Year 11 Supported as Adult Learners

By Daniel Mulcahy (Year 10)

In 2023 St Virgil's College moved from ending at Year 10 to ending at Year 12. This is a massive change for the College considering they have not run Year 11 and 12 since 1995 when Guilford Young College was built.

Building started in 2021 on the new Senior Secondary buildings and now, in 2023, the facilities are open for students staying on at the College.

The recent Year 11s have had a unique experience being the first Senior Secondary cohort at St Virgil’s for over 25 years. In an interview with student Tadhg Morgan, an insight into what it is like being in Year 11 at the College has been gained.

"Being one of the first Year 11 cohorts back at St Virgil’s in a long time is something quite significant and something I will remember."

"Being one of the first lot of students in this role, it is quite cool being able to make decisions of how things will be run for everyone else.”

With the Year 11s being the leaders of the school, they are the role models for the younger grades and many people will be looking up to them. Just as Mr Morgan said, being an influence on how things are run from experience gained from them and others looking up to them is quite cool. Being a Year 11 and Year 12 student in the first few years of Senior Secondary years being reintroduced will allow students have an impact on school life.

Deputy Principal Daniel Lapolla explained what the school is doing to make and shape the experience for the Year 11 students.

“The key ingredient should be around the adult learner and creating an environment in which the Year 11 and 12 students feel as though they are adults, and they are fully in the driver's seat.”

This shows that St Virgil’s are trying to make the experience for Year 11 and 12 students an adult learners “like the university model.” The feeling is that Senior Secondary students should be treated according to their age and responsibilities.

When asked about how St Virgil’s would bring the adult learner to the forefront Mr Lapolla said, “I think it needs to be on display for sure, the rest of the school - Year 1 to 10 - can see them experiencing different things.” 

This pattern of adult learning will be copied and brought to the forefront as it is demonstrated further.

A big part for the  Year 11 students is the benefits that come with being in a Senior Secondary year. Many Year 11 students have been experiencing this and the College makes these benefits apparent and to shape the adult learner.

“The benefits are the use of the common room and private study lines if you complete four Level 3 subjects. The whole method of teaching and learning is completely different. Everything is structured and in-line with other schools,” Mr Morgan said.

This shows that St Virgil’s is no different from other Senior Secondary schools and the benefits such as study lines and common rooms are there to academically benefit the students helping them achieve their academic success.

“All the different agreements - driving to school, the study line agreements - have been big, so boys coming and going based on their timetable are similar to that university model,” said Mr Lapolla.

Mr Lapolla is heavily focused on making the experience for the adult learner with all of these adapted benefits and more.

St Virgil’s College has made some great changes to their system and the students there like them.

“Yes, the experience is a lot better than previous years,” said Mr Morgan, “There are other schooling options and the ones who stay are the students who enjoy the school making for a better community overall.”

This should positively benefit the students and the College in years to come and with any luck, the adult learner model will continue to be adopted into the College.