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High School Preparation Tips – Are You on the Right Track?

High School Preparation

If you have children starting High School shortly, it’s time to start thinking about this transition to ‘big school’. Janette Collins from St John’s Anglican College, Forest Lake shares her thoughts with us on this time of transition to help with High School preparation.

Do you remember starting high school?  Do you remember the look on your parents’ faces as you left for your first day at high school? They were, no doubt, nervous and excited for you, similar feelings to what you are likely to be feeling as your little one takes their first steps toward their secondary school. Today the pressure parents feel as their children move toward high school surround trying to find the best school environment which will optimise their child’s academic outcomes and nurture their spirit.  Tricky stuff!

You have done the preliminary work: attended information nights and Open Days, taken the tours of facilities and looked very hard at the breath of opportunities that your short list of schools have on offer and finally made your choice. Now is the time that you need to work with your child to make the transition from primary to secondary a positive one.

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As your child prepares to enter this very new and exciting environment it is important that you recognise that they will need extra nurturing to help them with their confidence and self-esteem. School and family values should align. Be prepared to take advice from the school about your child and work together for the best outcome. Also be happy to support the new school rules regarding uniforms and expectations. High School preparation will involve You will need to model appropriate talk about the school and teachers at home.

Remember to contact the school to ask questions

If you have any questions or concerns find out who you should contact at your school to put your mind at ease. They can give you additional information that can help you explain things to your child when you are at home. Sometimes small things, if left unattended can become big things and during this transition, it is best to deal with things at the outset than let them grow unnecessarily. Being proactive about approaching the school and creating clear lines of communication can help prevent misunderstandings.

Beginning the secondary years can be a time of trial and change just like life in general. Try to embrace this wonderful time with optimism and positivity. Your little person is bigger, stronger and more independent. You have raised your child to have self-belief, to go confidently into the next stage of their schooling. When working in partnership with the school you have chosen, this will prepare them for their life ahead.


Preparing for high school checklist:


  • Buy school uniforms, books, stationery, school bag, drink bottle, house key, etc.
  • Label everything.
  • Break in school shoes to make them more comfortable (check out our list of the best school shoes here).
  • Practise travelling to and from school with your child if they will use public transport. Let your child buy travel tickets, if applicable.
  • Teach your child how to read the timetable for the bus, train or ferry as appropriate.

At home

  • Talk positively to your child about the move to high school.
  • Ask them what’s exciting about high school.
  • Ask them if they have any concerns about starting high school?
  • Make sure your child has a quiet work area and extra stationery supplies.
  • Organise personal hygiene items in school bags.
  • Decide what your child will do before and after school, and what time they need to be home.
  • Discuss emergency and safety issues with your child.

The first day

  • Help set your child’s alarm. Encourage them to get themselves ready on time.
  • Provide your child with money in case of emergencies and your contact numbers.
  • Make sure you have the school’s phone number with you.

Tips for the first week of high school

  • Photocopy school timetables for school diaries, the inside of cupboard doors and on the fridge.
  • Remind your child to note all assignments, homework and events in their diary.
  • Check through the timetable each night while your child packs their bag – including sports uniform. Encourage your child to eat healthy food and get a good night’s sleep.
  • Give the school your current contact details

This article was first printed in Issue 1 or our printed magazine on 1 December 2013.

Photo of author

Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

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