Years 7 and 8 involve adjusting to new class timetables, homework, tests, thinking about electives (for Years 9 and 10), and shifting relationships.
Many schools begin a transition program during Semester 2 of Year 6. Make sure you attend any orientation or ‘meet the teacher’ events offered by your school. It will make Year 7 easier if you know what to expect, how the school works and who to talk to about issues. Staying in touch with your child's progress is harder than primary school as they may have a different teacher for each subject. Getting to know the staff is important.
Some questions to ask at information sessions:
Is there a parent or student portal with details of timetables, assessment tasks, excursions and so on? How do you access it?
Who is the year adviser for Year 7 and how do you contact them?
How do you contact individual teachers with any concerns?
Homework and study
In high school, students need to do both homework and study.
Does your child have a homework and study planner or diary? Are they using it? Check it weekly. If they aren't using it, find out why. Some will prefer scheduling homework and setting reminders on their iPad or phone, but you still need to check they are keeping up with their homework and study each week. Add all assessment task and exam dates to our term assessment planner (DOCX 53.57KB) – print a copy to keep it on the fridge as a reminder. A study timetable (DOCX 52.96KB) will help students plan some time each week to revise their work.
Your child will do NAPLAN this year, assessing their literacy and numeracy skills.
Monitor your child's technology use. Are they on Facebook when trying to do their homework? Are they receiving or making texts or calls late at night? Sleep requirements start to change this year and sleep deprivation is a big problem for many students. Midnight texts from friends will only make this worse. Learn more about keeping your child safe online from the Office of the eSafety Commissioner – eSafety information.
Your child should be settling into high school by now. Attend any parent-teacher events offered. Meeting your child's teachers makes it easier to communicate with the school if there are issues.
Homework and study
If your child seems to be struggling with the difficulty of the work or getting organised to get it done, contact the year adviser.
Remind your child to write any due dates for assessments or exams on their term assessment planner as soon as possible. Use the study timetable to schedule enough time in the weeks and days before assessments, tests and exams. This is a vital habit for students to learn now. In Year 8, students sit VALID tests, assessing their knowledge and skills in science.
From Term 2 onwards, schools will ask Year 8 students to select electives for Year 9. Go to the information events and ask questions. Discuss elective choices with your child. Encourage them to choose subjects they enjoy and expect to do well in. Year 9 electives are about following interests, not setting up career paths. For some students, vocational education and training (VET) subjects may be an option in Years 9 and 10.
Year 8 is a time of shifting relationships for many. Your child may experiment with friendships, push boundaries and want to spend more time away from the family. Balance is important. Know who they're hanging out with in person and online. Know how much screen time your child is having – it can interfere with important sleep, exercise and study time.
If bullying becomes an issue, always contact the school. The NSW anti-bullying website also provides resources and information.