my first day, I realised that there's nothing to actually worry about and your teachers are here to help you and they really helped me through the process. It was a really great experience.

[End of transcript].

How families can help their children

We learned a lot from our year 7 pilot program families and students. There are things you can do now to help your child prepare for high school in 2022. Read the tips below to learn more. 

Establish a routine 

High schools have more subjects and teachers, so it is important for your child to get used to a routine, reading a timetable and time-management. 

How you can help:

  • establish a routine to help your child feel organised and build positive habits 
  • help your child become familiar with a timetable by displaying their daily routine somewhere visible. This could include the activities they do outside of school, such as sport or dance. 
  • teach your child about organisation and time-management skills. This will help them balance multiple assignments at once and build positive habits early. 

Teach your child to read a map 

In high school, your child will be responsible for getting to classes in different rooms on time. 

Most high schools are bigger than primary schools. Your child will most likely be given a map of the school showing the different learning areas, so they can find their way around. Of course, teachers will also be on hand to assist them and to answer questions.

How you can help:

  • Spend time teaching your child to read a map to help build their skills, so they can confidently navigate their way around their new school.  

Ensure your child attends transition days

Your child will be invited to attend transition days at their new high school. 

Transition days are important for your child to connect with other students, become familiar with their new school and make friends before they start in 2022.

How you can help:

  • Speak to your child positively about transition days and ensure they attend. Your child is more likely to look forward to starting high school if you are positive about it.
  • Speak to your child’s primary school if you have any concerns. 

Get involved as a parent

We know the families and carers of many year 7 and 8 students want to be a part of their child’s high school community. 

What you can do:

  • Attend information evenings, open nights and other ‘get to know you’ events that your new high school offers. If attending a school site, please ensure that COVID restrictions are adhered to at all times.
  • Ask your new high school about opportunities to volunteer.
  • Consider nominating for the school council or attending school council meetings as an observer.
  • Visit the school’s website and follow them on Facebook if they have a social media page. 
  • Download the communication apps your new school uses, such as DayMap and Skoolbag. Talk to the school if you do cannot access this technology.
  • Ask the school who your best point of contact is if you have questions or concerns about your child’s learning and wellbeing.

Visit the student page 

We have a dedicated information for students page. Read this with your child and talk about some of the things they can do to prepare for high school. 

High school transition

High schools will offer transition and orientation programs to help year 6 and 7 students moving to high school in 2022 feel confident, welcome and ready for the new year. 

Transition programs are organised individually by our schools each year to suit their communities, but they all have an emphasis on forming friendships. 

Most high schools will hold transition visits during term 4. Many will offer other activities such as peer mentor support, family information night and camps. 

Transition activities may be impacted by COVID restrictions. It is important to follow the school’s advice. Some events may be held online. If you attend a school, it is important that COVID requirements are adhered to at all times such as using the COVID-Safe check in each time you enter the site, wearing a face mask and practice physical distancing. 

Your high school will still find ways to connect with your family and make your child feel welcome ahead of the 2022 school year. Contact your local high school for more information.

Watch this video to hear from our staff and students in schools that have already welcomed year 7s talking about settling into high school.

Settling into high school video transcript

Emily Langton: We had a lot of open forum open nights, bring your own device nights. And that was a way of us being able to get parents into the school, but also have really clear communication with them and give them an opportunity to ask whatever questions they felt they needed. Parents were initially really concerned about their younger students, year sevens coming into the high school setting, so to address that we set up separate yard areas. What we found was within the first couple of days that students in year seven had actually branched out and were happy to go all over the school. What we've also seen is that the year twelves, particularly, enjoy looking after and nurturing, I guess, the younger students and making sure they're okay.

Student: I think they've been really good with like providing lots of different clubs and activities like knockout sports, so you can meet people with similar interests.

Lee Shaw: We set up a peer leader program where we have year 10 students come into the care groups and I suppose to help facilitate some of those friendships and conversations where girls might feel a bit uncomfortable to do that themselves. We also have encouraged teachers, in their classrooms, to randomly select groups so that they're working with different people regularly. We also have what we call celebration days, once a term as well. So we've had like a crazy dress day out on the oval, a silent disco, and just little events like that to bring the girls back in and reconnect with other people.

Cara Fiebig: With a double cohort coming to our school, special considerations needed to be made around students with a disability, students with learning needs, and Aboriginal students. We needed to do a separate transition process, or we felt we needed to do a separate transition process, to really cater for those students' needs. That involved an extended transition, where they attended our school for four or more weeks, two lessons a week, where they were able to meet with key staff, be introduced to the different learning areas, meet teachers and other leaders. And they just really had a holistic sort of transition process, including the two taste of high school days in week seven of term four.

[End of transcript].

