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Middle School Curriculum Review

A formal review of the curriculum offered in the Middle School (Years 7–10) at Concordia College is about to begin. In a Q&A format, we provide the following information about the curriculum offered currently and rationale for, and nature of, the review.

Why is the curriculum review limited to the Middle School?

There is no intention to review either the Primary Years Program (PYP) used across Reception to Year 6 or the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) at Years 11-12. Both curricula are highly regarded, popularly deployed by schools across South Australia, and feedback indicates they are currently meeting the needs of students and their families.

What is the curriculum Concordia currently uses in the Middle School?

The Middle Years Programme (MYP) from the International Baccalaureate (IB) is a challenging curriculum framework that encourages students to make practical connections between their studies and the real world.

The MYP is a five-year programme, which is implemented at Concordia College in a four-year format (Years 7-10).

What does the MYP offer students?

The MYP aims to develop active learners and internationally minded young people who can empathise with others and pursue lives of purpose and meaning.

The programme empowers students to inquire into a wide range of issues and ideas of significance locally, nationally and globally. The result is the development of young people who are creative, reflective and critical thinkers.

Why have we offered the MYP?

Concordia College has a commitment to the MYP that spans two decades. This commitment has been in response to international research which shows that students participating in the MYP:

  • build confidence in managing their own learning
  • learn by doing, connecting the classroom to the larger world
  • thrive in positive school cultures where they are engaged and motivated to excel
  • develop an understanding of global challenges and a commitment to function as responsible citizens.
Why have we chosen to review the MYP at this time?

In 2020, Concordia College began its implementation of the Unlocking Futures learning framework. The Unlocking Futures learning framework is the narrative for learning at Concordia College. Its purpose is to embed key learning principles into our learning and teaching philosophy, programs and practices so that students are empowered to develop the knowledge, capabilities and dispositions needed to flourish in their worlds, both now and in the future. Through discussion, the Middle-Senior School Leadership team identified significant overlap between these priorities and the key tenets of the MYP. Coupled with changes to the senior secondary curriculum in South Australia (SACE Thrive) and updates to the Australian Curriculum (Version 9), we feel we have reached the point in time where a curriculum review is needed.

The aim of any good curriculum review and redevelopment is to enhance student learning, engagement, experience and outcomes. In our case, it will seek to ensure there is a developmental transition for every student from the PYP to the Middle School curriculum and then as they progress towards the commencement of SACE studies.

What is a curriculum review?

A curriculum review is a critical examination of academic programs for the purpose of optimising student learning experiences. They are often led collaboratively by academic staff who teach within the program.

The Concordia College MYP curriculum review will be led by Emily Johnson (Middle School Learning Leader) and Clay Watkins (Middle School Leader) under the direction of Paul Bannister (Director of Learning and Innovation) and Dennis Mulherin (Principal). It will include input and voice from a variety of stakeholders across the College community: parents, students and teachers.

It will also consider an examination of best practice in curriculum design from schools across the country and internationally where appropriate.

What are the next steps?

While work has already commenced on the planning of the review, parents and carers will engage with the review in the following tangible ways.

  1. Regular newsletter articles will provide progress reports on the review
  2. A survey will be distributed towards the end of this term to all parents with children currently in the Middle School, and those whose children have recently completed their middle schooling
  3. A sample of parents will be invited to join focus groups in Term 3 to assist the College to unpack the information gleaned from the surveys.
When will parents learn of the outcomes?

Parents are key stakeholders in this review. As such, communication around the progress will be provided as the review commences and evolves. Any interim and/or long-term changes that are proposed and adopted will be known by parents at the earliest convenience.

Who can we contact if we have any questions about the review?

Please address any questions in the first instance by email to one of the following key contacts:

Dennis Mulherin
Principal - Middle and Senior School

Paul Bannister
Director of Learning and Innovation ELC-12