JTD Transition Guide for Schools

An essential reference for all Primary and Secondary School Transition Coordinators

The Joining the Dots Transition Guide for Schools aims to be a highly practical digital reference for new Transition Coordinators, as well as a valuable refresher for those who are already in the role. It will emphasise transition as a continuum, but will focus on Year 4 to Year 9 transition – preparation, transfer, induction and consolidation.
This guide was developed as a resource for educators and wellbeing staff that brings together current research, good practice and useful tools into one easily accessible cross-sectoral guide.

Complementing the Guide are a number of other resources developed through the Joining the Dots (JTD) project. More information on the JTD action research project and links to these valuable resources are enclosed.

For maximum benefit, it is recommended that you work your way through each of the sections, following the links where appropriate to deepen your understanding or to access practical tools.

Download JTD Transition Guide (11mb)

Quick Links & Resource Documents

This following page is designed to accompany the Transition Guide. Below is the complete list of resource links, document files and Dimensions found in the guide.



0.4 Transition Practice Improvement Timeline 

Transition Practice Improvement Timeline


0.5 Secondary School Application process by sector 

Secondary School Application process by sector








Organisation and Resourcing

Organisations involved in transition using comprehensive evidence-based approaches to embed and communicate effective transition practice, supported by intentional structures, processes and resources.

The key strategy for this dimension of the JTD model is to implement the Transition Review Process. This includes the development of a comprehensive transition and engagement plan and transition improvement strategies embedded in the Annual Implementation Plan/Annual Action Plan.

Dimension 1 - Organisation and Resourcing

Sharing Knowledge and Practice

Primary and secondary schools working collaboratively and cooperatively to improve the transition experience of students and families.

Pivotal to improving transition practice as well as providing a safety net for transitioning students and their families are the development of strong links between primary and secondary schools and with community organisations and agencies.


Dimension 2 - Sharing Knowledge and Practice


Family and Community Engagement

Student learning is supported by families and the broader community working in partnership with the school.

Dimension 3 - Family and Community Engagement

Student Engagement

Students are fully participating in their education. They feel a sense of belonging and connectedness to school, are intrinsically motivated and self-regulating, and are well organised and socially competent.

Key strategies for student engagement in the transition years include fostering students’ relationships with peers and teachers, building their sense of belonging and providing intensive support for learning at school and at home.


Dimension 4 - Student Engagement


Student Voice

Students contributing to decision making about transition and collectively influencing transition outcomes by putting forward their ideas, views and concerns, and developing resources.

Dimension 5 - Student Voice




1. Joining the Dots Report 1 (2012) documenting the initial development and activities of the JTD Project

2. Joining the Dots Report 2 (2015) documenting the action Phases 2 and 3 of the JTD Project

3. Joining the Dots Report 3 (2018) documenting Phases 4, 5 and 6 of the JTD Project



More Resources

View the Joining The Dots Resource page for an extensive range of valuable transition resources that have been developed to support schools, students and parents. These include books, guides and videos.



Forums and Workshops

1. Joining the Dots Forum 2013 - Successful Transitions for Full Engagement (Year 5-Year 9)
Click here to view resources from the 2013 Joining the Dots Forum

2. Joining the Dots Forum 2015 - Successful Transitions for Full Engagement in Learning
Click here to view resources from the 2015 Joining the Dots Forum

3. Joining the Dots Forum 2017 - School-Family-Community Partnerships for Successful Transition and Engagement
Click here to view eight presentations from the 2017 Joining the Dots Forum

4. Middle Years Brain Development Workshop 2016 - Murdoch Children’s Research Institute
Response Ability Factsheet
Murdoch Children’s Research Institute – Middle Years
Brain Development – Response Ability Factsheet

5. Parent and Family Engagement Workshop 2017

Parent and Family Engagement – May 2017 Workshop PDF


We would like to acknowledge and thank the Steering Group member organisations and other community organisations for their strategic input and significant in-kind contributions to this guide:
Berry Street (School Focused Youth Service), Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Catholic Education Melbourne (CEM), Reservoir High School, Fitzroy High School, Seven Ways Consultancy, Foundation HouseThe Smith Family, Inner Northern LLEN (INLLEN), Trinity Catholic School (Richmond), Department of Education and Training (DET), Westbreen Primary School, Coburg High School, William Ruthven Secondary College, Lynall Hall Community School