1H Key transition points in the schooling years


Tanya Judge,
Centacare Wilcannia-Forbes

Kathryn Kent,
Centacare Wilcannia-Forbes

Wednesday November 21 2018

Time: 1:30pm – 2:00pm

Room: Kuranda Ballroom

1H Key transition points in the schooling years

Transition from Primary School to Secondary School Research Project- Enhancing Mental Health Wellbeing



Tanya Judge (Program Manager CentaCare Wilcannia-Forbes) and Kathryn Kent (Team Leader Family Mental Health Support Service, CentaCare Wilcannia-Forbes) in partnership with Charles Sturt University, conducted a 12 month research project to analyse and identify the needs of young people transitioning from primary school to high school in rural and remote communities. Family Mental Health Support Service (FMHSS) focuses on providing early intervention and support for vulnerable families showing early signs of, or at risk of developing mental illness. During consultation with School Principles to identify gaps in services and needs it was suggested that support for children struggling with the transition to secondary school was a need.

The research involved three discrete sources of information to examine the specific needs of young people aged 10-14 years transitioning to secondary school and review existing evidence that could inform the development of evidence-based interventions.

  1. Analysis of FMHSS referral and service usage data
  2. A comprehensive literature review ‘supporting emotional wellbeing during the transition to secondary school in regional Australia”
  3. Findings from a qualitative project designed to ‘Investigate rural teachers’ perspectives of young people’s transition from primary to high school.

The research findings recommended four key strategies to support the emotional wellbeing of young people transitioning to secondary school:

  1. Actively engage with primary schools to identify vulnerable students in year six
  2. Investigate year six students’ concerns in regard to transition to year seven
  3. Enhance data collection for 10-14 year old young people referred to FMHSS and
  4. Evaluate existing strategies already in place to support transition.

This presentation will look at the research methods and findings more closely and discuss how this project has informed current best practice interventions and the development of a pilot evidence-based transition program for year six and year seven students and their support person to assist with transition.


Tanya Judge has approximately 20 years’ experience working in the Mental Health field. This experience is vast with extensive clinical and managerial experience in array of acute and community settings both in the government and non-government sector.

Kathryn Kent expertise is in providing person centred, strength-based service delivery within rural and regional communities. Current focus is on early intervention mental health support of children and young people; and ethical considerations of presenting lived experience of mental health issues.