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Year 7 public school students will be taught in high school from term 1, 2022.
This means that from 2022, year 6 will be the last year of primary school and year 7 will be the first year of high school.
Year 7 is already part of high school across the country so this move will bring South Australia in line with other states and territories, as well as other education systems in our state.
Some of our South Australian public high schools, such as Clare High School and Seaford Secondary College, are already teaching year 7s. See Clare High School's video below.
Sharryn Daly: It's been almost 20 years since year 7 has joined our secondary site. I have worked in a number of secondary sites. That's sort of my background and my passion. I really value having new year 7s on the site. I believe the students are very ready. Maturity-wise, you'll find that year 7s these days are far more mature than, perhaps, they were a few years ago. What we find is that after a couple of weeks of being at high school in January and February, they kind of make themselves at home.
Student: On my first day, I realised that there's nothing to actually worry about, and your teachers are here to help you, and they really help you through the process.
Student: I thought it was going to be quite scary, kind of. But it's good. I enjoy it.
Sharryn Daly: They get an opportunity to experience science, tech studies. They get to try home ec. They do media. They do drama. They have a whole range of specialist, elective-type subjects with specialist teachers and specialist facilities.
Student: Changing into different teachers. Not always having the same teachers for every lesson.
Interviewer: Yeah. And how was that?
Student: Really interesting.
Sharryn Daly: My sense was that, often, it was the parent that is concerned about the safety of their child. They are just worried. But what you find if you talk to the students is that a lot of those fears are not warranted. You do find that after a few weeks, the students are intermingling with all students from other year levels.
Student: It feels good.
Student: It feels pretty normal. It doesn't feel really different.
Student: Especially older, more older kids. There's a lot of year 12s, and 10s, and 11s that we didn't have in primary school.
Interviewer: But is that good? Is that-
Student: It's good.
Student: Do your homework.
Student: Don't forget, don't do your homework at the last minute.
[End of transcript]
Many South Australian non-government schools also currently teach year 7s in a high school setting.
Visit this page regularly for updates about the move of year 7 to high school that will help you make informed decisions about your child’s education.
Your school will also share information about what this move means for your child, so keep an eye out for year 7 to high school updates.
All South Australian students learn the Australian Curriculum at school. For year 7s, the curriculum focuses on specialist courses and is designed to be taught in a high school setting.
Moving year 7 to high school will mean students benefit from specialist teachers and resources, such as learning in fully equipped science labs and design and technology facilities.
It also provides a grouped curriculum for year 7 and 8 in a number of subjects. Bringing year 7 to a high school setting will make it easier to deliver these subjects.
Neuroscience has taught us how the brains of early adolescents are changing. So, we’ll be giving teachers access to evidence-based approaches to further engage students.
This move is a big change and we will make sure our early adolescents get the best learning opportunities from their new high school environment.
The new high school environment will expose year 7s to different teaching styles. It will provide opportunities for more peer interactions, independence and responsibility.
We can see in many of our R – 12 schools, and from the interest in our pilot schools, that year 7s are ready and keen for high school.
Watch Wirreanda Secondary School’s video below to hear year 6s talk about being among the first year 7s in high school in South Australia.
Jackson: I'm Jackson, and I'm going to be one of the first year sevens to come into a high school in South Australia. Yeah, I'm getting a lot more comfortable. It's coming down pretty quick.
Caroline Fishpool: We do have a strong belief that apart from all the different questions and uncertainty at the moment across the state, we do believe at Wirreanda Secondary School that they should be in our secondary school setting. We're obviously making preparations to ensure that can happen. There's a mixture of obviously excitement about coming into a secondary school setting. There's a mixture of uncertainty, but I think that's obviously the case with any change process. It's about what we put into place.
Blake: I'm pretty excited.
Interviewer: Yeah? Tell me why you're excited.
Blake: Because I'm moving onto a high school. Knowing that I'm going to be a year seven, I would love to have a year seven jumper.
Caroline Fishpool: Our transition processes are really clear here about making sure that we know the students, and obviously I think embrace that excitement about, what are the students excited about? Not what they're nervous about, but what are they excited about? And how we build on that with a strength-based approach.
