Close to 4,000 Year 7 students started in Catholic schools this week.
Catholic secondary schools have seen significant growth in enrolments with one school - Cardijn College at Noarlunga Downs - jumping by 26%.
The start of the school year heralds significant change with many Catholic secondary schools offering Year 7 for the first time.
The change means that many schools have record numbers of new students – with last year’s Year 6 and Year 7 cohorts transitioning together.
Across the State there has been close to a 10% increase in Year 7 enrolments in Catholic schools.
“It’s an exciting time for Catholic Education SA but more importantly it is an exciting time for those students as they enter the school gates for the first time:” says Dr Neil McGoran, Director of Catholic Education South Australia.
“We’re confident that these students will thrive in a secondary environment.”
Cardijn College has 216 Year 7s and 204 Year 8s commencing at the school this week. The increase takes total enrolments to 1,298 students.
Cardijn College Principal, Dr Paul Rijken says his school is ready to welcome the influx of students.
“We have established a dedicated Year 12 area with common room facilities and outdoor space. Year 7 students will also be buddied by our Year 12 students.
“At Marcellin Technical Campus we have established new areas for training in Hair and Beauty, Early Learning, Health and Personal Care and STEM learning in addition to our Engineering, Construction, Automotive and Electrotechnology courses. Our middle school students access these facilities to explore vocational pathways.”
Catholic Education South Australia has moved Year 7 for a number of important reasons.
“The Australian Curriculum for Year 7 is designed to be taught in a secondary context,” explains Dr McGoran.
“There are also educational benefits. Teaching Year 7 in a secondary setting gives students access to specialist teachers and facilities. A secondary environment also offers flexibility that can help students to be challenged intellectually and have a positive impact on learning outcomes.
“We know that by the time most children reach Year 7 they are ready for something different. Adolescents thrive in an environment that encourages independence and supports their social and emotional needs.
The South Australian Commission for Catholic Schools endorsed the move of Year 7 from primary to secondary settings in 2015 following extensive consultation with school communities.