Flinders Presses 'Go!' on New Year 9 Curriculum

Year 9 students and staff at Matthew Flinders Anglican College on the Sunshine Coast are pressing 'Go!' on the new Year to RISE curriculum program.

The new program is custom designed to spark curiosity, invite inquiry and allow innovation to flourish throughout the Year 9 journey. 

Flinders’ reinvigorated curriculum aims to address the traditional dip in student engagement observed in the Middle School years in schools across the country. 

Read more about the research that underpins the program in the feature story with The Educator here.

The Year to RISE launched on Tuesday, 23 January (the first day of the 2023 school year) with the College’s 131 Year 9 students learning what’s in store for them in 2023 through an interactive workshop-style experience and Lego Maker Challenge in the Flinders Performance Centre. 

Students remarked that they found it a fun and engaging way to kickstart the year and enjoyed collaborating in groups and reconnecting with their peers after the summer break. 

Year 9 Students in the Lego Maker Challenge at the Year to RISE Launch Day, January 2023
Engaging Students in Authentic Learning Opportunities

Principal Stuart Meade said the Year to RISE aims to inspire and engage students in authentic learning opportunities and encourage growth and autonomous learning through real-world challenges. 

“At Flinders, we recognise that Year 9 is traditionally a time of growth – physically, socially and emotionally – where students can find themselves ready for challenge and searching for purpose,” Stuart said. 

“We have created the Year to RISE to foster our Year 9 students’ growth and readiness for change,” he said. 

“The program is led by a team of experienced educators who are passionate about reinvigorating the Year 9 curriculum and delivering real-world learning experiences for our students.” 

Throughout the year, students will learn through subject lessons, skill-development workshops, a five-day outdoor discovery experience, a three-day conference featuring industry experts, and a capstone student-led project on a topic of their interest that makes them think, engage and act. 

Year 9 students present their creations at the Year to RISE Launch Day at Flinders, January 2023
Based on Research and Building Skills Towards Mastery in Middle School

Flinders Secondary Teacher, Mrs Emmie Cossell has contributed to the program’s rigorous research and development. 

“The Year to RISE program is an exciting opportunity for our Year 9 students – present and future – and for us as educators to engage with a curriculum capable of producing incredible outcomes,” Emmie said.  

“The program ties together the right research, quality teaching and learning strategies and the pursuit of joy in learning for our students. 

“The philosophy that drives the Year to RISE aims to enable our Year 9 students to build skills towards mastery, promotes engagement in meaningful learning experiences, is purposeful and interconnected, and develops a sense of belonging and stewardship.

“Students will learn through concepts that have been identified as being of interest and of impact on our young people.” 

At Flinders, Middle School is for students from Years 7 to 9, and Senior School is for Years 10 to 12. 

Flinders’ Middle School students track well academically, with the College awarded the top NAPLAN school on the Sunshine Coast in 2021 and 2022. Flinders’ Year 9 growth rate exceeded the national growth rate by 10% from previous NAPLAN testing.

Flinders Year 9 Teaching Team - Year to RISE 2023
L-R: Ms Larissa Robbins, Mr Ryan Slavin, Mrs Emmie Cossell, Mr Mark McDowell, Mrs Philippa Graham, Mr Tom Hauritz, Ms Sarah Johns
More about the new Year to RISE Curriculum Program at Flinders

The Year to RISE program aims to engage, connect and inspire the Year 9s at Flinders to ask questions, seek solutions and take action. 

The 'RISE' acronym refers to developing curiosity, skills and knowledge in Relationships, Inquiry, Stewardship and Enterprise. 

Throughout the year, students will learn through subject lessons and workshops, an immersive discovery experience to either the city, bush or an island, a conference featuring industry experts, and a student-led capstone project with exhibition and presentation opportunities to audiences.  

The signature curriculum will be delivered through Core Subjects, Fusion Courses and Specialist Electives, with students exposed to the big issues the world is facing, while also being encouraged to play an active role in seeking solutions. 

All subjects are taught through a conceptual lens, centring around the broad ideals of sustainability, inclusivity, diversity, environmentalism, entrepreneurship, technology and innovation.

To learn more about Secondary School at Matthew Flinders Anglican College, please visit here.

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