Year 9 Overview
The final year of Middle School, Year 9 is an important, action-packed 12 months at St John’s Grammar School. Our graduating Year 9s are optimistic about the future and prepared to succeed.
Transitioning into Senior School is a significant part of a child’s education journey and, the theme of this year for our students is, ‘become’.
The work throughout Years 7, 8 and 9 come together in St John’s Grammar’s adaptation of The Rite Journey program, with our School culture and our students’ needs as the critical thread.
By Year 9, St John’s Grammar students have experienced that learning matters, School is enjoyable, and they have built a mindset for lifelong learning and action.
Our Middle School experts and subject specialist teachers who teach across the Secondary curriculum, know how and where to extend and support students in their journey to become young adults.
Students choose elective subjects and undertake The Rite Journey; a rewarding course that leads to a Year 9 camp in the Flinders Ranges featuring one night of solo camping and begins with a Calling and Departure Ceremony.
As well as a rigorous academic and wellbeing program, students have opportunities to participate in international experiences in Vietnam and Japan.
Students learn citizenship and what it takes to build, belong and become in our world by contributing to community service and connection, and our external mentor program. St John’s Grammar Middle School students learn to live beyond themselves, act with integrity, strive for personal bests, embrace school life, make opportunities and develop school pride – we are in this together.
Signature experiences in Year 9
The Rite Journey program is a hallmark of our Year 9 experience. Providing the opportunity for students to participate in a year-long rite of passage experience, the overall aim of Rite Journey is to guide students in what it is to be a respectful and responsible man or woman. Following four main themes (relationship with self, others, Spirit and world), The Rite Journey program features 7 unique stages on your child’s transition from childhood to adulthood and each stage incorporates a ceremony or celebration that leads students to acknowledge their personal journey towards adulthood.
Some of these include the Calling and Departure ceremony, which sees our Year 9s answer the call to begin Rite Journey, pay homage to their childhood and step forward in the pursuit of adulthood. It is an emotional and special event involving parents that gives the opportunity for some powerful dialogue as your family unit talks about the things your child will move on from or let go as they progress into young adulthood.
We are proud to have achieved Lead School status with the Rite Journey program, which sees other schools consulting with us on attaining best practice with this program.
Another signature experience of the Program is the Flinders Ranges camp which pushes students far out of their comfort zone. Conducted with the help of Wilderness Escape, students abseil down the magnificent Flinders Ranges and trek through tough terrain, with the pinnacle of the trip being an overnight solo camping experience – known as The Abyss – in Rawnsley Park. Giving the time and space to experience solitude, the Year 9s are given pause to reflect upon their year and their individual progress.
The Rite Journey is a unique and transformative experience that challenges our Year 9s in many positive ways.
Other signature experiences of the Year 9 program include opportunities for international travel with our Vietnam and Japan trips, as well as many community services and connection initiatives. The external mentor program is also a highlight of Year 9 that sees our students reach out to mentors to share experiences and overcome challenges they may face. As the final year of their Middle School experience, Year 9 students participate in a special end of year celebration called Taking Flight to signify their transition to a Senior student.
Year 9 curriculum
Our Year 9 program builds upon core subject knowledge and begins to extend students into areas of interest and passion with a greater number of electives.
The core subjects offered in English, Science, Mathematics, Physical Education and Rite Journey, with a semester each for Geography and History, allow students to develop comprehensive skills and knowledge. Elective streams offer diversity and variety and include subjects such as Performing and Visual Arts, Enterprise, Music, Languages (Indonesian or Japanese), Sports in the Community, Media Arts, Food Technology, Design & Technology, CAD and Manufacturing. To read more about the subjects on offer, download our Year 9 Subject Selection Handbook.
We also offer a range of scholarships, find out more on our Scholarships page.
Wellbeing program in Year 9
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 & Senior School students participate in wellbeing in the health and personal Development curriculum (7-10) and during pastoral care time (7-12), with developmentally appropriate topics and themes discussed.
As students reach Year 9, the Wings curriculum is embedded in the Rite Journey program. This South Australian developed program has been created to complement the role of parents in guiding children into young adulthood and is used by many schools across Australia and internationally. Based on a year-long rite of passage experience, students are guided through important conversations about what it is to be a respectful and responsible man or woman in our society.
In the Middle School we pride ourselves on knowing and connecting meaningfully with each and every student. Year 9s are supported 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.
Qualified counselling support is possible through 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.
Extra curricular activities for Year 9s
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.