Students in years 7-10 at Coastal Taranaki School are part of our Middle School. These years are an important and exciting time in education. Young people within these years are experiencing a reclassification of the world where they further define and mature ideas, thinking more deeply and developing a more independent style for their learning. Young adults can experience a disengagement from schooling and with this can come behavioural issues. Students in Middle School education need to experience a different type of curriculum. They require an approach that acknowledges their personal, social and educational needs.
The Middle School prepares students for the transition to secondary education and begins to use specific terminology found in the NCEA environment. Middle School teachers are well suited to engaging students in meaningful, context based learning. Students work using a range of strategies, independent study, group discussion, problem solving and co-operative learning activities.
The NZ Curriculum and Middle School is used to ensure that programmes:
• Are relevant and engage students in the issues of the ‘real world’.
• Develop responsibility, where students become increasingly accountable for leading their own learning.
• Foster a culture of belonging within safe and supportive class environments.
• Encourage awareness for themselves and others.
• Engage with students developmental needs by providing challenging and appropriate tasks.
• Build a level of competence by extending existing skills and knowledge
• Values based, where students explore ethical decisions and advance personal values
• Are grounded in functional learning to encourage active rather than passive participation.
Throughout this time, students’ classwork, extra-curricular activities, and leadership involvement contribute towards their achievement of the Middle School Certificate.
How does the Middle School Certificate work?
There are two parts to the Middle School Certificate – Years 7 & 8 (Stage 1) and Years 9 & 10 (Stage 2). Students in Years 7 and 9 will work towards completion of the stages recognised by graduation in Years 8 & 10. All Year 7 – 10 programmes have points awarded to them which students gain through achievement. The points students gain are directly linked to the curriculum strands, school Values and the Key Competencies. To be awarded the MSC at the end of each year, students must have accumulated at least 80 of the available points. For students arriving part way through the year or in later years, a pro rata system will be employed.
To increase the incentive for capable students to raise their level of achievement the MSC will be awarded at three levels – Achieved, Merit and Excellence. To have their MSC endorsed with Excellence, students need to gain 111 or more credits, Merit is awarded between 95 and 110 points. How are the credits earned? The core subjects of English, Maths, Science, PE/Health and Social Studies are allocated 10 points per term. These are called the core subjects as the students have these subjects throughout the year. The option subjects are on a rotation and students spend less time within these options. 5 points can be achieved through successful completion of units within each option class. There are an additional 10 points available for positive comments in the teachers’ database. These could be congratulatory or high effort comments based upon citizenship or displaying Coastal Values. These will be added to the student’s pastoral record.
10 points are awarded each, for extra curricular activities, expectations (including homework), service to the home or school, and for Leadership. These points will be decided by rohe classroom teachers at the end of each term and posted on to the KAMAR mark book. As with NCEA, achievement, points will be awarded through grading work at Achieved, Merit and Excellence levels.
The following diagram illustrates the aspects of students’ learning that contribute to certificates at each level of the Middle School Certificate:
How can parents help their children succeed?
Ensure that your child attends school regularly and is on time. Check your child’s school diary. Communicate with the class teacher through the school diary. Take an interest in your child’s school work and encourage them to do well. Attend parent/teacher conferences. Make time to meet teachers of your child. Volunteer time to assist with fundraising and other school activities.