Early adolescence is a time of coping with changes and making choices. At St Andrews, our curriculum, pastoral care programme, extra-curricular activities and classroom structures are all focused on equipping our Middle School students with the skills and knowledge required to navigate these complicated adolescent years successfully. We are aware, however, that the 21st Century holds many unknown challenges as well, so we are also committed to providing our students with the preparation they need to allow them to embrace the future and to thrive in the changing and uncertain times ahead.
We provide excellent teaching and learning experiences for all our students. Extension work which challenges and extends our gifted and talented students is provided by excellent teachers, not just in all of the core areas, but in all areas of the curriculum through the Electives Programme. However, we believe in success for every student, so our learners are encouraged to compete not against each other, but against themselves in order to achieve personal bests and therefore success.
We understand that early adolescent learners need to learn in a way which is responsive to their needs at this stage of their development. We provide opportunities for students to learn in an environment which encourages the development of these skills, such as interpersonal and collaborative learning skills, as well as giving them the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in each of their subject areas.
21st Century learners need a new set of skills, so we also use this time in the Middle School to equip our learners with an understanding of the benefits and perils of working in a digital age. We provide many opportunities for students to work with a range of new media when they are researching topics, developing ideas, producing tasks and presenting their knowledge and understanding. Finally, we aim to teach our students the most important skill required for success in the 21st Century – the ability to learn how to learn – so that our learners can become the flexible, resilient, creative problem-solvers required by this new era.
At St Andrews, our education is not just a good education but an education for good. Our students learn how to resolve their disagreements in a way which resolves the conflict but also restores the relationship, using our Restorative Practices framework. We encourage our students to recognise that they are part of a larger community and to find their place within that community through our Service-Learning approach, which sees students using their gifts and talents to meet a need in their community. ‘The Edge’ provides a significant extended service-learning and outdoor education experience as well as an important ‘rite of passage’ for all of our Year 9 students.
While there are many opportunities for St Andrews students to pursue academic pathways moving them towards their chosen careers, we also have a broad range of other opportunities. Our students compete at school, local, regional, state and national levels in athletics, swimming and a range of other team sports. Middle School students have access to an enormous range of creative arts opportunities both in the Elective Programme and through the extra-curricular programme. There are also many creative writing, science, technology, business and ICT activities provided as part of the Elective Programme but also through links with a number of universities and external organisations. The St Andrews Middle School provides many opportunities for students to excel and achieve excellence in their chosen fields.
I would welcome the opportunity to talk further with you about Middle Schooling at St Andrews.
Head of Middle School