Make the transition to high school a great experience for your students with the Peer Support Program.
The program enables transitioning students to make new connections at high school, including building relationships with senior students. This means students start Year 7 with a sense of belonging and confidence.
The Peer Support Program offers resources for both high schools and primary schools.
High schools use the program to help foster relationships and introduce incoming Year 7 students to their school. Primary schools use the program to build a range of skills in their Year 6 students that will support them navigate high school.
Early connections help the transition to high school
Positive relationships are vital to starting high school on the right foot.
Friendships become increasingly important during the high school years. Teenagers start to put more trust in their friends over their parents, carers and teachers. Most teenagers – 81.5% — value their friendships more than anything else in their lives, as found by the 2022 Mission Australia Youth Survey. This points to the importance of fostering peer relationships that are strong and healthy.
The start of high school is usually the time when peer groups are established. The Peer Support Program can help students develop new friendships and connections across the school community.
Empower your senior high school students to help Year 7 students
The Peer Support Program is a great way to involve senior students in the transition process with their feeder primary schools. The program provides incoming Year 7 students with an opportunity to connect with their peers in a safe and supported environment.
86% of teachers involved in the Peer Support Program said it enables students to experience a better transition into high school, according to research by Deakin University.
Peer Support Australia offers an orientation framework for high schools. This includes activities and discussion guides for senior students to use with small groups of Year 7 students. This resource can be used to help Year 7 students make connections early, get to know the school, and be organised.
Download a free ebook on helping your students Transition to High School.
Primary schools can prepare their Year 6 students for the transition to high school with the Peer Support Program
In addition to high schools using Peer Support to help students transition to high school, primary schools can use the program for this purpose too.
The Peer Support Program is available to primary schools, with Year 6 students leading small groups of students from kindergarten to Year 5. The program offers Year 6 students an opportunity to develop leadership skills that will help them navigate the transition to high school. Leading groups of younger students offers Year 6 students the opportunity to develop confidence, competence, independence, and organisational and communication skills. These are all valuable skills to take into high school.
The Peer Support Program for primary schools also has specific resources to support change and transition. The supplementary resource, Supporting Change, includes a range of activities that will help prepare Year 6 students for their transition into high school.
These resources are free to member schools, and available for download on the portal. Not yet a member? Find out how to become one here.
“The Peer Support Program has become part of our transition process for Year 7 students. We run it in Term 1 so the Year 7s have the familiar face of a senior student in their first term and year.
“A rewarding aspect of the program is having Year 7s come through and then become Peer Support Leaders in Year 11. It’s great seeing them excited to work on the program and give back to the Year 7s.”
Dan Sawade, Encounter Lutheran College