In 2010 The Connected Schools group, commenced a feasibility study into the inclusion of Year 7 students into a Secondary School setting. While nationally this is the norm, most Year 7 students in South Australia are still in a primary school setting. The finding of our study showed that there were many benefits to be gained from transitioning Year 7 students into high school, results that we could not ignore when looking at the best possible outcomes for the students at all Connected Schools sites.
Effecting the change was not undertaken quickly, nor was it done without proper planning and consideration of the needs of these younger students. This was to be the biggest change to the Connected Schools group structure in our history and would require the support of staff, students and parents at all Connected School sites.
Learners in the middle years have specific social and learning needs. Curriculum planning across Connected Schools sites was extensive and was linked to an exploration of the relational and physical environments that optimise well-being and support individual learning pathways.
A purpose built Middle Years facility was constructed at Endeavour College, architecturally designed to provide state of the art technology and flexible learning spaces, mirroring similar developments in the primary settings, to specifically cater to the needs of the younger high school student.
On February 5th, 2016 Endeavour College welcomed almost 200 Year 7 and 8 students into the newly created Middle Years classrooms. Students in theses year levels now have access to a much broader and varied curriculum than their counterparts in primary school settings, all the while receiving the basic support and guidance from their core classroom teachers.
While still in early days the feedback received from parents, staff and students themselves has been overwhelmingly positive. Students in Year 7 have joined the secondary school community with enthusiasm and excitement.