Years 4 to 9 spans traditional primary and secondary schooling and are a time of great physical, social, emotional and intellectual change for young people.
Students in the Middle Phase of Learning have distinctive and diverse needs which stem from the very significant developmental changes in this period, as well as from a broad range of individual students’ life circumstances, interests, skills and talents. The Middle Phase of Learning typically occurs across Years 4-9 and falls into two distinct stages.
The first stage involves transition from the early foundational years. Students need to consolidate the foundations of literacy and numeracy that they gained in the early phase of learning. For many students this is a time of expanding curiosity and eager exploration of a broader range of learning experiences. For others, the challenges are daunting, their interest wanes and progress slows.
The second stage is characterised by the demands of intense physical, social, emotional and intellectual development of early adolescence. There is considerable diversity in how and when students move through this stage and in the impact on their attitude to and success in learning.
Increasing literacy and numeracy skills and knowledge are the essential ingredients for learning in every subject and for effective communication and participation in adult life. It is essential to maintain students’ interest and provide opportunities for them to “catch up” and make fresh starts when progress slows if they are to be ready for the senior phase of learning.
Students in the Middle Phase of Learning are going through an unmatched period of cognitive, physical, social and emotional change and growth. They begin to think more broadly about issues beyond the home and family, and they want to engage in authentic, meaningful learning.
Leadership, effective teaching and flexible and responsive approaches help ensure young people stay enthusiastic and engaged in learning. To assist this, class sizes have been reduced in Years 4 to 10 from 30 to 28 students, giving Queensland the smallest class size targets in the middle years of schooling.