It is a time when many things change at once for young people, not just in the world around them, but also inside as they are moving through adolescence. Educational research indicates that student learning can decline if the transition from primary to secondary school is not successful. At Footscray High School we believe that this experience should be a time of excitement and adventure, but also one where expectations, routines and organisation are quickly established to provide certainty and structure.
The Year 7 program is organised to ensure that students and their teachers quickly build positive relationships as a basis for successful learning. Each student is placed into a class of no more than 25 students with a Home Group teacher who takes the class for two or more subjects. Classes are grouped into ‘Learning Communities’ of no more than four homegroups with teachers of English, Humanities (Global Views), and Maths and Science (STEAM), allocated to two classes within a Learning Community. This is designed to maximise the time that these teachers spend with students in their Learning Community. Students will have daily contact with their homeroom teachers who are responsible for pastoral care matters and who are the first port of call for parents if there are any concerns during the year.
Our Transition Program begins with an information evening in early December, where students and parents have the opportunity of meeting their class homeroom teachers. It continues with the statewide Year 7 Orientation Day, and then with a wide range of activities throughout Year 7. Among other things, this program focuses upon developing students’ organisational skills and managing their learning across a wide range of subjects, as well as supporting them to integrate socially and to build resilience. A number of whole school activities, including an introduction to Respectful Relationships and Growth Mindset, and team building challenges are scheduled to run early in the year. A highlight of this program is the Year 7 Camp attended by all students and their Home Group teachers that will occur later in the year.
Transition is also a time of change for parents as well, with a lot of new information to learn about the way the school operates. Footscray High School has a strong tradition of parental involvement through groups such as the Friends of Footscray and is keen to welcome parents into the life of the school. Numerous activities are held throughout the year where parents are invited to attend, beginning with the Year 7 Family BBQ held early in Term 1.