Year 8 Overview
Shaped on the successes achieved in Year 7, the focus of Year 8 at St John’s Grammar is to ‘innovate’ by building on knowledge and skills as students experience new contexts and challenges.
In Year 8, students build upon understanding and comprehension they developed in Year 7 through a broader choice of elective subjects and opportunities. Students begin to experiment with, and specialise in, certain subject areas while continuing to develop skills in Languages, studying a full year of Indonesian or Japanese.
Focusing on learning and wellbeing, students participate in our Wings wellbeing program throughout the year to learn life skills in resilience to navigate life’s ups and downs, enabling them to flourish cognitively, emotionally, socially, spiritually, and physically.
Through signature experiences and learning, St John’s Grammar Year 8s build self-awareness and strength to succeed beyond Middle School and the classroom.
Some of the highlights for the students are a Leadership Development Program, an Outdoor Education expedition along the Murray, and our exciting Innov8 project, which is a celebration of student agency, creativity, innovation, problem identification and budding entrepreneurship.
Year 8 curriculum
Our Year 8 program builds upon existing knowledge and skills in the core subjects and provides exciting learning as students begin to shape their learning pathways.
The core curriculum includes English, Science, Mathematics, Languages (Indonesian or Japanese), Physical Education and Humanities, with Wings (wellbeing) and Digital Technologies for a semester each. A further two semesters of elective subjects can be chosen from diverse subject areas including, Performing and Visual Arts, Music, Food Technology, Design & Technology, Manufacturing and Philosophy. To read more about the subjects on offer, download our Year 8 Subject Selection Handbook.
We also offer a range of scholarships, find out more on our Scholarships page.
Wellbeing program in Year 8
Our wellbeing program sees students gaining tools to live well, supporting their developing independence in leading healthy, meaningful and purposeful lives in order to soar into their future.
Our Middle and Senior School students participate in wellbeing as part of the Health and Personal Development curriculum (7-10) and during pastoral care time (7-12), with developmentally appropriate topics and themes discussed.
The 8Wings program delves into expanding students’ knowledge, understanding and skills to strengthen their sense of self, and build and manage satisfying, respectful relationships.
Focus areas of the program include mental, physical, emotional, social and spiritual growth of the individual and the challenges these changes can present. Critical thinking and problem solving will be developed through a strengths-based approach to safety when it comes to choices in relationships, with alcohol and drugs and in their own mental health.
In the Middle School we pride ourselves on knowing and connecting meaningfully with each and every student. With the increasing choice in timetabling, Year 8s move away from a core class model but are still anchored by the House system and a consistent homegroup. Teachers, Heads of House, as well as the Head of Middle School provide layers of pastoral care for students. Key staff members have undertaken mental health first aid training and support is also available from our Student Wellbeing Coordinator.
We can offer formal counselling support from our qualified, on-staff counsellors. Students are able to self refer, or can be referred by St John’s Grammar staff, with appointments centrally coordinated to ensure all students have equal opportunity.
A broad range of learners are accommodated within our Exceptional Learners’ Framework. Support at either end of the learning spectrum is provided as well as programs to support those who have unique learning needs around other commitments and responsibilities.
All students also have access to homework clubs as well as tutoring by Old Scholars and staff via The Learning Commons.
Signature experiences in Year 8
In Year 8, our students have the chance to build ideas, products and solutions through the exciting Innov8 project, which is a celebration of student agency, creativity, innovation, problem identification and budding entrepreneurship. Run like a New Inventors style show, students present their design, the often non-linear, messy journey along the way and the learning they had made to be judged by a panel.
Students who are finalists in this competition have the opportunity to be paired with an expert in the industry to further their invention and bring their concepts to fruition.
The Leadership Development Program is another hallmark of the Year 8 experience. Over the course of a term, students participate in up to five leadership sessions during which they learn how to be an effective leader and what leadership can look like. Developing a leader-centred vision is the ultimate outcome of this program, with students also exploring the qualities and values that will make them an effective leader.
Another signature experience in Year 8 is the Outdoor Education expedition along the Murray. Making use of the features of the unique natural environment, students are presented with some challenging, exciting and worthwhile learning experiences in the outdoors. It is a highlight of the year for many and builds students’ stamina and mental fitness.
To nurture outstanding learners, our Frequent Flyers program offers a program of activities for highly able students. Transcending year level groups, this program gives students creative, collaborative and competitive problem solving tasks to maximise engagement and hone skills.
Extra curricular opportunities for Year 8s
Extra curricular activities in the Secondary School cover the whole spectrum. We have a very high participation rate of extra curricular activities, with most students taking up an activity in addition to their academic studies.
Students can select from a broad range of sporting activities, a specialist music program, and extensive arts programs including band, orchestra, drama and dance. Pedal Prix, triathlons, ski trips, mountain biking club, Subs in Schools and the Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme are also among the offerings. House activities include debating, chess, public speaking and inter-House sports.
Student-led clubs are also popular, and there are many leadership positions available for each year level. If a student interest is not catered for, students are supported by Home Group teachers to set up something new.
The important elements of House and School life include a range of House sports, including weekly competitions and inter-House challenges, Athletics and Swimming Carnivals, as well as a number of special days and events such as the Festival of Ideas, and celebrations, such as Book Week and Science Week.
Secondary Campus facilities
Situated on the Secondary Campus, our Middle School is located in a peaceful bushland setting in Belair and is easily accessible by car, rail and bus, and incorporates historic Retreat House, St Barnabas’ Chapel and the former Theological College building, in addition to purpose built classrooms and facilities.
These include a large multipurpose Sports Hall, a Design and Technology Centre, Music and Drama studios, a Food Technology Centre, access to 3D printing and robotics, Science laboratories, and a dedicated International Living and Learning Precinct Language Centre complete with boarding accommodation. The Learning Commons (TLC) provides a University-like space for study, allowing for independent and collaborative learning opportunities while our Year 7s have a dedicated indoor/outdoor learning space overlooking a natural bushland vista. Equipped with flexible-use furniture and opening glass walls, this space is designed to enhance collaboration and active learning. The extensive facilities of the Secondary Campus are dotted with trees for an environment that stimulates a culture of learning, peace and wellbeing.
An on-site café offers healthy food choices and a large FIFA accredited all-weather sports field provides a functional sports surface all year round, sitting alongside tennis and netball courts, and the St John’s is serviced by a School bus that runs several routes, south, to the coast and throughout the Hills as well as shuttling between the Junior and Secondary Campuses.