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Student Services > Learning and Disability Support > Disability Support > Education for children with a disability - a guide for parents > Phases of learning >

Starting secondary school

Finishing primary school and starting secondary school is one of the most significant times in your child's life, and they might feel both excited and afraid about the prospect. Often they have felt protected in a safe, familiar environment with considerable individual attention, and high school can seem very different.

Secondary school can bring many new experiences. New school expectations, new peers, new subjects and getting used to having multiple teachers is very exciting but can be a little concerning for students at first. Being organised to have the right books and equipment may involve a period of adjustment.

Forward planning is vital as it often takes time to get the necessary supports in place and ensure things run smoothly. Many secondary schools run transition days towards the end of the year where students can spend time at the school becoming familiar with their new surroundings. This is an important time to help students feel more comfortable about starting secondary school.

Your child's learning support records will be transferred with them to their new school, so important information and documentation won't be lost in the transition process. In some cases, a meeting will also occur between your child's current school and the new school as part of this transition process.

There are a number of things that can be done to make the transition easier for your child. These include:

Depending on your child's particular needs, you may also like to consider:

With your help, your child has already reached a number of important milestones in their learning and the support you give your child will assist the smooth transition from primary to secondary school and help make this a positive experience.

When to start planning for life after school

By the time your child is finishing Year 9, you and your child should be planning and preparing for life after school. It is important to talk to your child about what their interests, abilities and aspirations are, and find out about the options available to them.


As part of planning for the transition to post-school options, Queensland students in Year 10 complete a Senior Education and Training (SET) plan. Essentially, the SET plan includes what the student's goals are, and what pathways they're going to take to reach those goals. Parents and school staff are involved in helping students put these plans together.

While the SET plan helps students to make decisions about their future, they can still make alterations to their SET plan if they change their plans.

For more information about planning for life after school:

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