The Australian Educational Researcher

, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 289–307 | Cite as

The transition from primary to secondary school: Teachers’ perspectives

  • Belinda HopwoodEmail author
  • Ian Hay
  • Janet Dyment


The transition from primary school to secondary school has long been recognised as one of the most challenging times in a young adolescent students’ education, particularly in regard to their academic achievement. Research evidence from the last 30 years has identified a consistent pattern in students’ academic achievement across transition, suggesting that student achievement stalls or even declines in the first year of secondary school. The focus of this research was to identify teachers’ perceptions of the best practices to prepare students for a successful transition to secondary school. The findings were based on 12 one-on-one interviews with primary (Year 6) and secondary (Year 7) teachers. Teachers’ responses were analysed qualitatively through a process of thematic analysis. Findings from the research identified three key methods which primary and secondary school teachers believed were essential for facilitating successful transition experiences for students: curriculum continuity and awareness, communication between primary and secondary schools, and adequate teacher support.


Transition phase Secondary school Primary school Academic achievement 


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Copyright information

© The Australian Association for Research in Education, Inc. 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  2. 2.Faculty of EducationUniversity of TasmaniaLauncestonAustralia

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