Dripstone Middle School recognises the complexities and issues facing our young adolescent learners as they transition from primary school to middle school to senior school and places a high value on implementing strategies and practices that effectively supports all learners through the stages of learning.

DMS recognises that transitioning from primary school to middle school can have a negative impact on student engagement, achievement and wellbeing so has intentionally planned for a Transition Program to ensure all learners continue to engage, grow and achieve success.

Key Issues

The successful transition of learners from primary to middle school can be impacted by the following:

  • Move from a familiar small cohort of students to a large cohort of students
  • Change of friendship groups and peer group acceptance.
  • Students move from being the oldest cohort to the youngest
  • Change in class groupings and number of teachers
  • Change in work expectations and work-loads across subject areas
  • Requirement to be more self-regulated learners who can move independently from classroom to classroom
  • Loss of familiar staff who know and understand the needs of individual learners

Research has shown that the transition from primary to middle school is often associated with a drop in academic achievement. (Teaching Middle Years, 2017, Donna Pendergast, pg 99)


To address and mitigate these potential issues, DMS has implemented a number of positive actions and measures:

  • Students to remain in the same class grouping for their CORE subjects (English, Maths, Science and HASS)
  • Strengthened the Transition program by running Orientation Days in Term 2 and 3 and buddying Year 6 students with a Year 9 student for the day.
  • School leadership team (including Principal and Assistant Principal) visiting students in primary schools to engage in Q and A in more intimate setting (Term 1 and Term 3).
  • ‘Young Achievers’ Program to bring together students once per term to engage them in hands on inquiry learning focused on solving a real-life local problem building knowledge and skills in STEAM subjects. Not only are students encouraged to use their creativity and curiosity but to also work collaboratively with students from the 5 different feeder primary schools to build relationships prior to year 7.
  • Enrichment Programs for Year 5 and 6 students who want extension in subjects such as dance, music, science, Art, Digital Technologies, Woodwork.
  • A more intensive orientation program for students who are ‘at risk’ during Term 3 and 4 ensuring they experience a well-supported transition.
  • A network meeting with Year 6 teachers from feeder primary schools and DMS teachers.
  • A Year 6 Parent information Evening and School Tours and sharing of information through media, website and communication channels.
  • Discussing, sharing and gathering feedback from principals at the Casuarina Education precinct meetings (on each agenda)
  • Science Fair for Year 5 students
  • Parent Interviews for students wishing to enrol from outside of feeder primary schools.
  • Special Education Teacher and Assistant Principal to discuss and share information (EAP’s, IBP’s, Wellbeing or Attendance Plans) and concerns regarding Students with Additional Needs.
  • Provision for students to be extended in LEAP and RISE classes.
  • Transition programs for Aboriginal students via the Clontarf and STARS Programs.
  • Identification of student’s performance through the sharing of PAT and NAPLAN data so students can be well placed in classes.



Through an effective Transition Program, Dripstone Middle School ensures that:

  • All learners have experienced the positive aspects of middle school and understand the learning opportunities it can provide for every learner.
  • Students know which staff at DMS can support their engagement, academic learning or wellbeing.
  • Students have built friendships outside of their current cohort in preparation for mixing with a larger cohort.
  • Educators from feeder primary schools know and support the DMS Transition Programs
  • All students and parents feel positive about the next stage of schooling.