Middle Schooling (Years 7-9)
Middle schooling is an intentional approach to the teaching, learning and pastoral needs of young people. There is no single model of middle schooling. Rather it includes a broad range of ways of organising Middle School including teaching and learning, pastoral and spiritual elements. Middle schooling usually refers to 10-15 year olds, or students in Grades 5-9, a period described as ‘early adolescence’. At Swan Christian College we believe that early adolescence is a unique time of development and aim to grow young people in knowledge and wisdom.
The 2009 Melbourne Declaration on the Educational Goals for Young Australians set the agenda for the Australian Curriculum. It has eight action areas, and one of these is enhancing the middle years of education, “Australian governments commit to working with all school sectors to ensure that schools provide programs that are responsive to students’ developmental and learning needs in the middle years, and which are challenging, engaging and rewarding” (MCEETYA, 2008 p.10). It is the first time Middle School has had its own statement at federal government level.
Leadership in the Middle School
Learning is the primary function of middle schooling. The Head of Middle School’s role is to improve learning at the College. I am assisted by a range of staff including a Deputy Head of Middle School, Mr Simon Bergin, who has primary responsibility for pastoral care and behaviour; and a Year 7 co-ordinator Mr Jarrod Heglund, acknowledging the special needs of students as they transition from Junior to Middle School. At Swan Christian College, we have conceptualised learning as an adventure and are encouraging our staff to engage students actively in their learning.
Relationship are crucial in Middle School. All the research speaks to this finding. All the research speaks to the heart. Young people want to belong and to be known. Identity, affirmation and belonging are crucial to student wellbeing. Pastoral care time each morning is an integral part of our school day. The pastoral care teacher is the student’s key mentor, and the first point of contact for parents. In addition, the team teaching model of Year 7 is used to nurture students. Small teams of teachers can know students and their caregivers more intimately.
The Bible has shared the same message about relationships for over 2,000 years. Christians believe relationship with Jesus is the cornerstone of experiencing the good life, of success. The Bible teaches that knowledge is a relationship. It is this knowledge, this joy, this understanding of the world that I hope will be at the centre of everything we do at Swan.
Mrs Christine Crump
Head of Middle School