Year 6 FAQs

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.

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

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. There are dedicated toilets, storage for their school bags as well as play and activity areas that are just for them. The classrooms 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 buildings are close to administration where there is support from the Student Services team as well as access to first aid facilities.

 What play areas can the students use?

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.

Is there a separate drop off/pick up zone?

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

Curriculum questions

Why are Year 6s included in the high school at Helena College?

The decision to bring Year 6 into the high school was based on the many benefits of enabling students to undertake the first year of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programme (MYP). The MYP is designed to begin in Year 6 and provides a teaching framework for delivering the content of the Western Australian curriculum. By engaging with their learning through the IB, students develop into independent learners with strong personal values and a global outlook.

For more information, please see the College’s IB MYP page or visit the IB website. 

What does the Year 6 curriculum look like?

The students learn the content of the Western Australian Curriculum, organised through the framework of the MYP. Students are required to study two Languages, (English and either French or Indonesian), as well as Arts, Design and Technologies, Humanities, Mathematics, Science and Physical and Health Education.

Are the Year 6 teachers trained in primary or secondary teaching?

The Year 6 teachers are primary/lower secondary trained, with an interest and/or experience in IB MYP. Students are with their dedicated Year 6 teacher for approximately 65 per cent of the time.

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. They have a range of specialist teachers, covering additional lessons in Physical and Health Education, Food Science and Technology, Design and Technologies, Media, Visual Arts and Drama.

Does the IB MYP prepare students for WACE courses?

One of the key principles of the IB Middle Years Programme is the productive partnership between teacher and student. Through engaging with aspects of IB such as the Learner Profile, MYP students develop a strong understanding of how they learn best. This gives them a host of strategies that equip them to get the most from their studies in Upper School and beyond.

What extra-curricular opportunities are available?

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.

Will the students be involved in community service?

All Helena College students undertake Service and Action as part of our vision, mission and values, and the mission statement of the IB MYP. Year 6s are also be required to undertake Service and Action and to keep an online log of their community service.

What enrichment programmes are there?

There is an after-school homework club as well as support within lesson time for those students who have learning differences and require academic support. Extension activities for students include such programmes as Opti-MINDS, Da Vinci Decathlon, Robotics Club, Coder Dojo and others.

Is there a camp?

Yes, Year 6s go on camp in Term One. You can find more information about our camps programme here.

What does a typical Year 6 day look like?

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.

Do the Year 6s have assemblies?

Yes – from Term Two onwards Year 6s attend the Middle School assemblies which are held every 2-3 weeks each term. Parents are most welcome to attend.

Do the Year 6s have laptops?

The Year 6s are part of the College’s laptop programme and receive their device early in Term One.  We hold parent information evenings in Term One so parents can learn more about the laptops and how to best support their child’s usage, including setting boundaries for the children.

How do the teachers monitor ICT use/cyber safety for the students?

Teachers have the facility to use ‘remote desktop’, allowing them to view what is on screen for every student. The College has a no Facebook policy on College laptops and games are not permitted, except when supervised/required by teachers. Cyber safety is addressed in many subjects and is also covered at the parent laptop evening.

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

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 programme 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.

Pastoral care questions

What pastoral care support processes are in place?

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 Director of Middle School and/or Deputy Principal as appropriate. Specialist guidance and support is also available from the College Counsellor.

The Glen Forrest Campus has a student services team, comprised of the College Psychologist, Deputy Principal – Operations, Director of Middle School and Director of Upper School. This team’s focus is student wellbeing. They meet regularly to plan, discuss and implement processes and strategies to ensure that each student is safe and supported.

What is the College policy on bullying?

The College has a no tolerance policy for bullying. The student services team is readily accessible and acts immediately on referrals from staff members. The student services team keeps parents informed about student issues.

We also have a well established and highly regarded Peer Support Leaders programme to help the Year 6s to settle into their new environment. The programme provides the younger students with a friendly face among the older students. The Peer Support Leaders are specially selected and trained Year 10 students, who must undergo a rigorous process to be part of the programme. In Term One the Peer Support Leaders and Year 6 students meet in small groups every Friday, playing games and completing fun tasks that are designed to build resilience and strengthen relationships.

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

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 programme during Term One. We also have welcome morning tea events for parents as we understand that it is also a transition for them.

What leadership opportunities are there?

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. Year 6s can also be elected to the Years 6-12 Student Council, to have their say at a school-wide level.

General questions

How can Year 6 parents get involved in the Helena community?

There are opportunities for parents to volunteer their time to help in the canteen as well as being called upon to contribute as the need arises for sports carnivals, drama club and more.  We also have an active P&F Association, with volunteers taking on the role of Year Level Representatives who often organise social and other get-togethers for parents and children.

          How many students will be in each class?

Each class of Year 6s will have an average of 24 students. The specialist classes may have smaller class numbers, depending on the subject.

Questions from students

           What will the work be like in Year 6?

Naturally each year, the work gets a little bit harder but nothing more than students are ready for. You will have your own classroom teacher for 65 per cent of the time and then have specialist teachers for sport, library, media, drama, visual art, technology and others.

The biggest difference is that all subjects are studied with equal time allocation. Students are required to study a second language (French or Indonesian), humanities (social science), sciences, mathematics, arts, physical education and technology.

          How much homework will we have?

There will be some homework given by teachers to consolidate what’s being taught in class.  Sometimes it may be 30 minutes, sometimes a bit more and sometimes a bit less. Even on days with no homework, there will always be about 20 minutes reading to do and tables to learn. There will be weekly spelling and maths revision linked to class concepts.

           How long will we have for playtime?

Recess is 20 minutes and lunchtime is 45 minutes, except on Tuesdays when lunch is for one hour.

          Will we be able to go to all areas of the campus?

Year 6s will spend most of their time in and around the Year 6 area, but students can access the oval, the gymnasium, the library, the canteen and other areas as required.

          Is there a canteen?

Yes, and it is open every day at recess and lunchtime.

          Can Year 6s join sports teams?

Yes of course. We have lots of different sports teams that Year 6s can join as well a whole range of other clubs and music ensembles.

If you have any questions that are not answered here, please contact the relevant staff member by calling 9298 9100.

Anne Kinsella, Registrar – for registration and enrolment

Cathy Light, Director of Middle School – for general Middle School inquiries

Bob Simpson, Deputy Principal – Curriculum  – for IB Middle Years Programme

Susan Boyett, Director of Student Services – for pastoral care

Anne-Marie Lee, Year 6 Team Leader – for general Year 6 inquiries

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