Curriculum in the Middle Years of Schooling
Middle schooling is an educational approach designed to better cater for the physical, social, emotional, moral and cognitive needs of young people. At JSRACS it provides a bridge between the primary and secondary phases of schooling by creating an educational environment specifically tailored to the needs of young adolescent learners in Years 7, 8 and 9.
Middle School teachers at John Septimus Roe Anglican Community School are committed to providing an appropriate experience of schooling for students in this phase of their learning. To successfully guide students through their early adolescent years requires a careful balance of elements that make up the Middle School Teaching and Learning Programme. Student-centred elements, which are authentic and collaborative, are combined with purpose driven elements, which are developmental, rigorous and challenging.
The mastery of a range of learning, organisation, communication and social skills are important to the success of students. Commencing in Year 7, Middle School students are systematically taught the knowledge and competencies in order for them to take control of their learning. These skills will ultimately contribute to the development of well-balanced adults. Of particular importance are skills that will promote independence, transference and the ability to adapt learning to new contexts.
The implementation of the National Curriculum in key curriculum areas in 2011 provided the impetus for changes to the content and delivery of the Middle School Curriculum. In response to the introduction of the National Curriculum, the focus of assessment and reporting has moved from student outcomes to age related standards of performance. Rich tasks have been included in assessments to create a curriculum that is more rigorous, demanding and inclusive.
Rich tasks allow students to display a broad spectrum of skills, knowledge and understandings through completing complex assignments drawn from within or across disciplines. These tasks are connected to the wide world and involve both process and product, and follow an inquiry-based model of learning. Rich tasks provide opportunities for all students to extend their learning beyond their existing limits. They are both demanding and inclusive because high expectations are set and appropriate scaffolding provided based on the strengths and needs of individual students.
The Middle School curriculum encourages cross curricular links. Units drawing from common contexts have been developed in subjects such as English and History. The content and skills learned in one subject support and extend those learned in another, and also encourage a less compartmentalised view of knowledge and learning.
The development of literacy and numeracy across all core subject areas is a key focus of the Middle School Curriculum. Dedicated teachers work collaboratively in teams and regularly attend professional development initiatives to ensure curriculum delivery is relevant and responsive to adolescent culture and trends.
At present the Middle School Curriculum comprises three components: the Core Program, the Rotational Program and the Co-curricular Program. All students are engaged in an extensive Core Program. Subjects taught within the core curriculum include English, Mathematics, Science, Studies of Society and Environment, Religious Education, Physical and Health Education and Languages other than English (Italian, Indonesian or Mandarin). Three quarters of the total available teaching time is allocated to subjects in the Core Program.
The Rotational Program provides students with the opportunity to encounter a range of learning experiences focussing on the Arts and Design and Technology. Specific rotational classes include Visual Arts, Music, Dance, Theatre Arts, Computing. Design and Technology, Food and Media Studies.
The Kindergarten to Year 12 Co-curricular Program operates before and after the normal school day and ranges across the Arts, Sport and a variety of other extension activities. Further information on this aspect of the Middle School Curriculum can be found on the pages that deal with the Co-curricular Program
John Septimus Roe Anglican Community School is a school of The Anglican Schools Commission with a mission to build a Christian community of learners, to provide a quality educational experience, and to nurture the whole person in the three dimensions of mind, body and spirit.