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Junior School: academic life

The Junior School at Waverley focuses on students as individuals. Learning streams that are split by ability level, and a team-teaching approach, mean that every child can access the individual attention they need, when they need it. This helps the students focus on their learning and prepares them for the transition to the high school, which builds on teaching systems that are used in the Junior School, such as Bloom’s Program.

"Team teaching’s good. If we are struggling in class they will walk you through what you have to do to get it right. And that’s the same in English and Spelling."

George Kelly, Year 6 student

Teacher teaching Maths to students in Junior class

Gabrielle Estevez with Year 6 Maths students

Gabrielle Bransby, Junior School teacher:

Junior school gets the students ready for high school. The way everything is run, from having different teachers for specialist subjects, preparing them – it’s like a mini high school, but there’s a different caring environment. There’s more compassion.

In a regular primary school they have the one teacher. Here there’s an opportunity for them to be guided into high school, getting used to a variety of teachers rather than just throwing them in. They get used to the cycle, how to use the diary and be independent. You really foster all of that, so when it comes time for them to go to high school they’re ready instead of just having no idea of how high school runs.

Teacher teaching Maths to students in Junior class

Matthew Ryan in class

Matthew Ryan, Junior School teacher:

I think that the expectations that we have of the students here are a lot different to a regular primary school – we have higher expectations of the students as well as the discipline and the overall structure.


We look at boys in Years 5 and 6 as being independent. You often find when they are at smaller primary schools there is a tendency for the boys to be babied down to. And there’s an expectation for them to be responsible role models for students in Kindy to Year 4. Here that’s not how it works – it’s all about them – and they learn to grow in this environment. They don’t have to worry about little ones.

Two teachers in classroom having a conversation about Maths

Junior school maths teaching team Chris and Gabrielle


For every class, we have certain boys that may be way ahead of the group – they will be provided with extension work. For kids that may be struggling, we have a support program that is very well resourced by our two teachers that are here – they take the kids out of the class for special attention based on a roster.


We change the class sizes according to their ability – the lower the ability the smaller the group. We have 21 in this class so that we can give them more attention if they are finding it difficult; the higher Maths classes have about 29–30 in the class.

Teacher teaching Maths to students in Junior class

Matthew Ryan teaching Maths to students in Junior class


With students in small groups we can team teach and give them more individual attention and time. The point of having two teachers in here is that it gives the students more one-on-one time. We’ve been doing this for about three years now – it’s hard to explain how we do it – you bounce off each other.


If Gabrielle’s teaching and I think I can add something to it then I’ll pipe up and help out. We work off each other. You can definitely see the difference with team teaching for boys that may be struggling, we can give more help, there’s also a lot more discipline in the room.


Definitely. Behaviour can be a big problem when they are struggling or not very good at something. Having two teachers, we don’t have any behaviour problems.

Teacher teaching Maths to student in Junior class

Gabrielle Bransby with Year 6 Maths student


We are always doing something to help them, wherever they are at. The Learning Support is by far the best in any school that I have been to – it’s all taken care of. We are also using ‘Bloom’s Program’, which is also used up at the high school. It means that students don’t go past a particular level until they understand what they are doing there. Once you have finished one program you move onto the next one. Some students could be on level 5 while the others are on level 1 –and that’s fine.


It caters for all students and the program continues on into the high school.

Teacher teaching Maths to students in Junior class

Teacher Matthew with students Bradley, George, Cooper & James

Students from the Maths class


Well, Waverley is a bit different to Primary school because Primary is so much smaller. We have 10 years at this school. Primary school just has 6, well 7 including kindergarten. It’s a big change.


It’s harder and yes, they are a bit stricter.


Team teaching’s good. If we are struggling in class they will walk you through what you have to do to get it right and that’s the same in English and Spelling. We just finished division, but then if I’m right we are moving onto addition and subtraction?

Gabrielle, Junior Maths teacher:

That’s right! Someone’s listening!


It’s good having two teachers in the classroom. Just say one’s busy, we can go to the other one. They’re always watching you … we can’t muck up!


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