The Ultimate Parent Guide for Surviving the Transition from Primary to High School

The Ultimate Parent Guide for Surviving the Transition from Primary to High School

As we watch our children leave primary school and commence high school, it is not unusual for students and parents alike to feel a sense of excitement and trepidation. It is, in fact, a very stressful time for students and indeed their families. It doesn’t matter whether your child was DUX in year 6 or just an average student, year 7 always challenges all students in one way or another.

The most effective way to make sure that your child has a successful transition is to embark on this journey with them… not leading, but being by their side.


High school presents our children with an opportunity to become more independent learners as they begin to define themselves as young adults within our community. The year 12’s might look scary and the new campus might seem too large to learn, but, expecting these types of things can help minimise their intimidation. You can help your child by preparing them for:

  • A new (and often much larger) school campus
  • A timetable, usually for the fortnight, showing classes and classrooms
  • New teachers who may be firmer and have higher expectations
  • An increase in homework as a result of receiving homework for each subject
  • Frequent exams that will assess their understanding and progress

The pressure to perform combined with the clear academic and behavioural changes will be evident, however, around half a million students enter year seven every year and they quickly adapt and often enjoy the more independent and mature method of learning. As parents, you have the power to help your children understand that these changes are normal and its okay if it takes some time to adjust to these new norms.


This change can be quite daunting for your child, leaving their engrained daily routines, familiar school grounds, and favourite teachers and peers presents a range of academic and social challenges. This is why is it critical that parents encourage 5 attitudes of:

POSITIVITY – “the practice of being or tendency to be positive or optimistic in attitude”. Being positive relates to embracing the challenges and unfamiliarity of a new school. It focuses on entering new situations with an expectation that although it might be unknown and therefore scary, it will likely also be exciting and wonderful.

DISCOVERY – “the action or process of discovering or being discovered”. This attitude focuses on your child seeking experiences beyond their normal and expected. It goes beyond being placed in new situations, but seeking new experiences with excitement!

OPPORTUNITY – “a time or set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something”. An attitude of opportunity is one whereby tasks and situations are viewed as a chance to learn, grow or mature, as opposed to a negative. High school will present you children with a lot, both academically, socially and mentally, and it can be wise to help them see these experiences as an opportunity to be grateful for.

CONFIDENCE – “the feeling or belief that one can have faith in or rely on someone or something”. This is something we focus on heavily at MWNS, as we believe that everything stems off of confidence. Being confident will allow your child to try new things, despite the expected or outcome, and achieve and learn beyond their wildest imaginations.

BRAVERY – “courageous behaviour or character”. Finally, we know that high school will be scary for almost all students, so bravery is the last attitude we think you should try instil in your soon to be high school-er. By acknowledging feelings of nervousness or discomfort openly, you can normalise these emotions and ease their mind before school, allowing them to feel prepared and supported as they enter this new chapter in life.


Preparation is a critical element for anyone who is embarking on a new experience and entering a new environment. Here is a checklist of items that will help your child prepare for Year 7:

  • Order textbooks early
  • Organise a student diary (if the school does not provide one)
  • Figure out how to read a timetable
  • Review a map of the school campus to understand where all the buildings are
  • Practice how to unlock the school lock
  • Purchase stationery required of a high school student, including a calculator
  • Purchase writing books and folders
  • Set up a quiet area for study and storing notes within the home (or a local library)
  • Travel the route to school prior to the first of school

This last point is quite important as the use of public transport is a common pathway to school and the stress of being lost or late on the first day of school can cause your child to become overly frantic and stressed.

This preparation will allow your child to gain a sense of control and ease regarding high school, which is super important in helping them start school on the right foot.


The orientation day is arguably one of the most important days that your child will attend towards the beginning of their secondary schooling – do not miss this day or be late! This day will introduce them to their future cohort, the teachers and staff, the layout of the grounds as well as the expectations of the school. This day will provide a window into the high school experience and hopefully familiarise your child enough to feel confident enough to put on their new school uniform with pride and walk through the school gates ready to tackle this new adventure.


Through talking openly about your high school experience or perhaps the feelings you have as a parent can reassure your child that it is okay to be slightly nervous but also excited about high school. Your child may benefit from speaking to siblings or other family members who recently entered or are in high school to understand their perspective and gain some invaluable advice. Through talking with familiar faces, a sense of commonality and achievability will subconsciously enter your child’s mind.

Need some help?

At MWNS, we offer high school tutoring in Maths and English to ensure your child is understanding their schoolwork, meeting the requirements set out by NESA and achieving grades they are proud of. All our Maths and English tutors tailor their lessons to the individual needs of your child. By working at a pace that suits and benefits them, we are able to maximise their learning in an enjoyable environment.

Our Maths and English tutoring is available in centre (Central Coast Tutoring, Eastern Suburbs Tutoring, Inner West Tutoring, Northern Beaches Tutoring, South Sydney Tutoring, Sutherland Shire Tutoring) and online. Whether you are looking for a Maths tutor or an English tutor, MWNS is able to help build your child’s confidence.

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