MIDDLE SCHOOL – YEAR 7 TO 9
The Middle School provides each child with a world of opportunity; both in the classroom and beyond, as we look to build on the skills students have developed throughout primary school and ensure they are well prepared for senior years of secondary school and adult life.
In the Middle School, the opportunities for students are broad; we work with parents and students to ensure students find their passion and pursue it. We want each child to live a fulfilling life and they will develop the skills necessary to do this in the Middle School, supported by teachers who are passionate and have their wellbeing front of mind.
As in the rest of the school, the learning journey extends well beyond the classroom. Relationships are central to all our actions and we look to assist those who are less fortunate whenever and wherever possible. The Round Square IDEALS form the basis of our growing global connections and Ballarat Grammar Middle School students have the opportunity to reach out and begin to shape their world.
We are able to provide students with targeted support that is developmentally appropriate, and we focus on ensuring their learning is engaging, meaningful and provides challenge through problem-based tasks. They are supported by Homeroom teachers in Years 7 and 8 and a House mentor in Year 9. These strong pastoral systems ensure each student flourishes and grows to reach their potential.
Ballarat Grammar is a thriving community and the Middle School is a place of engagement where students develop key skills and identify and pursue their passions. In the Middle School we celebrate Grammar traditions and provide a world class educational experience for learners now and into the future.
YEARS 7 & 8 STUDENT PROGRAM
We know that if our students want to come to school and if they feel happy and supported when they’re at school, they will have the best chance of learning effectively.
Approximately half of our Year 7 students start their Ballarat Grammar journey in Year 7. Our students come from diverse backgrounds, from big and small primary schools, from in Ballarat and our neighbouring regional and rural communities and from a range of cultural backgrounds. We also have boarders from rural and farming communities in Victoria, Southern NSW and further afield.
Wellbeing underpins our whole teaching and learning framework, every interaction and everything we do at Grammar. We constantly cross-check student wellbeing and academic progress against the PERMA Model of Wellbeing and we teach themes explicitly through our Positive Education Program. At Year 7 our specific focus is on helping students to develop positive relationships throughout the School community. At Year 8 our focus is on helping students to develop respect for themselves, their community and the bigger world.
Relationships are vital in establishing a sense of connection and belonging and, coupled with meaning and accomplishment, are one of the hallmarks of wellbeing. We know that with the security of positive relationships students are happier and more confident to take risks and extend their learning.
STUDENT-HOMEROOM TEACHER RELATIONSHIP
We’re very proud of our strong Year 7 and Year 8 Homeroom Teams.
In Year 7 and 8 a student’s primary care relationship is with their Homeroom Teacher who plays a vitally important role in supporting their students in all areas of their life at school. They are extremely experienced at guiding students through the transition to secondary school and helping them to manage many competing priorities.
In Year 9 our students take another important step in their development as they move out of the Homeroom model and begin to develop a very strong relationship with their Mentor as part of the Senior School House System, which continues throughout their senior years at Grammar.
Our students have great opportunities to build connections and develop positive relationships with students across the whole school. As well as starting their journey as part of their Senior School House each Year 7 student has a Year 12 Mentor who plays an important role in their life at school as a ‘big brother/sister’. Year 12 Mentors are highly valued and sought after positions at Grammar. Our Year 8 students continue to build connections start to interact more and more with students across all senior levels as they move to become a more integral part of their House.
We know that open communication and building a positive three-way partnership are critical to support our students at this important stage in their development. At Year 7 there are a number of excellent opportunities for parents to come together at the School to meet teachers and other families.
PROGRAM – SPECIAL FEATURES AND OPPORTUNITIES
The focus of our programs is to inspire, engage and explore and we offer students a wide and exciting range of learning opportunities.
