PD day helps teachers with Year 7 transition

PD day helps teachers with Year 7 transition

From introducing a wellbeing program for principals to slashing red tape for schools, South Australia is making strides towards its goal of becoming “the education state”.

Another mission the state’s education system has in its sights is moving its Year 7 students from primary to secondary education.

This week, the SA Government launched a professional development day for its educators to help them manage this transition with ease.

SA Education Minister John Gardner said the professional development day sought to help state educators “gain deeper understanding on the nuances of teaching early adolescents and how to ensure they get the most out of their learning through evidence-based teaching practices.”

Last week, 80 teachers from 22 schools visited Wirreanda Secondary School to hear the pilot school’s experience in the initial transition, which includes forging strong connections with nearby primary school as well as fostering a collaborative environment.

“This is a fantastic turnout that demonstrates there is a strong appetite from teachers to make the transition to high school to coincide with the Year 7 move,” Minister Gardner said.

“These teachers, who have travelled to Morphett Vale from areas as far as Murray Bridge and Kapunda, have had the opportunity to hear directly from other staff planning the move, including preparing approaches to the curriculum which will lead to a smooth transition.”

Mitcham Girls High School and John Pirie Secondary School will also be participating in the Year 7 pilot program to “provide invaluable insights” on how the system-wide roll out will be implemented, Minister Gardner added.

These schools recruited teachers from primary and secondary schools to ensure that the students would be able to thrive in high school.

South Australia is currently the only state to still have its Year 7 part of primary school. The transition, which is slated to begin transition from primary to high school by 2020, is expected to be fully completed by 2022.

Parents are likewise supportive of the transition.

Wirreanda Secondary School will be taking in some 90 students next year, while John Pirie Secondary School received 105 enrolments. Mitcham Girls High School will be taking in the most Year 7 students next year at 159.

Aiming for the education state title

Like Victoria, changes in South Australia’s education system have been yielding promising results.

Its literacy program in primary schools, for example, has put its students ahead by two months compared to their peers. The rollout of the Flexible Learning Options, which was first implemented in 2007, helped re-engage high school students with poor retention rates.

Some 50 schools in South Australia also volunteered to trial a phonics test in a bid to boost literacy in 2018, which yielded good results.