Schools ready for big change

Ellenbrook Secondary College Principal Bill Mann.
Ellenbrook Secondary College Principal Bill Mann.

After next year, children in public schools born between July 1, 2002 and June 30, 2003 will commence Year 7 at secondary level. Special consideration will be given to families in some regional areas.

The State Government introduced the changes to coincide with the introduction of the new Australian Curriculum and to address the increased age of primary school students caused by the change of the school starting age in 2001.

Bullsbrook College (formerly Bullsbrook District High School) principal Bernadette Jones said the school started planning for the switch in 2010 and put in place well thought-out strategies in 2011.

‘We put in place strategies very early and our Year 7s started in high school last year. We knew what facilities we had onsite and it was a smooth transition for us because we are a K-12 school,’ she said.

‘We have also got one of our teachers in the switch program run by the Department of Education to help train primary teachers into secondary.’

Ellenbrook Secondary College (ESC) principal Bill Mann said the school commenced with Year 7s as high school students in 2007.

‘It was a decision made in the planning stages for ESC, and replicates the model in a small number of metro high schools,’ he said.

‘The advantages for the students include ready access to specialist teachers across all learning areas which is increasingly important with the rollout of the Australian curriculum.’

The private school system is also feeling the changes of the switch.

Swan Valley Anglican Community School principal Jason Bartell said the school already experienced a significant Year 7 enrolment intake.

‘We have developed a wonderful transitional program to ensure all students are individually catered for academically and pastorally over many years and are well placed to cater for the needs of all Year 7s in a senior school environment.’