Involvement, empowerment, discovery and independence are key themes in the middle years.

It’s an exciting time of discovery and exploration, in which our students build on the experiences and learning of their primary years. Students like to be challenged by their learning environment and are inspired by the world in which they live.

There have been numerous studies in Australia and worldwide describing the decline in student enjoyment in the middle years of schooling (approximate ages 10 to 16). These studies reveal a strong pattern of under-achievement and disengagement from school, particularly for boys. Any lack of engagement in learning affects academic progress and educational experience.

We have worked consistently at Cornish College to meet these challenges and develop approaches that are attuned to the characteristics and needs of young adolescents. We adopt the following strategies:

  • Student involvement in classroom decision-making about curriculum including the ways learning is organised, monitored and assessed;
  • Learning that connects with and is relevant to students’ personal and social concerns and their out-of-school experience and culture;
  • Active learning experiences;
  • Engagement in complex, higher-order and critical thinking to develop deep rather than surface learning, and cooperative as well as independent learning.

Years 7 and 8

In Years 7 and 8, all students are engaged in a common core curriculum that provides a strong foundation for future studies, hence it can be known as the foundation sequence. Discipline-based learning is still at the heart of our inquiries; students have classes in English, Humanities, Mathematics and Science and the integration of these disciplines means that teachers work with students to make connections in their learning. Inquiry learning allows students to apply their knowledge and skills in many ways, thus helping them learn in a meaningful context.

In addition to these subjects, all Year 7 and 8 students also participate in Physical Education, Personal Sustainability, Religious Education, Music, Drama, Materials Technology and Food Technology and Art. In a global age, we encourage all students to develop skills in foreign languages. Year 7 and 8 students study French or Japanese.

Year 7 students celebrate their first year of inquiry learning at secondary school with an exhibition involving several disciplines. Year 8 students celebrate their inquiry with the ‘Night of Decades’, an exhibition involving all disciplines.

Year 8 students also choose from a range of Super Studies units, which are drawn from the disciplines of the Performing and Visual Arts, Technology, the Environment and Health. Each elective is timetabled for a half-day (morning and afternoon) one day per week. This day consists of two extended sessions for Years 8 and 9. This provides time for students to plan and develop authentic and rich projects without interruption. The Super Studies program provides foundation skills and understandings for subsequent studies at senior years, as well as promoting engagement and developing individual talents.

Year 9

In Year 9, the program is made up of three main sections: Cores Studies; Super Studies and a specially designed enrichment program. All three sections of the program are intertwined, with each section providing the students with the opportunity to draw links and further develop the themes and concepts investigated.

Students in Year 9 study English, Mathematics, Science, Language, Global Sustainability and Health, Sport and Physical Education within their core, along with subjects that link to Personal and Social Learning Domains. Super Studies units are drawn from the disciplines of the Performing and Visual Arts, Technology, the Environment and Health. We encourage a balance of areas of study within the elective units.

Students have excellent and easy access to a well-equipped library, the internet and information and communications technology. All students use a Macbook computer.

The Make a Difference Experience in Thailand or Laos is the culmination of Year 9, where our students authentically explore our guiding principle that “a sustainable world depends on knowledgeable, active citizens making a difference.”

For more detailed information about our middle years curriculum, please read our Years 7, 8 and 9 Handbook and Curriculum Guide 2020

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