Jackson: I was pretty down because I didn't get to get a year seven jumper. Then today when I heard that we were going to design our own year seven's jumpers, I was pretty excited.
Caroline Fishpool: I think year sevens are very ready to start secondary school. I think it's a big change for South Australia, and it's a big change for a lot of people involved in actually leading that piece out, but are year sevens ready? Absolutely.
Katrina Axford: Sometimes what will happen is the adults will be the more anxious ones than the students. Kids adapt a lot better than adults, you can see that today out in the spaces that they're just getting on with it. There are students in different uniforms right now that have known each other for an hour, but we've set up structures and processes that we put in place because we know that this stuff works, and we know that the kids will just get over those bits that make them anxious.
Caroline Fishpool: We know that obviously as year sevens in primary schools, from what primary schools tell us, they get halfway through the year and then looking for additional opportunities. Secondary schools provide that with the structures that we have in place with those specialist pathways for them to kind of have a bit of a dabble, and then move forward.
Blake: I feel good.
Jackson: Yeah, excited.
[End of transcript].
Planning is well underway to make sure the move of year 7 to high school is well-managed and considered. Together with the information shared by the department, your school will provide information as plans for the move progress.
Planning and investment
South Australia will be ready to move year 7 to high school in 2022. We are investing $185m in schools to manage increasing enrolments and to make sure there is enough space at high schools. This includes general and specialist learning areas for students.
All high schools, area schools and R-12 schools will receive a share of $2.5m in establishment grants to help them prepare school learning environments and facilities for incoming year 7 students.
Planning tools for schools
We are providing individual implementation plans for each high school that reflect local community needs. Primary schools will also be supported by a planning tool to help them adjust to the change.
The plans will be in place by 2021 and will cover workforce planning, facilities and resource management and parent engagement. For high schools, the plans will outline approaches to teaching and learning, and for ensuring the wellbeing of year 7s.
Drawing on evidence-based learning
A pilot with 3 schools, starting in 2020, will offer early insights into workforce planning, funding arrangements, student wellbeing, curriculum delivery and transition processes between primary and high schools.
We are also using learnings from Queensland and Western Australia, who recently moved year 7 to high school, to make sure the move in South Australia in 2022 is as smooth as possible.
The department’s regular enrolment process will be used for year 6s enrolling as year 7s in 2022. The enrolment process will start in March 2021. Please contact your primary school for more information.
Regular transition and enrolment processes will apply for year 7s enrolling as year 8s in 2022.
If your child currently attends a non-government school and you are looking to attend a public school, contact your local high school to discuss enrolment options.
The transition of year 7 into high school won’t have any impact on home-schooling arrangements.
See find a school or preschool for more information about school and preschool zones.
There are a number of ways to support your child when they start at a new school. See changing schools for more information.
We understand the importance of marking the special occasion of students finishing primary school. This is a local school decision, however we expect schools will celebrate students finishing primary school at the end of year 6, along with year 7s who are moving on to year 8.
Out of school hours care (OSHC) options
High schools don’t generally provide OSHC but do offer alternatives such as after school study in the library. Contact your local high school for more information.
Safety and wellbeing in high school
Your child’s wellbeing is just as important in high school as it is in primary school.
Frameworks already exist in public schools to manage interactions between students of different ages. These already operate in our B-12, R-12, area and primary schools to manage younger children interacting with older students.
In 2022, year 7 and 8 students will start high school in the same year for the first time. We are very mindful of having a smooth transition for all new high school students.
Schools will provide dedicated wellbeing support to help year 7 and 8 students adjust to new routines and different academic demands. The support will vary across schools, so it's best to check with your new high school about how this will work.
Wirreanda Secondary School, Mitcham Girls High School and John Pirie Secondary School have given families the opportunity to register interest for their child to enter high school as a year 7 in 2020.
The pilot will provide early insights into workforce planning, funding arrangements, wellbeing, curriculum and transition processes between primary and high schools. These insights will be important in informing the statewide transition of year 7 to high school in 2022.
Read more about the year 7 to high school pilot update.
Year 7 to high school project team
Email: Year7toHS [at] sa.gov.au