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Three high schools to trial Year 7 transition from next year

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Mitcham Girls High School, Wirreanda Secondary School and John Pirie Secondary School will from next year accept Year 7 enrolments as part of the Marshall Government’s push to transition Year 7 into high school.

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The three schools will pilot the transition ahead of a mooted 2022 statewide rollout, with some Reception to Year 12 government schools already offering Year 7 in a high school setting.

Announcing the selected schools this morning, Education Minister John Gardner said the pilot would help identify workforce and curriculum issues that could arise from the transition.

“Piloting the Year 7 transition into high school has the potential to provide valuable information and expertise in a range of critical areas ahead of the system-wide roll out in 2022,” he said.

“These three schools are all enthusiastic about the prospect of Year 7s joining their communities and are now actively driving conversation with local families.”

The schools, which were selected due to their varied locations and focus areas, have begun consulting with families and feeder primary schools this week.

Families of current Year 6 students are invited to register their interest for their children to attend the schools from next year, with information regarding the transition currently available on each school’s website. Participating in the pilot is voluntary and enrolment processes will continue at all schools for current Year 7s enrolling as Year 8s next year.

“I encourage parents of Year 6 students who are eligible to attend either Mitcham Girls High School, Wirreanda Secondary School or John Pirie Secondary School to engage with these schools and explore the benefits of undertaking Year 7 in high school,” Gardner said.

The transition – which will bring SA public schools in line with all other states – has been opposed by Labor and the SA Primary Principals’ Association, but strongly backed by secondary principals.

Gardner argued the transition was necessary to better equip South Australian schools to teach the national curriculum, which he said is designed for Year 7 students to be taught by specialist subject teachers in a high school setting.

The Education Department expects South Australia’s high school population will grow from 60,000 this year to just under 80,000 by 2022 due to an increase in birth rates and the Year 7 transition.

On Tuesday the department announced it would take control of setting metropolitan high school enrolment caps to ensure all students are able to attend the local school for which they are zoned.

Under the previous system, principals had the discretion to determine their school’s enrolment capacity, but the department has advised it will now consider population and schools’ building capacity to set new enrolment caps.

The department has warned 36 schools will grow beyond their current capacity by 2022, but it says a $185 million State Government funding injection for capital works projects is projected to help increase schools’ capacity.

It estimates the majority of schools will be able to accommodate projected enrolment growth by 2022.

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