Primary-secondary transition: support materials


This resource is designed to assist schools in developing successful primary to secondary school transition programs, from an initial audit of needs, through development, to successful and ongoing implementation. It acknowledges and builds upon the current work and achievements of many NSW government schools in the development of effective, comprehensive transition programs.

Target audience

This resource is intended to support staff in primary and secondary schools who wish to develop and implement effective transition programs.

Support provided

These materials comprise:

  • research information about primary to secondary transition
  • a possible process for developing and reviewing a transition program
  • a suggested approach to auditing current activities, needs and opportunities for transition
  • factors that could be considered when implementing and evaluating a transition program
  • case studies of transition activities and programs in NSW government schools.

The various sections of this resource can be accessed using the links under 'Supporting primary–secondary transition'.

Nature of transition

The beginning of secondary school is a critical time for students. It evokes a variety of emotions, behaviours and concerns for both young adolescents and their parents or other caregivers. For many it is considered a major stepping stone on the way to becoming an adult. It can also provide students with an opportunity for a fresh start as they are introduced to the culture and expectations of their new school.

Transition to secondary school is marked by several changes in educational expectations and practices. In most primary schools, students are taught mainly in single classrooms, with a familiar set of classmates, by one to three teachers. However, once students reach secondary school, they interact with many more students, in different classrooms, with more teachers, and often with different expectations for both performance and responsibility.

A well-designed transition can maintain the strong sense of belonging that students felt in primary school – so important if they are to continue to enjoy and succeed in academic tasks.


Copyright for this website is owned by the State of New South Wales through the Department of Education. The Department of Education supports and encourages the dissemination and exchange of publicly funded information and endorses the use of the Australian Governments Open Access and Licensing Framework (AusGOAL) ( Copyright material available on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence ( This allows you to share and adapt this material for any purpose as long as attribution is given to: © State of New South Wales (Department of Education) 2015.
For more information go to