The School of Education and Professional Studies (EPS) is playing an important role in school reform across Queensland.

A team of EPS staff are working on two projects to support Queensland state schools as they incorporate significant changes as part of the major ‘A Flying Start for Queensland Children’ reform.

EPS Dean and Head of School, Professor Donna Pendergast, leads the two projects, which focus on getting ready for school, getting ready for high school and boosting the performance of all schools.

One of the most significant of these reforms is the transition of Year 7 to high school in Queensland schools in 2015 and the introduction of Junior Secondary (Years 8 and 9) in state secondary schools, which commenced in 2013,” Professor Pendergast said.

The transition recognises that, following the successful introduction of a Prep year in 2007 and increasing the school starting age by 6 months, in 2015 more than half the children in Year 7 will turn 13 and will be in their eighth year of school.”

Year 7 students at high school will benefit from access to specialist resources, such as science labs and science teachers. It will also allow students to take advantage of the Australian Curriculum, introduced into Queensland schools at the beginning of 2012.”

To aid with these transitions EPS staff are involved in two major projects:

Development and delivery of Junior Secondary Modules

The first project, delivered by Professor Donna Pendergast and Dr Katherine Main, involves the development and delivery of Junior Secondary Modules as professional development for teachers.

Professor Pendergast said the project aimed to support Year 7 teachers with the transition into secondary school.

The Junior Secondary Modules are designed to provide professional learning to support the transition of Year 7 teachers into secondary schools, along with establishing Junior Secondary (Years 7, 8, 9) in schools in Queensland.”

This online learning experience has been effectively trialled, and is presently being delivered to 500 participants around the state.

Leading Change Program — Junior Secondary

The second project involves the development and delivery of a Leading Change Program – Junior Secondary, also led by Professor Donna Pendergast.

Professor Pendergast said the project involved the development of learning resources to assist with change in schools.

This project involves the development of an experiential leading change program, which is currently being delivered to all 259 state high school leadership teams in Queensland,” Professor Pendergast said.

The program builds capability to lead effective change processes in schools, specifically in preparation for the transition of Year 7 to Junior Secondary by the start of 2015.

The project includes the delivery of 14 conferences and a 4-month coaching program for more than 800 school leaders.

Project team members include Dr Katherine Main, Dr David Geelan, Dr Harry Kanasa and Dr Georgina Barton from Griffith University, Dr Tony Dowden from the University of Southern Queensland, and independent consultant Susan Hearfield.