What to expect in high school

Starting high school is an exciting time for students as well as their parents and carers.

Going to high school will be a new experience for your child. The school is likely to be much bigger than their primary school, and your child may experience a slight sense of unfamiliarity at first. Instead of being a senior in a small school, they are now a beginner in a big school. However, it is also an exciting time with many opportunities and a broader curriculum.

New experiences

From day one, there will be many changes to get used to including having a number of different teachers in different classrooms, often spread across a larger campus.

Set classes, or 'periods', focus on particular subjects and may be longer than what your child experienced in primary school. Students may carry around notes and books, which can be heavy, from class to class.

New ways of learning

Year 7 students will be expected to be more independent and self-motivated than in primary school. Lessons will often be more student-centred and require a greater level of independence in learning.

New teachers

In high school, students usually have 8 or more teachers. They may also have a student adviser or year adviser to coordinate their activities. Teachers will become resources and guides, rather than instructors. There are also head teachers for different key learning areas, and classmates can vary from class to class.


Students are given timetables with subjects, times and room locations listed. They need to check their timetables each night to make sure they have the correct books, equipment and homework completed for the next day’s classes. If they have sport or personal development, health and physical education (PDHPE), they may need to pack their sports uniform and shoes. Reading and understanding timetables can take some time to get used to, and moving from room to room might unsettle and tire them.


Your child will have access to a wide range of technology tools and services. Teachers expertly integrate these tools to enhance the teaching and learning experience of students. Tools include online platforms to facilitate digital classrooms, and applications to allow students to consume and create multi-modal experiences.

Students will also engage with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and digital technology tools to develop skills for their future. Each school and teacher will choose the best digital tools for the task to meet key learning intentions.

New friends

Making new friends can be an exciting but also challenging part of starting high school. Students often come from a variety of primary schools, and they may find themselves in classes filled with children they don’t know. If they can find people they like and who share their interests, it will help motivate them and increase their self-esteem and sense of belonging.

Peer pressure

Making new friends and a desire to fit in sometimes means students do things they might not normally do – just so they can be liked or be one of the crowd. Let your child know they don’t have to do everything their peers do. Make sure the friendships they make are genuine and positive, not based on pressure or conformity. A valuable message is that a real friend is someone who likes them for who they are.

Mobile phones

Your child is not allowed to use their mobile phone or any personal digital device while they’re at school. This ban applies during class, recess and lunch. However, principals and teachers have the authority to allow the use of personal digital devices for educational purposes or if it is necessary for a student's learning, health, or wellbeing.

If you need to contact your child during school hours or if they need to contact you, the school can help organise communication. Check with your school about their specific procedures regarding mobile phone use on school grounds, at school related activities and outside of school.

Did you know?
Your child will have access to Adobe, Microsoft and Google software with free, filtered internet email and unlimited secure cloud storage in the classroom.

Voluntary school contributions

All NSW public schools can request contributions to enhance educational and sporting programs. School contributions are voluntary, so you can choose whether to pay them.

Financial assistance for elective subjects

Schools may charge for elective subjects that go beyond the minimum needs of the curriculum. Parents who are unable to pay for elective subjects because of financial hardship may be eligible for assistance from the school.

The principal will ensure no student or family suffers any discrimination or embarrassment if they don’t make a voluntary or subject contribution.


  • Teaching and learning


  • Curriculum
  • High school
  • Learning

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  • Communication and Engagement
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