Interesting progress in freeing students to achieve as much as they can, as Fremont-Elizabeth City high school in the northern suburbs of Adelaide will replace Years 8-10 with academic streams based on students progress rather than age.

The South Australian school is testing what is called a “transformational” program aimed at boosting academic performance and reducing truancy. It is interesting that this is being applied to a dis-advantaged school in the attempt to improve learning.

The Montesorri schools have a philosophy of mixed ages within a school cycle. So Cycle 3 (which is the equivalent of Years 8-10) have mixed aged classes.

The learning philosophy behind this is to enable children to learn from older peers, and to be able to teach younger peers. Higher levels of interaction of students with each other gives amazing results.

Principal Rob Knight said the traditional years eight, nine and 10 classes would disappear from next year, with the learning changes coinciding with upgrades to school facilities. The principal said the curriculum would be revised to help prepare the students for careers in technology, maths, science, hospitality and the arts.

Almost $10 million will be spent on classroom and facilities upgrades, a move which has excited students who have put up with the school’s poor reputation.

“With this change happening, it will make [the students] have pride, if they know people are willing to spend money on them to learn,” student Nicole Inocencio said.

“I’m really pumped for it, it’s definitely what we need for us to move further in the future and to get a higher education in all sorts of different subjects we want to learn,” another student, Jessica Hall, said.

SA Education Minister Susan Close said individual schools would be left to decide whether to follow the model being adopted for Fremont-Elizabeth City High.

“I think Fremont-Elizabeth is going to make an incredible contribution that other schools will … take notice of, and may pick up on the ideas,” she said.



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