This audit assessed whether the Department of Education and Training (DET), government schools and early childhood education and care providers are effectively supporting children to transition into Prep and from primary to secondary school.
DET has improved access to high-quality kindergarten programs and has developed a comprehensive, well-researched framework to support early-years transitions. These actions have contributed to improved outcomes for children transitioning into Prep. However, DET does not have a similar strategy or framework for managing middle-years transitions and despite some pockets of improvement, engagement and academic outcomes continue to decline as children move into secondary school.
In an environment where schools have high levels of autonomy, DET needs to provide strong leadership, including sound guidance, appropriate support and effective monitoring of schools. It does not consistently do so.
Despite this, there are many examples of good practice among schools and early childhood education providers. These include innovative curriculum and teaching approaches, joint professional development forums with school and early childhood teachers, and schools that set and monitored academic achievement targets for transitioning students.
System-wide change is required if consistent long-term gains are to be made, and if issues such as the uneven impact of transitions on male and female students are to be resolved. The report recommends a range of simple cost effective steps that DET could take to better support schools to improve middle-years transitions, and highlights some of the examples of better practice found in audited schools.