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Parental advice for school leavers

Here’s some tips for what you can do to make your child’s transition to life after school as smooth as possible.

Man crouches next to lawnmower

With lots of big decisions to make and your teenager’s brain still maturing, leaving school can be an exciting and scary time for you and your child. But you don’t have to do it alone. Your child’s school is there to support your child in choosing the right learning options for them and helping them plan for their future. Here’s some tips for what you can do to make your child’s transition to life after school as smooth as possible.

Start planning early

In Year 10, your child’s school will work with you and your child to design a Senior Education and Training Plan for your child. This plan encourages your child to think about their education, training and career goals after they finish school and can help them work out which subjects and learning pathways can help them achieve their goal. These plans are flexible and can be updated throughout the senior years of schooling.

Nurture their spark

Is your child one of those kids who says they have no idea what they want to do with their life? You are not alone. Many young people struggle to work out what they want to do after they finish school. Finding their spark can help them build their confidence and see that learning can be fun. Their spark could be a subject at school or something creative like music or art, or even a physical activity they enjoy. If you’ve been talking to your teenager and feel like you’re getting somewhere, spend some time with them exploring their spark and see how you can help them nurture it in a positive way and use it to ignite their learning and help them make plans for their future.

Talk to the school’s guidance officer

Guidance officers can help with learning and academic performance, study skills and planning, subject selection, career advice, and applications for post-school study, training and employment pathways so they are an ideal person for you and your child to talk to when your child is preparing for their life after school. Details of how to contact a guidance officer at your child’s school are usually on the school website. If you cannot find this information, simply contact the school administration and they will help put you in touch with the school guidance officer.

Seek help after they leave school

The ‘Link and Launch’ program is for young people who recently completed Year 12 and have not found a study, work or training pathway that works for them. To access the program, a young person must live in an area surrounding the small number of schools that host the program. These young people can get one-on-one support from a specially trained person to help them make decisions about their future and link them to education, employment and training opportunities that will help them achieve their goals. If you have a child who is due to finish Year 12 this year or completed Year 12 last year and is struggling to move into further study, training or work, find out if the Link and Launch program is available near you. Read more about the Link and Launch program.

You are not alone

Remember that there are lots of resources available to help you and your child think about the future and plan for it. The team at your child’s school can help you and there’s plenty of other resources for parents and carers. If you have worked closely with your child’s school but need further help planning for your teen’s future, you should contact your local Department of Education regional office to seek support. Each regional office has a team of experts who understand how the education system works, have strong connections with local schools, and who know how to get support for young people who are struggling at school.

Last Updated: 24 January 2023