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Junior secondary

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Junior secondary students will experience an array of high-quality educational experiences within a dedicated learning space providing students with the skill set required for future success. Chinchilla State High exposes students to state-of-the-art special needs education services, science, technology, arts and recreational facilities. Students access these resources through specialist teachers, who design and implement engaging learning opportunities that meet the diverse needs of each student.

Chinchilla State High School opportunities provide junior secondary students with a seamless transition from primary school and build the foundation for success in senior schooling and beyond.

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Junior secondary vision

At Chinchilla State High School the vision of "learning together for a happy and productive future" provides the focus for curriculum, teaching and learning. The core values of Together, Excellence, Acceptance and Motivation (TEAM) (PDF, 110KB) underpin high expectations and standards of student behaviour and performance.  Channelling this vision and these core values into junior secondary requires a focus on the unique needs that students in years 7 through to 9 require as they transition from primary to senior schooling.  At Chinchilla State High School, educational opportunities in junior secondary provide greater emphasis on the academic needs and educational aspirations of younger adolescents to enhance their learning outcomes.

The junior secondary curriculum, based on the eight key learning areas as identified by the Australian Curriculum, highlights skill development, guiding students to accept responsibility and developing independence in their learning as they move into the senior school. Our TEAM approach aims to empower the junior school as part of the whole school community, to promote every student being the best they can be, embrace diversity and allow all to strive for success.

This approach provides a clear and united way to foster working as a TEAM to ensure that ‘every day, in every classroom, every student is learning’, building on strengths to enrich their personal wellbeing and educational journey.

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Health and wellbeing in junior secondary

The wellbeing of all students is paramount to teaching and learning at Chinchilla State High School. The Junior Secondary Agenda 2012–2015, identifies the six principles that underpin Chinchilla State High School’s planning and consideration of Junior Secondary. The third principle focuses on enhancing student wellbeing in order to support student engagement, thereby ensuring maximum opportunities for success. We are acutely aware that junior secondary learners have a distinct identity and therefore require a specialised approach to cater for their learning and wellbeing needs.

As part of our TEAM core values, all members of our school community work together to achieve excellence, strive for acceptance and motivate each other in all that we do. In alignment with our Learning and Wellbeing Framework, we believe that a rich learning environment that is open, respectful, caring and safe optimises learning through a commitment to wellbeing. As such, our junior secondary planning considers the wellbeing of these students to be of utmost importance in order to engage them in learning within a safe and inclusive environment.

To cater for the learning and wellbeing of our students, the junior secondary curriculum has been developed in alignment with Australian Curriculum guidelines to equip students with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and strategies to understand and manage themselves and their relationships. To this effect, junior secondary teachers will regularly undertake collegial observations of Year 6 and 7 classrooms within a number of our partner schools in order to evolve our pedagogical practices to better understand and meet the learning and wellbeing needs of our students.

A smooth transition from primary school that promotes student wellbeing will:

  • improve academic performance;
  • increase student participation in school activities;
  • enable students to experience success; and
  • foster enjoyment of the high school experience.

 

This will be achieved by:

  • parent and community information events;
  • teacher visits to partner school Year 6 and 7 classrooms;
  • a school ‘Open Day’ that showcases the opportunities on offer at Chinchilla State High School;
  • orientation days before entering high school;
  • orientation activities at the beginning of the year;
  • Year level camp for Year 7 students early in the school year.

 

Student support includes:

  • daily contact with form class teachers and core subject teachers to monitor student progress and wellbeing;
  • Year 12 Representatives to mentor students and be a point of contact;
  • senior staff support including Year 7 Coordinator and Head of Junior Secondary;
  • Student Support Services, e.g. Chaplain, Youth Health Nurse and Guidance Officer; and
  • Student Welfare Committee chaired by a Year 12 student.

 

Student Wellbeing (pastoral care) program promoting and supporting:

  • social and emotional skills;

  • resilience and teamwork;

  • learning capacity; and

  • the school’s TEAM core values (PDF, 110KB)– Together, Excellence, Acceptance and Motivation.

Why junior secondary?

The introduction of Junior Secondary is about improving outcomes in the middle years of schooling.    Research shows that the majority of primary students start their middle schooling with great enthusiasm, but by the end of the first year, many start to show a ‘dip’ in their achievement and attitude towards learning (Hill & Russell 1999; Carrington 2006; Luke et al. 2003; Pendergast & Bahr 2005; Prosser 2008; Kidday & Robson 2013).  The developmental diversity of this age group makes it difficult to organise an educational program that adequately meets the needs of all.  Compared to the breakthroughs and developmental leaps associated with early learners, progress in achievement tends to be more subtle in the adolescent years (Hill and Russell, 1999 and confirmed by Carrington 2004).  Junior Secondary has been introduced to focus on age-appropriate education, and support for students’ wellbeing and transitions.

The vision for Junior Secondary at Chinchilla State High School has drawn upon significant research that focuses on the unique needs of students in the junior secondary age cohort. 

In response, Junior Secondary will use six guiding principles as a foundation to develop strategies, policies and processes that will engage students during these critical years of academic and social development.  The principles provide an evidence based approach to teaching and learning practices that meet the needs of students in early adolescence and will be enacted through the school-wide TEAM (PDF, 110KB) approach.

Together at Chinchilla State High School, we will achieve in the junior secondary years, by reducing the number of teachers to whom students are exposed, in order to foster closer ‘personal relationships’ among teachers, students and parents.  Junior secondary research (Braggett, Morrie and Day, 1999) promotes the need for a reduction in the number of teachers in the early years of High School in order to support a positive school experience for students through stability, security, and a sense of order.

We will pursue excellence in the junior secondary years, underpinned by the motto that hard work drives success, by targeting literacy and numeracy.  Research (Hill and Russell, 1999 and confirmed by Carrington 2004) demonstrates that in the middle years of schooling students generally fail to improve academically, and in some cases decline academically, particularly in the area of literacy.

Acceptance, marked by celebrating the success of all, forms a strong foundation for personal growth and is evidenced in the processes of the Wellbeing for Learning and Life Framework.  The social and emotional needs of this unique cohort will be addressed through this Wellbeing Framework, as there is a wealth of research linking young people’s social and emotional wellbeing to schooling outcomes (Malecki & Elliott, 2002; Wentzel 1993; Wentzel & Caldwell, 1997).

‘Our learning is our responsibility’ provides the foundation on which we will build Junior Secondary at Chinchilla State High School, engendering high expectations for all students.  This is upheld through our school wide pedagogical framework; responsible behaviour management plan and an extensive offering of extra-curricular activities.  

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