Support for students with disability

Moving from primary to high school is important for all students, and especially so for students with disability. 

Our key focus remains on setting students with disability up for success.

We have established extra specialised education options (formerly known as ‘special options’) for the move of year 7 to high school in 2022. These are in addition to the schools that already have these spaces. 

These schools were chosen based on where we expect families will need disability support the most.

Two new birth to year 12 schools are also being built in the north and south of Adelaide, which will open in 2022. Each will have capacity for 100 inclusive learning spaces for students with disability.  

The specialised education options process will remain the same. Students will continue to be reviewed in their final primary school year to assess their specialised education option placement for high school.  

If your child is moving to high school as a year 7 in 2022, the review process will take place when your child is in year 6 this year. This means that in 2021, both year 6 and year 7 students will be reviewed and offered places for high school in 2022.

Your primary school is your key source of information about the move to high school in 2022. They will keep you informed with assessment, panel and transition information including transport eligibility criteria where applicable speak to your school in the first instance.

ICT and mobile devices

Purchasing a laptop or ICT device for high school

High school students use devices like laptops and tablets to create content, research topics and engage in online activities.

Schools will communicate with parents about what device students will need to support their learning program and how these can be made available.

Many schools also provide details of lower-cost providers or device options that can be easily supported by the school.

If payment is likely to be an issue, discuss your individual circumstances with your school.

Using a mobile phone in high school

Students can bring mobile phones to school to ensure safety when travelling and so parents and students can contact each other.

Students must follow their school’s rules during the day.

While our primary school students cannot use phones during school hours, high schools have their own individual policies on when students can use them at school, if at all.

Ask your high school for a copy of their local mobile phone policy and read our using mobile phones and personal devices at school page.

School dress code

Uniform requirements for public schools

The department encourages schools to have a school dress code to help create a sense of community and ensure students are appropriately dressed for school activities.

Uniform policies are developed by individual school governing councils for the principal’s approval, in accordance with the department’s school dress code instructions.

Uniform policies should offer a choice of uniform options that are mindful of student diversity and gender expression. Governing councils also need to consider including financial strategies to keep costs low.

Talk to your school about their uniform requirements and potential cost-saving options like second-hand sellers.

Sun hats in high school

Schools must have a sun protection policy. Schools write their own policies, considering the advice that is available from Cancer Council SA. The policies generally encourage students to use sunscreen and broad brimmed hats.

Schools also manage their own policies, including any consequences for students who choose not to follow them. Secondary schools encourage students to take more responsibility for their own sun smart decisions.

Visit the sun protection in schools and preschools page for more information.

Getting to and from school on public transport

Public school students in years 7 and 8 will benefit from new and expanded bus services to cater for the extra students starting high school in 2022.

Timetables will be available later this year.

Student safety is our priority. The school buses will be designated services for students, parents and teachers only and not the general public.

Dedicated school services also operate in a number of South Australia’s regions and towns.

Visit the Adelaide Metro website for more information on catching public transport to and from school.

Out of hours supervision

You are responsible for arranging supervision for your year 7 child.

Out of school hours care (OSHC) options

High schools don’t generally provide OSHC but do offer alternatives such as after school study in the library. Contact your local high school for more information.

Some OSHC providers in primary schools may offer places to year 7 students. Contact your existing OSHC for more information or visit the child care finder on the Department of Education, Skills and Employment’s website to find a service near you.

Child care subsidy

If your child is starting high school in 2022, is aged under 13 and can access an Out of School Hours Care service, you may be eligible for the Australian Government’s Child Care Subsidy.

To check eligibility, visit the Child Care Subsidy eligibility for children attending secondary school page on the Department of Education, Skills and Employment’s website.

This subsidy is managed by Services Australia (formerly Centrelink). You may have to state why your child cannot be left at home unsupervised, and that an adult is unable to provide suitable care.

The subsidy is also available to children with disability or a medical condition. You will need to provide evidence of your child’s disability or medical condition.

To see if the subsidy will be an option for your child, visit Services Australia’s website www.servicesaustralia.gov.au.

Leaving my high school aged child home alone

The Parenting SA home alone - parent easy guide provides advice on leaving your child home alone.

It says there is no law stating when children can or cannot be left home alone. However, the law is clear that parents are responsible for their children’s safety.

The decision on when to leave children alone comes down to individual parents and the age and maturity of their children.

Read the guide for further information and suggestions to keep your child safe when they are home alone.

Graduation ceremonies 

We understand the importance of marking the special occasion of students finishing primary school. This is a local school decision, however we expect schools will celebrate students finishing primary school at the end of year 6, along with year 7s who are moving on to year 8. 

Year 7 to High School Project Team

Email: Year7toHS [at] sa.gov.au