Year 6 students are preparing for their first year of high school through the Building Links program.
This term students from St Xavier’s Primary School and Sacred Heart School in Boggabri are taking part in Year 7 literacy classes at St Mary’s College.
St Mary’s’ Leader of Pedagogy Millie Woolaston is working with fellow leaders Leisa Shortis from St Xavier’s and Colleen Howarth from Sacred Heart to run the program.
“The aim of the program was for Year 6 students to get an experience of what high school is like and to create a smoother transition into high school,” Ms Woolaston said.
St Xavier’s students have been participating in the program for two terms this year and Sacred Heart came on board this term. So far, Year 6 students have participated in TASCA, English, HSIE, science and literacy. English teachers from St Mary’s have also visited St Xavier’s to run classes.
Leisa Shortis said St Xavier’s students already attended orientation events at the school but she and Ms Woolaston felt more was needed.
“The idea behind it was to try and get kids to stay in Gunnedah and go to St Mary’s,” Ms Shortis said.
“It’s been really good because we’re on opposite sides of the road and we really haven’t had much to do with each other [before this program].”
Ms Shortist said the kids had originally found the concept of a high school worrying and scary because it was “the unknown” but now felt more comfortable after spending time in St Mary’s’ classrooms.
“It’s been really good to get them going into six weeks of holidays without that extra stress,” she said.
Sacred Heart’s Leader of Pedagogy Colleen Howarth said it was “lovely” of the Gunnedah schools to invite the Boggabri school to participate this term.
“We just wanted [the Year 6 students] to be a bit more immersed in the high school,” Ms Howarth said.
“Ours also caught the bus in so they could get used to the idea.”