Joining the Dots

Yarra Primary Secondary School Transition Project (Year 5 – Year 9)
The Joining the Dots Project was initiated to identify, implement and evaluate a transition model for young people, their families, the community sector and schools that ensure young people remain engaged in education.

Preparing for Secondary School: A Guide for Parents 2017 (Yarra Region)
Supporting parents with their child's transition from Primary to Secondary school.
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The Yarra Primary Secondary School Transition Project
Joining the Dots 2012 – Report One PDF (1.4MB)
Joining the Dots 2014 – Report Two PDF (1.3MB)

The Project

Primary to Secondary School transition has been identified as an issue of concern by the Yarra Youth Commitment. This period of time in a young person’s life coincides with rapid physical, emotional, social and cognitive developments impacting on their connection to school and learning as a whole. The YYC acknowledged that a successful transition to secondary school was a key factor in determining whether young people remain engaged in education, complete secondary school and transition into positive career pathways.

With the support of funding from the City of Yarra (2012-2014), the Yarra Primary Secondary School Transition Project was initiated to identify, implement and evaluate a transition model for young people, their families, the community sector and schools, to ensure young people remain engaged in education. A further three years of funding from the City of Yarra (2015-2017) has enabled the now more snappily titled Joining the Dots Project to implement and evaluate the new Transition Model across Yarra.

The Project defines ‘transition’ as a broad period of time beginning from the young person’s preparation to transfer from primary school until their successful settlement at secondary school (approximately Year 5 – Year 9).

Project Aims

  • To determine the number of young people who disengage or are at risk of disengagement during the transition period from primary school to secondary school
  • To identify critical success factors needed for effective transitions
  • To determine current levels of support for young people in Yarra transitioning from primary to secondary school and the effectiveness of services
  • For the community sector and schools to work collaboratively on the development, implementation and evaluation of an effective model of transition
  • To investigate other practices / models of effective transition
  • To trial innovative models and approaches in the local context

Events and Activities for 2017

Download the Save the Dates Flyer for details on our three professional development opportunities in 2017

Workshop – 8.45-1pm, 25 May, Trinity Catholic School, Richmond – Click here for the workshop resources
Forum – 8.30-3.30pm, 2 August, Treacy Centre, Parkville – Registrations now open. Click here for the flyer and/or click here to register
Bus Tour – 8.45-1.30pm, 26 October, Primary schools in the Yarra region

Project Phases (2012-2017)

The project phases are summarised below. For more information on each component, please follow the links in the table below.

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Transition Review Process

The Transition Review Process (TRP) assists in building the capacity of schools to review and update their transition and engagement program to ultimately improve the connection young people have towards learning and school during and beyond the transition period.

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Developed for the Project, and based upon work done by the NSW DET and Catholic Education Melbourne, this three step self reflection process is available for up to ten primary and secondary schools in Yarra in 2016. These free facilitated sessions include an audit of current process and mapping against the four phases and five areas of transition to develop a plan for action around transition and engagement. While the scope of this Project is Year 5 – Year 9, it is intended for the TRP to become embedded in schools as a valuable review and evaluation tool for transition and engagement across the whole school.

Successful completion of the TRP enables the school to participate in a Shared Learning Community, the beginnings of a Transitions Network in Yarra.

To date, thirteen schools in Yarra have completed the Process. These schools are a mix of primary, secondary, P-12 and an English Language School.

For 2017, there are opportunities for more schools in Yarra to complete the TRP.

For more information, contact Rochelle Darby (details below)

Shared Learning Community

The Yarra Shared Learning Community (SLC) began with the five schools who completed the Transition Review Process in 2014, and has since been joined by a further nine. Originally convened by the Project Coordinator, the SLC quickly moved to self ownership with Fitzroy High School taking over convening duties since 2015.

Shared Learning Community

Meeting once per term, this group of Transition Coordinators share progress on their action plans and work on joint actions such as the Online Student Information Transfer Form. Developed and trialled by the SLC in 2014 with fantastic success, the Form has since been refined and used more broadly in 2015. In the spirit of working collegiately not competitively, a common script was agreed for school tours whereby the emphasis is placed on families exploring a number of educational settings in Yarra to determine the best fit for their young person.

As the beginnings of a Transitions Network in Yarra, this group will continue to grow and strengthen as more schools complete the TRP.

Data Collection

Phase One data collection set a baseline for transition in Yarra and has since been annually repeated since 2014.

Yarra Transition Model

The strategies adopted by the Joining the Dots Project in the journey to providing effective transition experiences for young people and their families, were grounded in the recognition of the need to implement a rigorous and sustainable improvement process. The key to the success of the schools was recognition and understanding that this process demanded a strategic evidence-based approach to address identified broad issues.

The strategies developed and implemented in this project can be distilled into five key dimensions, together forming the Yarra Transition Model:

  1. Strategic Approach
  2. Community Partnerships
  3. Building Capacity
  4. School Based Programs
  5. Support for Individual Students and Parents

Project Partners (2012-2016)

The strength of this project has come from the fantastic commitment of time and energy from the Partners listed below and also from the other schools, educators and community agencies who have engaged with and value this project.

The City of Yarra are also to be thanked and acknowledged as a valued partner in this project. With support extending beyond the realms of the Community Grants Program, the Project has been able to grow in depth and breadth … truly Joining the Dots!


Ann Van Leerdam – Concern Australia
Anna Hutchens – City of Yarra
Anne Marmion – The Smith Family
Bronwyn Egan – Catholic Education Melbourne
Cath Behan – Catholic Education Melbourne
Cherry Grimwade – City of Yarra
Claude Sgroi – DET NWVR
Dale Perichon – Collingwood College
Danny Hobson – Department of Education and Training (Vic)
David Kennedy – INLLEN
Georgia McRae – City of Yarra
Hong Nguyen – INLLEN
Horace Wansbrough – YSAS
Jonathan Lowe – DET NWVR
Julie Rothman – Fitzroy Primary School
Kerri Simpson – DEECD NMR
Leonie Lisiecki – Catholic Education Melbourne
Licia Marchese – Trinity Catholic School (Richmond)
Lindsay Thomas – Kildonan Reconnect
Dr Lisa Mundy- Murdoch Children’s Research Institute
Michael West – Department of Education and Training
Michele Sampson – Catholic Education Melbourne
Natasha Cooper – The Smith Family
Naomi Gilbert – Mission Australia
Nicole Grimwood – Mission Australia
Peter Baldwin – Collingwood Alternative School
Peter Bartley – Trinity Catholic School (Richmond)
Rhonda Crouch – Hawthorn Secondary College
Rachelle Allen – Eating Disorders Victoria
Rochelle Darby – INLLEN
Rupert North – City of Yarra
Sally Ball – Berry Street Childhood Institute (School Focused Youth Services)
Sandra Dickins – Fitzroy High School
Shannon Barratt – Youth Connect
Sharrin Murphy – Foundation House
Tony Brewin – Victoria Police
Tracy Hammill – Yarra Primary School



Rochelle Darby
Manager Transitions, INLLEN
M 0408 036 602   E rdarby