Transitioning from primary school to high school is a dramatic time of change for most students which is why Middle School is so important.

Mr Gavin Neale is the Head of Middle School at Pacific Hills Christian School, at Dural, and said the goal of Middle School is to make this time as smooth as possible,

“Students go from having had one main teacher each year who knew their personality and idiosyncrasies, such as how fast they learnt in the classroom, to as many as 10 specialist teachers. There is also a definite change to the curriculum between Years 6 and 7 with the types of subjects being taught and how they are delivered.”

“This change occurs at the same time as students are going through puberty. They are navigating physical and emotional changes and trying to develop their own identities. Social changes take place such as connecting more with peers and social media and relying less on their parents.”

Mr Neale is a passionate proponent of starting children in Year 5.

“Changing from primary to high school and adjusting to new systems, new teachers, new subjects and making new friends can be daunting for children. Coming in at Year 5 allows students to ease in at their own pace and we find it is especially beneficial for students who need some extra assistance in the classroom. They cope much better than if they arrived in Year 7.”

“At our school we have home rooms for each grade where a dedicated teacher gets to know them. We have a culture of pastoral care meaning teachers are not only interested in education but also the personal lives of each student.

Knowing how well they are coping. Identifying certain talents which can be developed. Helping them though challenging times.”

Mr Neale says the home room teacher forms a vital connection between the school, the students and their parents.

“We know that Middle School works because our parents are all onboard. They tell us that they like the process and it makes sense to them. We also know by watching the progress of our students that they appreciate.”

Mr Neale began his teaching career in 1996 and joined the team at Pacific Hills Christian School in 2003. He has also been a school principal overseas. His four children attend the school and three of them have completed Middle School.

Pacific Hills Christian School has vacancies for Year 5 in 2019 and 2020 and for more information contact the Registrar on 96510700.