Senior School transition

For students, transition times are important as they are a stimulus for personal growth and development, but they do need to be handled with care or they can take a considerable amount of time and effort to overcome. We also need to be considerate of the very normal emotions of excitement and anxiety (or both!) which may be experienced. Each point of transition acts as a signal for students to adapt and engage with the events, people and surroundings they are immersed in. For parents attempting to examine whether a transition has been successful, it is important to maintain a long-term view. It is not just one event that makes the transition, so if there are a few initial road bumps I would encourage you to allow some time, while also utilising the support channels at the School to seek expertise and assistance where required.

As a School we believe that a focus on allowing our students to develop relationships and partnerships is critical in the success of our transitions, and a significant amount of work is undertaken to achieve positive outcomes. We undertake an extensive range of activities to assist our transitioning students. There is a strong belief that if we lay the foundations for this period of change correctly, then the smoother the process can be. It does pay off in the long term if we invest in the program at this early juncture. Below we will run through the process from familiarisation to integration and by the end of the process you’ll see how seamlessly new Senior School students become a part of the community.

Firstly, our Heads of House meet with new students and families before the start of the school year to allow them the opportunity to become familiar with their surroundings and ask questions about their new school. We have placed significant time allocations in the first week of the school year for all students to spend time with their Mentors, as they develop plans and goals for the year ahead. Student buddies are allocated for our new students in older year groups, and our Year 7 students meet their teachers at a central location and are escorted to each lesson. This all comes off the back of a significant amount of communication, correspondence and guidance from our Enrolments Team, who have been the main link for families up until the school year begins.

Our first week back in the Senior School is a special one as it includes a number of important traditions and rituals for new and existing students, that although they may be either exciting or daunting in this first instance, will soon become part of their daily life in the School. New students in all years are presented in House groups in the DLD before a very heart-warming welcome service in the Chapel. The remainder of their first day is a mix of formal academic time, enabling the students to get some ‘rubber on the road’ in terms of becoming familiar with the logistics of learning (teachers, classrooms, learning resources, labs and log-ins), and a welcome morning tea in each House to enable the seeds of relationships to be planted as the students mingle with their new housemates, young and old.

At Guildford Grammar we understand how daunting the transition can be for students, the emotional element to the process and the unfamiliarity that change brings. Knowing the challenges you are up against presents the opportunity to plan and reflect which has enabled us to implement the aforementioned transition plan. We believe that with the right guidance, friendly people and mapped processes, we can make the start of their high school life the foundations for a happy and healthy journey through their final years at the School. You can place your trust in the process and stand back to observe your child begin to thrive at Guildford and Go Forward with purpose and passion.

Mr Brad Evans
Head of Senior School