WA Catholic schools moving Year 7 to high school

In a change that brings WA Catholic schools into line with those in other states, the state's Catholic Education Office is to begin moving Year 7 classes to secondary schools despite a study that found no benefit in the transfer.

The West Australian reports that Catholic schools will also offer fulltime kindergarten to four-year-olds.

Catholic Education Office director Ron Dullard told the paper that most Catholic schools would provide kindergarten to Year 6 in primary schools and Years 7 to 12 at secondary level by 2015.

In February, Education Minister Mark McGowan said he would not transfer all Year 7 public students to high schools after an internal Education Department study found it was too expensive and had no educational benefit.

Mr Dullard said the move would bring WA Catholic schools into line with most other States in which children start high school at Year 7.

Ian Elder, principal of Sacred Heart College, Sorrento, said Year 7s would be nearly 13 after 2009, old enough to cope with high school programs.

"I do not envisage bringing them on to the high school campus and then separating them as a little group of Year 7s because you may as well have them in the primary if you're going to do that," he said.

Mr Dullard said one of the conditions of the move was that parents at feeder primary schools had a say in how Year 7s were taught.

"The normal thing would be a halfway house, with more teachers than at primary school but less than normal in Year 8, so you're moving progressively towards integration into the high school," he said.

He said transferring the Year 7s would free up extra classroom space to offer full-time kindergarten programs five days a week.

Catholics move Year 7 students to high school (The West Australian, 8/5/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Catholic Education Office, Western Australia

WA Catholics 'disadvantaged' under schools RE plan (CathNews, 23/3/06)
Study shows most Catholic students reject faith (CathNews, 7/12/05)

9 May 2007