One of the most significant transitions a young person will make in their life is the transition from primary school to secondary school. One reason for this is the momentous differences in a secondary school environment.
- Over 1,000 students
- Making new friends
- Different classes with a variety of teachers
- Managing lockers and timetables
- Increase in homework and for many, the beginning of homework
- Public transport to and from school
The second reason relates to the stage of development a young person enters in secondary school – adolescence. As we all know, adolescence can be a turbulent time in a young person’s life. We only have to look back at our own teenage years to remember some of the difficulties we experienced – maybe some of us have actually blocked out this part of our lives. It’s a time when the peer group begins to play a more significant role in a young boys’ life and a previously parent focussed young boy becomes a peer focussed adolescent yearning for independence. Young people will be exploring their identity and asking questions such as where do I fit in and who am I?
At Whitefriars, we believe the transition for a young boy to secondary school needs to include the most important people in their lives – their parents. As such, we run two invitational transition sessions for both students and parents. Three mornings are set aside in Term 3 and three mornings in Term 4 for parents and students to come on-site. The boys rotate through a series of activities run by both staff and current students designed to get to know the school and other students in their Year 7 cohort for the following year. Parents participate in a workshop led by Director – Middle Years, Sam Riddle, Deputy Principal – Learning and Teaching, Catherine Spurritt and myself as the Deputy Principal – Students. These workshops focus on sharing thoughts, concerns and hopes for their son at Whitefriars and forming connections with other parents. This also allows parents to form a very important relationship with the school which they have entrusted their son to and to develop confidence in the care we have for their son’s holistic development.
We also run a ‘Solo Flyers Morning’ which gives the boys who are the only ones from their primary school an opportunity to met boys in a similar situation and to also make some connections to ease the nerves on the first day. Our Learning Diversity department also host a morning for students identified who might require some extra orientation and experience at their new school. Finally, the entire cohort come to Whitefriars for a day in December to get to know the school, meet their Pastoral Care Teachers and House Leaders and interact with each other for the first time.
We feel these transition events for both parents and students provide our future students the best opportunity for a successful entry into secondary school. Importantly, transition shifts to orientation when the boys arrive at Whitefriars…but I’ll save that for another edition.
Mr Mick Lafferty
Deputy Principal – Students