Annual Report to Children and Young People 2020-2021

By reflecting on the Department’s pilot program’s success and challenges, complete with knowledge of the lives and development of 11 and 12 year olds, the Department for Education can ensure that every school is supported to provide every Year 7 student with what they need to be able to thrive in a high school setting and beyond.

Whilst hopeful that the early learnings from the three pilot schools will inform the state wide transition, I have concerns that the larger scale transition might exacerbate some of the issues already identified during the pilot.

Many of the pilot report’s key insights resonate with what 11 and 12 year olds have told me about what they need to feel safe, supported and successful, both at school and outside of school. Children in this age group often tell me that they have few opportunities to have a say and adults often rely on their own assumptions about children’s perspectives, experiences, capabilities and development. Findings from the pilot project reflect this, highlighting that many of the initial assumptions that schools and staff made about Year 7s were inappropriate.

During a time of uncertainty for many, it is more important than ever that we listen to children as well as their families and teachers and that we take their concerns seriously. As the pilot project clearly demonstrates, getting to know the students early not only benefits children and young people themselves, but it also improves outcomes for schools, teachers and other Education staff, families and broader communities.