From the Principal – Transition

Dear members of the Whitefriars College family

Do you ever get that feeling that the passage of time has crept up on you? That you are so caught up in the busyness of life that you don’t realise that time has slipped by without you even noticing? I had this feeling last week when I realised that we are more than halfway through Term 3! That our Year 12 students have less than 6 weeks of formal classes left. That our incoming Year 7 students have less than a term and a half of primary school to go before they become Whitefriars boys. That our current Year 7 student have the same amount of time left of their first year at secondary school.

This feeling became even more apparent when I attended last week’s transition mornings for Grade 6 students and their parents who will be joining the Whitefriars community in 2024. These transition mornings are a relatively new and exciting initiative, introduced by our Director of Middle Years Sam Riddle in 2022. The aim of these mornings is to support both parents and students as they make this most significant leap in their educational journey – ensuring any feelings of nervousness and concern are addressed and hopefully transformed into feelings of excitement and anticipation.

The concept of transition is an important one for schools. The Oxford Concise Dictionary simply states that Transition is: A movement, passage or change. The process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another. Sounds straight forward enough. However, those of us who have walked the period of change with young people moving from primary to secondary school, know that it is far more complex and requires our attention, energy and a deft hand in navigating this significant period of time.

A positive transition into secondary school can have a marked effect on a young person in supporting them to feel more confident and competent as they enter this new environment. More than this, if a student experiences a successful transition into secondary school they are more likely to feel valued, accepted and, most importantly, safe as they generally will feel more comfortable in raising any concerns they have with school and parents.

There are many things parents and schools can do to support students to feel less stressed and more excited during this period of transition. These include visiting the school, doing a trial run with travelling to school, practicing ‘what if’ scenarios, establishing routines, inviting older siblings or friends to share information about the school system i.e. structure of the day, etc.

At Whitefriars we a blessed to have a great team of people led by Sam Riddle who are committed to providing students and their families with a variety of transition activities throughout their Grade 6 year which are designed to lesson anxiety and worry, and increase excitement and positive anticipation for both students and their parents.

At the same time, we are currently engaged in another important period of transition as we walk with our departing Year 12 students on their journey towards their next destination. Our wonderful Careers Advisor Mrs Anna Gasparini and Pathways Co-ordinator Mr Dean Notting, supported by our Director of Senior Years, Claire Allemand, who work tirelessly and leave no stone unturned in supporting our senior students to find their pathway beyond school.

Currently these dedicated staff are working with Year 12 VCE students to inform and prepare them for tertiary entry via the VTAC system. Time will be spent during a number of Study Sessions later in the term to ensure students have entered their 2024 preferences correctly.

They are also assisting Year 12 students with SEAS (Special Entry Access Scheme) applications, Early Entry program applications at institutions such as Swinburne, La Trobe and ACU as well as encouraging and supporting scholarship applications. Further to this, Mr Notting and Mrs Gasparini are supporting the Year 12 VCE VM students with their transition from school to employment or further education as they work towards the conclusion of their program at the end of Term 3. Support for students in this space is not exclusively for Year 12 students. Mr Notting and Mrs Gasparini also work with Year 10 and 11 students and their parents to assist with their subject selections and pathway decisions for 2024 and beyond.

We are very blessed at Whitefriars to have many staff whose focus is not only walking with our young men in the here and now but who are equally interested in supporting them as they take their first tentative steps into the future.


Mr Mark Murphy