Our School - Middle School

The Middle School caters for students between 12 – 15 years of age. The major focus of the Middle School is assisting students to consolidate the skills they developed throughout their Junior School and/or mainstream primary school experience and to further develop their functional skills in preparation for Senior School and beyond. The Middle School consists of PODs, which contain 2-4 class groups. The POD structure encourages interaction between staff and students, team teaching, streamed learning and sharing of resources to benefit the learning outcomes of all students. Within classes, students are grouped with peers of a similar age and who have a range of abilities. Within the Middle School, there are currently 14 teachers and 26 teaching assistants.

Curriculum
Students are encouraged to increase independence within home and community daily living skills as well as increasing the use of functional literacy and numeracy skills.

Literacy
Focus on reading, writing, speaking & listening skills used in daily living. Some examples include identifying and being able to express personal information, sharing ideas and facts appropriately, accessing information through a variety of mediums including newspapers, books, magazines and the internet, and identifying and knowing the meaning of community signs.

Numeracy
Focus on number, space, measurement, chance & data and working mathematically and how these skills are used in everyday living. Some examples include reading both analogue and digital time, identifying Australian currency and being able to add totals and subtract change, using measuring utensils when cooking and working out the time needed to complete a trip using the public bus.

Humanities and Science
Themes are delivered on a semester basis both in the Humanities and Science areas to provide students with the opportunity to experience and learn about things that happen in the world around them. Some examples include the Gold Rush, Celebrations, The Human Body, Natural Disasters and Australia. The FARM also allows the opportunity for students to experience science-in-action, especially in regards to life cycles, plant growth and animal care. Some students will work in small groups on specific projects at the FARM. A recent addition to the FARM curriculum is the woodwork program, where students work in small groups with a woodwork teacher to complete useful items from timber.

Health & Physical Education
Health and Physical Education is a broad area that not only covers physical activity and personal health, but also important areas such as the individual learner, managing personal learning, working in teams and building social relationships. The Growing Pains Program is a curriculum based program that was developed specifically for use with our students to teach important skills and knowledge around interpersonal skills, puberty, health knowledge, feelings, protective behaviours, sexual education and drug & alcohol safety. All students are offered the chance to participate in a 10 week swimming program at the Ballarat Aquatic Center during the year.

Specialist Programs
All Middle School students participate in weekly sessions of Art, Music, Drama and PE. Some students also have the opportunity to participate in home economics, hairdressing, Taekwondo, choir, instrumental music and various therapy programs according to their individual needs.

Inclusive Learning Technologies
Students have the opportunity to experience the use of technology everyday with classrooms having access to an interactive whiteboard, desktop computers, and their own iPads, as well as other tools including digital cameras, flip video cameras and touch pads. Skills are taught in the safe and functional use of these technologies.

Community Access
Each week, classes venture into the community to allow students the opportunity to experience and participate in lots of the activities that may be second nature to many people. These may include supermarket shopping, visiting local attractions and organisations that support the community, bush walking, catching the public bus, borrowing from the library or having morning tea at a coffee shop. These activities teach valuable life skills across a number of areas including locating items of need, money handling, personal safety and knowing your community.

LEAP Program
LEAP is an acronym for: Learning, Engaging, Aiming-high and Preparing. Each year there are three LEAP classes which cover four main learning areas - My Skills, My Community Involvement, My Environment, and My Physical and Emotional well-being. The program is aimed at 14-15 year olds, and individual goals are set for students depending on their needs and interest areas, particularly in the non-core subjects. During the week students spend time, or are based at The FARM, where they focus on FARM projects. The FARM time is structured towards students’ other interest and commitments.