Transition to junior secondary for students with disability


The department recognises the importance of building connections in local communities between families, primary and secondary schools. The Strategic Plan 2018–2022 identifies transition as a priority. It highlights the importance of working together to develop a shared responsibility for successful transitions so that all students can reach their potential.

The junior secondary education phase caters for the specific needs of young adolescent learners in Years 7–9. It focuses on students' social and emotional wellbeing as well as their academic progress. Transition from primary to junior secondary is a process that explicitly supports students to adjust to the different, more complex secondary context.

Whole-school approach

The transition to junior secondary is supported through a whole-school approach to supporting student learning.

All students, including students with disability, participate in transition programs in Year 6. The whole-school approach recognises that for some students, more focused and/or intensive supports and strategies may be required to ensure a successful transition to junior secondary.

A whole-school approach to the transition of students with disability to junior secondary:

  • supports the transition programs that already occur in the school for all students
  • enables the use of person-centred approaches that take into account the needs of the individual student and their family
  • ensures that transitions are planned well in advance
  • takes into account the health and well-being needs of young adolescent learners
  • supports collaborative processes that build relationships between families, primary and secondary school teachers over time
  • identifies the need for more targeted and focused approaches including more frequent and explicit instruction, purposeful planning, adjustments and supports that may be required to ensure the access and participation of all students
  • enables information shared between the family, primary and secondary schools to be used to align the curriculum, with teaching strategies to support the continuity of student learning
  • supports schools to plan for and make adjustments in relation to facilities and support services that will be required to support the student during the transition to junior secondary period.

Information for parents/carers is outlined in Transition to junior secondary school—ideas for parents/carers.

Transition program considerations

Secondary schools conduct transition programs to enable students to spend time and undertake activities at the school to become more familiar with their new surroundings. This is important to help students feel more comfortable about starting secondary school.

Transition programs in schools:

  • provide students with an opportunity to begin to develop relationships and start to prepare for the different academic and social expectations of junior secondary school
  • take into account the individual needs of the student and are provided in a supportive and age-appropriate context
  • occur over an extended period of time and involve students, families, teachers, and government and non-government community agencies
  • may identify the need for a transition meeting to determine additional transition activities and resources that align to the student's need. program considerations
  • assist schools to identify professional development, support and resourcing needs
  • include review and reflection processes to evaluate and improve transition practices.

The transition to junior secondary school matrix (DOC, 749KB) provides a range of ideas that schools and parents/carers can use to support the different phases of the transition process.

The Getting ready to start secondary school (DOCX, 78KB) sample transition booklet is an editable resource that secondary schools can adjust and use to support their transition programs. This booklet can also be shared with parents/carers and the primary school as an additional resource to support transition. A completed example (PDF, 812KB) of the booklet has also been provided to give you some ideas on the adjustments that can be made to support different learners.

The transition to junior secondary school—ideas for parents/carers provides information that parents/carers can use to support their child through the primary to junior secondary transition.

Additional resources

Supporting students with additional or complex needs contains information from the Victorian Department of Education to assist schools and families to support a successful transition from primary to junior secondary.

The Student learning and wellbeing framework (PDF, 534KB) offers a package of materials and some practical advice to help make the transition to high school as smooth as possible. These materials support all students moving from primary school including students with disability. Schools use the Learning and Wellbeing Framework to guide school transition program review processes.

Useful Links

Last updated 12 September 2019