Mateship a struggle for young high school students

MAKING new mates is one of the hardest things children face when leaving primary school behind.

The Australian Institute of Family Studies Longitudinal Study of Australian Children researchers reveal the trend in a report released today. 

Researchers looked at the experiences of 2299 11 to 13-year-olds as during their first year of high school.

The study says 15% of children and 17% of parents had some type of difficulty with the transition to secondary school.

The main problem was forming friendships.

"Children then reported other difficulties such as missing friends from the previous school and being required to do more homework. Parents reported other difficulties as coping with a larger school and more students and dealing with more school subjects and different teachers," the study executive manager Dr Ben Edwards said.

"The least difficulty reported by both children and parents was managing different travel arrangements to and from the new school."

The study found emotional and behavioural concerns were the most important influence in children coping with the big move.

"Given that friendship is a major challenge faced by many children during their transition to secondary school, children with fewer social and emotional problems are more likely to find making friends easier," Dr Edwards said.

"Children whose parents rated them as having socio-emotional problems such as hyperactivity, emotional and behavioural issues and trouble relating to peers were more likely to experience difficulties transitioning to secondary school.

"The report also found that children who had overwhelmingly positive experiences in primary school generally experienced fewer difficulties during the transition to secondary school."

Dr Edwards said persistence was the most important temperament factor associated with stepping up a grade.

"The ability to work towards the completion of a task and not give up easily is a key skill linked to succeeding at school," he said.

"Children who are persistent may be more capable of taking on the additional learning tasks in secondary school and less likely to experience difficulties."


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