Joining the Dots

Primary to Secondary School transition occurs during a period of time in a young person’s life that coincides with rapid physical, emotional, social and cognitive developments impacting on their connection to school and learning as a whole. It is widely accepted across the regions we work with, that a successful transition to secondary school is a key factor in determining whether young people remain engaged in education, complete secondary school and transition into positive career pathways.

In 2012 the Joining the Dots Project (originally called the Yarra Primary Secondary School Transition Project) was initiated in the City of Yarra to identify, implement and evaluate a transition model for young people, their families, the community sector and schools to ensure young people transition well from primary to secondary school, remain engaged in education and connected to their learning. Five years later, Joining the Dots now encompasses four collaborative school-community projects (Yarra, Darebin, Moreland, and Reservoir), and has contributed to building the capacity of at least 22 schools to prioritise and implement strategies to improve the transition journey for students and families and ultimately their engagement in learning.


Primary to secondary transition was initially highlighted as an area of concern in INLLEN’s 2010 Education Forum in Yarra, and in subsequent community discussions via the Yarra Youth Commitment. In 2012, the Yarra Primary Secondary School Transition Project came to fruition with three year funding (2012-2014) from the City of Yarra to develop an evidence-based Model for Transition in Yarra that could be replicated and scaled. At the time, the Project aligned with the implementation of Council’s Middle Years’ Strategy.

Yarra Transition Model

A further three years of funding (2015-2017) from the City of Yarra has enabled the newly titled Joining the Dots (JTD) Project to implement and evaluate the Transition Model across Yarra.

With such momentum from Yarra, JTD expanded into Darebin (2015-2017), Moreland (2016-2017) and Reservoir (2017), with funding support from Council and School Focused Youth Service. Each of these projects draw upon the Transition Model developed by Yarra JTD, and are adapted to the needs and resources of the local schools and their communities.

What’s New

Resource – Preparing for Secondary School: Guide for Parents 2017
This is a valuable conversation tool and companion to secondary school application packs. It has been developed to help guide parents/families through the process of selecting a secondary school, applying, enrolling and supporting learning at home. While this Resource is suitable for any locale, it also contains specific information about Yarra secondary schools.
Download a high res file for printing PDF (11.6MB)
Download a low res file for viewing online PDF (2.5 MB)

Translated versions
Arabic version – Download the PDF
Chinese version – Download the PDF
Somalian version – Download the PDF
Vietnamese version – Download the PDF


Forum – Joining the Dots 2017 – 2 August 2017
Educators and community agencies discovered and explored School-Family-Community Partnerships for improved transition and engagement in learning at the Joining the Dots 2017 Forum held on the 2nd of August. A full day’s program featured international keynote speaker, Dr George Otero, practical and interactive workshops and plenty of professional networking opportunities!
Explore and download resources from the forum


Kids Own Publishing Book and Digital Case Studies Launch, JTD Moreland – November 29
This event will be a joint launch showcasing two major resources focusing on primary to secondary school transition arising from the Joining the Dots Moreland Project in 2017. Watch this space for more information about this event.


Free Yarra Bus Tour – 2 November, 2017
Back by popular demand, this walking talking tour of another four of Yarra’s richly diverse primary schools is a must for Yarra secondary educators and community agency workers. Meet the Principal, key transition team members and students and explore each school’s teaching and learning environment. Past participants have equally valued the networking opportunities available with others on the bus.
Thursday 2 November, 2017 – 8.45am – 1.30pm

8.45am: Meet at Fitzroy North PS
9–9.45am: Fitzroy North PS
10–10.45am: Sacred Heart School
11–11.45am: Collingwood College PS
12–12.45pm: Richmond West PS
1.15pm: Return to collect cars
1.30pm: Close

Register via Eventbrite here.
Download the JTD Yarra Bus Tour flyer.
Please contact Rochelle Darby, Manager Transitions, on 0408 036 602 or email


Digital Case Studies Launch – JTD Reservoir – November TBA
This event will celebrate the launch of the Digital Case Studies resource arising from the JTD Reservoir Project involving William Ruthven Secondary College and a feeder primary school. There will be three videos exploring transition into a small co-ed school setting from the perspective of student, parent/family and school.

Joining the Dots Workshop 2017

Information for Schools

Why transition and engagement?

A successful transition from primary to secondary school is a key factor in effective engagement in learning. Joining the Dots takes the transition mindset beyond the administrative transfer of students from Year 6 to Year 7, to a developmental journey from Year 5 to 9 for students and their families, as they settle in and manage themselves and their learning in a secondary environment.

In JTD, parents are identified as partners in learning as overwhelmingly, the research shows that parents who are engaged in their child’s learning play a key role in improved student and school outcomes.

Our JTD projects have included the following components for Schools:

A three step self reflective process that is facilitated by a JTD Project Officer over three 1.5-2 hour sessions, to support schools to review, update and develop their transition and engagement program (Year 5 – 9).

All schools that complete the TRP are invited to form a Transition Cluster with local partner schools for the purpose of shared professional learning, collaborative partnerships, process consistency, collegial support and ongoing dialogue. Each Cluster determines its own Terms of Reference to ensure that it is useful and meaningful to its members.

Schools have been supported in their JTD Project by a Steering Group that includes partnerships with community agencies, cluster schools, local Council, Department Education and Training, Catholic Education Melbourne, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, and INLLEN.

JTD offers a variety of professional development opportunities for all Schools in the Cities of Darebin, Moreland and Yarra. These opportunities have included Bus Tours, Forums, and Workshops covering topics including Transition 101, Parent and Family Engagement, School-Family-Community Partnerships, Supporting students of refugee background in mainstream schools and Understanding middle years brain development and its affect on engagement.

For more information about any of these JTD initiatives, please contact:

Rochelle Darby
Manager Transitions, INLLEN
M 0408 036 602   E

Information for Agencies

“Securing equity, inclusion and social justice for every person and child in today’s world requires an active partnership for learning across school and community.”  – George Otero

A successful transition from primary to secondary school is a key factor in effective engagement in learning. Joining the Dots 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).

Students, families and schools all need support during these eventful years and agencies are well placed to provide this in partnership with schools. A large component of Joining the Dots projects involves building the capacity of school staff, students and families and we welcome community partners that can offer their expertise including programmatic support, professional development opportunities and practical resources.

For more information about JTD and how you can be a partner, please contact:

Rochelle Darby
Manager Transitions, INLLEN
M 0408 036 602   E