Senior Pathways &
VET programs for Secondary Students

Updated June 2017

Alicia Stevenson
Wellington High School

(Trained in 2011)

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." - Nelson Mandela

"Every student can learn, just not the same day or in the same way" - George Evans

My School:

Wellington High School services a rural community in central New South Wales and provides a comprehensive curriculum for Years 7 to 12 in a caring and supportive environment, providing programs which cater for students of all abilities. It is the sole secondary education provider for Years 11 and 12 in the Wellington area. The school has 347 students, 48% of whom are Aboriginal and 3% LBOTE.

'Achievement for all students' is a focus of school programs. The school has formed strong community partnerships to support the needs of young people in Wellington.

My primary role in the school:

As Head Teacher Transition / Vocational Education and Training I lead a team to support the transition of students from Year 6 into 7, Year 10 into 11 and post school pathways.

My role as Transition Adviser:

At Wellington High School students are targeted through the Learning Support Team (LST) and the school executive team.

I lead the Careers and Transition Team (CATT) in our school. The team approach enables us to provide all students with a variety of educational pathways.

There are no targeted students. We have chosen to include all students by offering a diverse curriculum to cater for all student needs.

My major achievements in this role:

Implementing a mandatory Year 10 interview process where all Year 10 students and parents/carers are invited to attend. This process enables students the opportunity to discuss future goals/aspirations and how to achieve these, including curriculum pathways for their senior schooling. This process has empowered students to be more connected in education and post school possibilities, with few subject changes in Year 11. Parental support in this interview process is important as it provides greater encouragement, fulfilment and communication with parents. It also aids the school to work with the parents to guide and support students in making informed decisions about their future. Parents leave the school gates feeling a sense of worth and their value in the educational process.

There has been a significant increase in Year 6 into 7 enrolments due to the variety of transition programs we offer. This includes fortnightly transition afternoons at the high school to enable transitioning primary students to become familiar with the school and day to day activities. Several visits by high school staff to partner schools enables them to see the level of student achievement (sporting, cultural and academic). Year 6 Orientation Day gives students a taste of high school life by following a timetable of classes. Parents are invited to attend a lunch and school tour on this day.

I lead a transition team of experts, which includes myself as Head Teacher Transition, Year Adviser ,our literacy and numeracy experts (LASTS), primary school Year 6 Principals, teachers, LASTs and school counsellor . Each year a professional exchange of student information (SMART Data, PLPs, attendance data, risk assessments etc) helps to generate appropriate classes for each student.

The challenges I have experienced:

I was new to the school in 2010 and had to not only gain the respect from students but staff as well. I first tried to change things on my own accord, but realised quickly that a team approach would be more effective. There are always people who want to help, so let them and then work on other members to join in who have an influence on others. It can be difficult to implement change in a school and it does take time for staff to adopt new approach. I had to use small steps.

One of my challenges was training two new Careers Advisers while implementing a whole school careers approach to the curriculum. I had to be well organized and had a lot of Career and Transition Team meetings to establish short and long term goals. It is important to have senior executive to support your future directions.

What I have learnt in this role:

To access your allies and community and to work with a team in providing opportunities for students as it is much more effective.

The impact of the Transition Adviser initiative on the school and its community:

Implementation of whole school careers program and raising awareness that all students are not cut out for university.

Supporting students to set goals for their future no matter what pathway they chose to embrace.

The use of the Student Pathways Survey has been instrumental in this process, together with the development of a careers database for all students. This also assists the Career and Transition Team to seek opportunities for students to keep them engaged in education.

The establishment of a mandatory Year 10 Interview process was required in our school as there were too many students going onto Year 11 disinterested and not having a plan as to where they want to be post school. This process was put in place to identify student strengths and to set short and long term goals for each student.

We look at the curriculum offerings for Year 11 and guide and support the students in their subject selection. Parents/Carers feel a sense of belonging in their child's education by participating in the interviews, as each student's attendance, achievements and, if appropriate, N-Awards are discussed. This year almost 90% of parents/carers attended these interviews and commented in a school survey that it was a worthwhile process. All information discussed in this interview is recorded on our database for future reference.

The above impacts have led to a number of positive outcomes for our school and its community. These include:

My school's vision for the Transition Adviser position in the future:

The Transition Adviser role at Wellington High School is critical in ensuring that all students are able to plan their future by making informed decisions by understanding their educational and career opportunities. The Transition Adviser will continue to work with the Senior Executive, Executive, Year Patrons and Careers Adviser and the community to ensure a well negotiated plan of action and good communication between all parties. Our three year plan is to:

My story:

I commenced the role of Head Teacher Transition/VET in August 2010. This role required me to lead the transition of students from Year 6 into 7, Year 10 into 11and post school pathways. The priority direction from my principal was a need to improve the transition of students from Year 6 into Year 7. As a result I put in place a number of events for our partner primary schools to attend to aid the transition of their students to high school. In addition to what I've already mentioned above, we included:

he next challenge in my role was the retirement of the Careers Adviser and no appropriate replacement for some time. I took on this role. When a Careers Adviser was assigned it was my role to train them. This happened three times and I found this very challenging. I had to be highly organised and set time aside to implement this support.

The first strategy I implemented was a mandatory Year 10 Interview process. There was a need for this process as I had never taught the senior students and this was a method I used to get to know these students. It enabled me to better guide and support students to making informed decisions.

All of this information is entered into our careers database; it makes it easy to sort information for particular guest speakers from different institutions. While doing this process I found a lot of students had little thought on post school pathways or desire to attend university.

I saw this as an opportunity to adopt a whole school careers program to create awareness amongst the students of a range of possible career directions. Obviously this was going to be a huge change in our school where careers had little focus and therefore would have to be achieved over a number of years.

The first step was getting careers lessons put onto the timetable. This was a challenge: which subject would lose lesson time etc? With great persistence, determination and great support from my principal we are progressing well. I have to keep reminding myself of small steps towards positive change is the most effective way.

Below is a timeline of the current priorities in the Wellington High School Careers Program. There are a number of workshops held by different institutions which also which fit in around these events.

With the implementation of these strategies there has been a significant increase in student confidence to achieve greater results in their senior schooling due to goals set and a connection to possible future directions. Our school is seeing an increase in success in our post school destination data, whether it be full time employment, apprenticeships / traineeships or further study at TAFE or University.