At Caritas College, Year 7 students are incorporated into our Year 7-9 Middle School.
The Middle Years of schooling should provide opportunities for all young adolescents to learn and grow in ways that acknowledge and respect this special phase in their development.
Effective middle schooling practices acknowledge students' needs, and effective middle schooling curriculum is:
Safe School Environment
Students are supported by a home class teacher who has primary oversight of the learning and wellbeing needs of students in the home class. The pastoral care program focusses on a range of wellbeing topics. Specialist teachers are very cognisant of WHS considerations and incorporate this into the teacher and learning programs where students access specialist facilities (e.g. Tech Studies workshop, Science laboratories, Home Ec kitchen, etc).
Australian Curriculum/Specialist Teachers and Facilities
One catalyst for the proposal at Caritas College arose out of the introduction of the Australian Curriculum. There is a case for suggesting that the curriculum requirements at Year 7 level in this curriculum framework is best delivered to students by specialist teachers and using specialist facilities. This is generally not accessible in traditional R-7 educational settings.
Middle Schooling Practices
Caritas College is in a prime position to be able to cater for the learning needs of Year 7s as middle years learners, with access to a small number of teachers, including a stronger relationship enabled with the home class teacher, as well as learning utilising the specialist facilities.
Strong Grounding for Transition into Year 8
Another benefit of this model will be gained through enabling strong transition into Year 8 where students have a wider range of specialist teachers, and gradually progressing through the secondary years with increased independence for learning.
We also firmly believe that Year 7 students are ready for this model of schooling, and in many ways have 'grown out of' the primary model of education which works effectively for younger students.
Whilst the variety of teachers with subject specialisation will benefit students' learning as outlined above, some students may take some time to develop strong learning relationships with a greater number of teachers. It is envisaged that the role of the home class teacher will be pivotal in this transition period.