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Starting high school is a big change. In high school you have more independence and responsibility. A new school can be daunting, but it can also be really exciting.
In high school, you will move around more for your classes. You’ll get to learn in new facilities like fully equipped science labs and design and technology facilities. You’ll most likely have different teachers for these different subjects and the school bells might ring between lessons, not just at recess and lunch.
The workload is different and builds on the things you’ve already learnt in primary school. You might find the work more challenging. Remember that your teachers will be there to help you develop more advanced knowledge of subjects and give you the support you need to handle the workload.
Some of you will attend your new high school with your primary school friends. For others, there will be changes to your friendship groups. You’ll make new friends, and may even stay in touch with old primary school friends.
It’s okay if you are nervous at first. If things feel really tough, don’t worry as there are people available at your new school to help you adjust. This can include your home group teacher or even a school wellbeing leader.
There will be opportunities for you to attend transition days at your new school to help you adjust and become familiar with your new environment. See changing schools for more information.
High school has many extracurricular activities that you can try. It’s a great time to explore new interests and try new things.
Your new high school will have more information on the activities that are available.
Some of our high schools are already teaching year 7s. Watch Clare High School’s video where year 7 students share their experience of what high school is really like.
Sharryn Daly: It's been almost 20 years since year 7 has joined our secondary site. I have worked in a number of secondary sites. That's sort of my background and my passion. I really value having new year 7s on the site. I believe the students are very ready. Maturity-wise, you'll find that year 7s these days are far more mature than, perhaps, they were a few years ago. What we find is that after a couple of weeks of being at high school in January and February, they kind of make themselves at home.
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 help you through the process.
Student: I thought it was going to be quite scary, kind of. But it's good. I enjoy it.
Sharryn Daly: They get an opportunity to experience science, tech studies. They get to try home ec. They do media. They do drama. They have a whole range of specialist, elective-type subjects with specialist teachers and specialist facilities.
Student: Changing into different teachers. Not always having the same teachers for every lesson.
Interviewer: Yeah. And how was that?
Student: Really interesting.
Sharryn Daly: My sense was that, often, it was the parent that is concerned about the safety of their child. They are just worried. But what you find if you talk to the students is that a lot of those fears are not warranted. You do find that after a few weeks, the students are intermingling with all students from other year levels.
Student: It feels good.
Student: It feels pretty normal. It doesn't feel really different.
Student: Especially older, more older kids. There's a lot of year 12s, and 10s, and 11s that we didn't have in primary school.
Interviewer: But is that good? Is that-
Student: It's good.
Student: Do your homework.
Student: Don't forget, don't do your homework at the last minute.
Since 2020, we have been piloting year 7 in high school at Wirreanda Secondary School, Mitcham Girls High School and John Pirie Secondary School.
Watch Wirreanda Secondary School’s video below to hear year 6s talk about being among the first year 7s in high school in South Australia.
Jackson: I'm Jackson, and I'm going to be one of the first year sevens to come into a high school in South Australia. Yeah, I'm getting a lot more comfortable. It's coming down pretty quick.
Caroline Fishpool: We do have a strong belief that apart from all the different questions and uncertainty at the moment across the state, we do believe at Wirreanda Secondary School that they should be in our secondary school setting. We're obviously making preparations to ensure that can happen. There's a mixture of obviously excitement about coming into a secondary school setting. There's a mixture of uncertainty, but I think that's obviously the case with any change process. It's about what we put into place.
Blake: I'm pretty excited.
Interviewer: Yeah? Tell me why you're excited.
Blake: Because I'm moving onto a high school. Knowing that I'm going to be a year seven, I would love to have a year seven jumper.
Caroline Fishpool: Our transition processes are really clear here about making sure that we know the students, and obviously I think embrace that excitement about, what are the students excited about? Not what they're nervous about, but what are they excited about? And how we build on that with a strength-based approach.
Jackson: I was pretty down because I didn't get to get a year seven jumper. Then today when I heard that we were going to design our own year seven's jumpers, I was pretty excited.
Caroline Fishpool: I think year sevens are very ready to start secondary school. I think it's a big change for South Australia, and it's a big change for a lot of people involved in actually leading that piece out, but are year sevens ready? Absolutely.
Katrina Axford: Sometimes what will happen is the adults will be the more anxious ones than the students. Kids adapt a lot better than adults, you can see that today out in the spaces that they're just getting on with it. There are students in different uniforms right now that have known each other for an hour, but we've set up structures and processes that we put in place because we know that this stuff works, and we know that the kids will just get over those bits that make them anxious.
Caroline Fishpool: We know that obviously as year sevens in primary schools, from what primary schools tell us, they get halfway through the year and then looking for additional opportunities. Secondary schools provide that with the structures that we have in place with those specialist pathways for them to kind of have a bit of a dabble, and then move forward.
Blake: I feel good.
Jackson: Yeah, excited.
End of transcript.
Year 7 to High School Project Team
Email: Year7toHS [at] sa.gov.au