Starting secondary school can be a daunting experience for students as they move from the familiar surroundings of primary school and into the larger environment of a secondary school. 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 City College 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. Our Home Group system places each student into a class of no more than 25 students with a Home Group teacher who takes the class for two or more subjects. Students meet with their Home Group teacher at the start of each day for a ten minute assembly before beginning their timetabled subjects. The Home Group teacher looks after pastoral care matters for students and is the first port of call for parents if there are any concerns during the year.
Being familiar with the new school is a distinct advantage for a successful transition to secondary school. Thanks to the numerous visits by local primary schools during the year, most Year 6 students in our area already know a lot about the College before they arrive for their first taste of Year 7 at the Orientation Day. The College is happy to provide tours on an individual basis if requested.
Our Transition Program begins on the Orientation Day and continues with a wide range of activities through to the end of Term 1 of Year 7. Among other things, this program focuses upon developing organisational skillsand managing their learning across a wider range of subjects, as well as integrating socially. A highlight of this program is the Orientation Camp attended by all Year 7 students and their Home Group teachers.
Transition is also a time of change for parents as well, with a lot of new information to learn about the way the College operates. Footscray City College 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 College. Numerous activities are held throughout the year where parents are invited to attend, beginning with the Year 7 Family BBQ held early in Term.