A guided transition

By the time students finish Year 5, they area are ready for new challenges and excited to embrace a broader range of experiences. By Year 6, many students are also ready for new faces and new places, ready to establish the new routines and friendship groups that will help them to make a success of their high school journey. The Year 6 program at Helena College provides a gentle introduction to secondary school in a safe and caring environment.

Year 6 is our main intake year at our Glen Forrest Campus and marks the beginning of Middle School (Years 6- 9).

Year 6 at Helena College has much in common with the primary school experience everywhere. Each class has a dedicated classroom teacher who is from a primary school background.  The students spend around 65 per cent of their day with their teacher, developing positive relationships that set them up well for a successful secondary school environment. The classroom teacher takes the students for their core subjects and the rest of the day is spent with specialist teachers. 

Our Year 6 students have specialist subject teachers for Physical and Health Education, Music, Visual Arts, Languages, Media and Food Science, along with access to the dedicated facilities that support learning in these areas. Year 6s also have a comprehensive introduction to the use of laptops and other digital technologies.

The students learn the content of the Western Australian Curriculum, organised through the lens of the Helena College Teaching and Learning Framework. Students are required to study  Languages, (English and French/Indonesian), as well as Arts, Design and Technologies, Humanities, Mathematics, Science and Physical and Health Education.

Students are housed in the self-contained Year 6 precinct which features a nature play area for their exclusive use, a covered multi-sport courtyard, dedicated toilets, storage for their school bags as well as classrooms that provide for best practice in teaching and learning with flexible spaces to accommodate working individually as well as in small and large groups.

 The Year 6 area is off-limits to other students, unless invited. Year 6s are free to explore the rest of the Glen Forrest Campus should they want to, and many enjoy spending recess or lunch in the gym or on the oval, in the library or at the canteen. Everywhere they venture, they are treated with the respect and kindness that is a hallmark of the Helena community.

 Since introducing Year 6 to Middle School at the Glen Forrest Campus in 2016, we have seen the many ways that our students benefit from the program. It is a nurturing and scaffolded transition to a high school environment that sets them up for success in the crucial years ahead.
— Anne-Marie Lee, Head of Year 6

Frequently Asked Questions

The College’s purpose-built Year 6 teaching and learning centre opened in 2016, with our first cohort of Year 6s at the Glen Forrest Campus. The following questions are often asked by parents considering Year 6 at Helena College for their child.

Q: What is the Year 6 environment like, and what facilities are there?

A: The Year 6 area has been carefully designed to allow the students to enjoy their own space, while still being able to access the rest of the College as required.

 Q: What play areas can the students use?

A: Many of the Year 6s enjoy playing in their undercover area, using the Year 6 sports equipment for games like basketball or handball. There is also a nature play area with climbing frames and other equipment that is reserved for them. As they become more confident, Year 6s often access other parts of the school. During lunchtimes and recess, many can be found in the library or on the oval, using the hard courts or venturing into the gymnasium to join older students for an impromptu game.

Q: Is there a separate drop off/pick up zone?

A: Yes, families can use the carpark adjacent to the Year 6 classrooms for drop off and pick up.

Q: How many teachers will my Year 6 student come into contact with each week?

The Year 6 students have one main teacher who may teach several subjects, as they would in a traditional primary school setting. They have a range of specialist teachers, covering additional lessons in Physical and Health Education, Food Science and Technology, Design and Technologies, Languages, Media, Visual Arts and Drama.

Q: What extra-curricular opportunities are available?

A: Year 6s are able to participate in a range of extra-curricular activities, ranging from sporting teams, homework club, robotics club, drama club, music ensembles etc.  These may run before or after school or at lunchtimes.

Q: What does a typical Year 6 day look like?

A: Students arrive by 8.30am at the latest. They are in class with their dedicated classroom teacher for much of the day, with some specialist teachers coming to the Year 6 area for lessons but students also move to specific areas for other classes. They have recess and lunch breaks and finish the school day at 3.15pm although parents are advised to come around 3.25pm to collect their child.

Q: Are the Year 6s helped to develop homework and study routines?

A: This is part of the classroom teachers role and there are many other ways that the College supports developing these important skills.  We have an online study skills program available to all students and the Teacher-Librarian offers information skill development in specialist library sessions. There is also a Homework Club run after school where there is support for the students.

Q: What pastoral care support processes are in place?

A: The first point of contact for pastoral care issues regarding a Year 6 student’s general welfare and progress is their class teacher, followed by the Head of Year 6, Head of Senior Campus and Principal. Specialist guidance and support is also available from the psychologist located at the Glen Forrest Campus.

Q: Is there a transition process for the incoming Year 6s?

A: There is a very successful transition programme for Year 6 students including Orientation Day in Term Four the previous year, a camp in Term One and the Peer Support program during Term One. We also have welcome morning tea events for parents as we understand that it is also a transition for them.

Q: What leadership opportunities are there?

A: All Year 6 students can nominate for a leadership team that builds from an initial six students to a full team of 24 students by the end of the year. Voted in by their peers, these leaders are called upon to make their contributions through their ideas and actions. Previous Year 6 leaders have contributed ideas for improving the bush play area, and organised lunchtime activities for their peers. 

Q: How many students will be in each class?

A: Each class of Year 6s will have an average of 24 students. The specialist classes may have smaller class numbers, depending on the subject. There is a maximum of four Year 6 classes.

Q: Can I enrol my child to start in Year 7 instead of Year 6?

A: We welcome all applications, however, Year 6 is our main intake year for the Glen Forrest Campus. Enrolment at Year 7 is dependent on the availability of places. If for example, the preceding Year 6 cohort is at capacity, no additional places are added when the group begin Year 7. If however, there are withdrawals from the Year 6 cohort at the end of the year, these slots may be opened up to families looking for a Year 7 entry, but this is not guaranteed.