Instrumental Music Program (IMP): Every Year 7 student chooses a new instrument to learn within the curriculum which culminates in every student performing in the end-of-semester IMP concerts and the Royal South Street Eisteddfod
Electives: From Year 8 students can choose from an exciting list of electives such as Robotics
Enrichment: Opportunities are available in Mathematics and ‘Ad Astra’ (where students to extend themselves in a small group within their own interest area)
Sport: As well as PE within the curriculum our co-curricular Sport Program offers a huge range of competitive and non-competitive options
Music, Dance and Drama: Building on extensive learning opportunities within the curriculum students are encouraged to participate in an exciting range of performance opportunities in Music, Dance and Drama
Art and Design: Students have extensive learning opportunities in Art and Design and wonderful opportunities to exhibit their work
Service, Leadership and Round Square Programs: Students can get involved in a wide range of Service activities and there are many opportunities for students to show leadership such as by actively participating in our structured Round Square Program
Outdoor Education Program: Two camps in Year 7 and one in Year 8 are part of a developmental Outdoor Education Program with a strong focus on strengthening relationships and developing a strong sense of self
Personal Notebook: We seek to provide the best tools for our students and all Year 7 students are issued with a touch screen laptop they can use as a standard laptop and as a touch screen tablet and digital tablet pen. Our students and teachers love the flexibility that these devices offer that allows them to be used in innovative ways across all subjects.
Teaching ICT skills: ICT is taught as a core subject in Years 7 and 8. In Year 8 there is a strong emphasis on Computer Aided Design (CAD), 3D printing and programming. The hands-on skills that students learn filter into other curriculum areas, encouraging the innovative use of technology across the curriculum.
YEAR 9 STUDENT PROGRAM
We believe in order to best prepare students for their remaining years at Ballarat Grammar and their futures, students are actively engaged and challenged by their learning experiences, which transcend traditional subject boundaries in order to develop knowledge and skills essential for life. Our Year 9 program has been developed to provide students with learning experiences that require rigorous application and deep thinking.
The Ballarat Grammar Year 9 experience is based in the iconic Heinz Centre, initially built in 2001 to create a unique and independent environment to facilitate Year 9 students’ growth and development in this crucial year. The building was designed to encapsulate modern sustainable design principles, and today the grounds are home to a variety of native plants, as well as being used to grow produce for educational enterprises utilising the concept of ‘paddock to plate’.
The atmosphere in this setting is one of inclusion, growth and development. Students are encouraged to collaborate and communicate effectively with their peers and teachers, in order to develop strong relationships that help to support them as they take responsibility and ownership of their learning.
HOUSE AND MENTOR
Pastoral care is an incredibly important aspect of our program. We have developed a strong web of support through students’ connections with their House mentors and subject teachers. The mentor program encourages a strong tie to the house system and ensures students have a consistent relationship with a mentor as they move through the remaining years of their schooling.
The Global Connections curriculum is framed using the Australian curriculum and challenges students by exploring questions of personal and social significance and making authentic connections between disciplines and with the world. There is a keen focus on the explicit teaching of essential Literacy, Numeracy and Scientific skills which are essential to students’ development and understanding of key concepts and vital to help support them in their future success. Global Connections aims to develop a passion for learning whilst providing students with the skills needed to thrive as 21st Century learners.
21ST CENTURY SKILLS
Students benefit from a focus on skill development and effective applications of new technologies, promoting the 4 C’s of Critical thinking, Creativity, Communication and Collaboration; as well as problem solving, inquiry, resourcefulness, research and reflection. Students are given a large variety of experiential learning opportunities, both curricula and co-curricula based, including the Teen Inquiry Project where students develop and present prototypes of possible solutions to issues that are significant to their everyday lives, to local businesses and other organisations.
Year 9 is about giving students the opportunity to challenge themselves in a range of environments, enabling them to learn through hands-on experiences that help them to develop skills for life. Throughout the year students partake in a rock climbing and abseiling camp in the Grampians and Mt Arapiles. Set in one of Victoria’s most breathtaking settings, students learn to appreciate their environment and the challenges that it offers.
During Term 4 students attend our City Cite campus on Flinders Street in Melbourne. Here students develop a new level of independence, maturity, confidence, resilience and collaboration as they work together to answer their self-selected question of social significance. This style of project-based learning gives students control and power over their own learning to create authentic connections. Throughout they are exposed to a large array of resources and experiences that Melbourne has to offer, including places of cultural, religious, economic and administrative significance such as the Parliament of Victoria, the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court and the National Gallery of Victoria.