Learning @ Friends’ 24 Plus Program

The purpose of the Learning @ Friends’ 24 Plus (L@F24+) Program is to better meet the learning, social, emotional, spiritual needs and development of students both now and into the future. The L@F24+ Program is the reorganisation of secondary year groups across the school; and is establishing an updated optimal learning environment through the redesign and enhancement of the Years 7 to 12 curricular & co-curricular programs.   

The new secondary year group structure – Years 9 through to Year 12 (Senior School) to be based on the Commercial Road Campus and Years 7 & 8 (Middle School Connections Years) on Argyle Street – is set to be introduced at the start of 2024, with program implementation continuing in 2025 & 2026.

This web page has been established to hold information about the L@F24+ Program for all members of the community to view and reference. There is also an enquiry form to send us any questions or feedback. Some specific staff updates and information can be found at the following link:

Areas of Change

The L@F24+ Program will predominantly impact students, staff and parents/guardians working with and/or engaged in the learning and support for Year 7 to 12 cohorts.

The Program aims to support changes that will take place with the following areas: 

    • Curricular and co-curricular programs 
    • Staff leadership 
    • Student leadership 
    • Facilities and physical resources 
    • Timetables 
    • House system

A key Program outcome is that there should be little impact on the amount of staffing needed, but some staff will have a change in roles, e.g. teaching in different campuses or across different year groups.

What is the purpose and aims of the Program?

    • The Program aims to enhance the student experience, with a focus on ‘learning for stage, not age’.  This includes:
      • Enhanced programs in Year 7 and 8 
      • The development of a new Year 9 Curriculum and approach 
      • A closer relationship of classes and academic opportunities for Years 9 – 12
      • Enhanced pathways opportunities for 9-12
    • Maximise the opportunities of having the positive impact of older students with Years 9 and 10 and forge a better relationship of Year 11 and 12 across the whole school
    • Bring the School structure into the ‘best practise model’ of Years 9 to 12, which is also being adopted for better academic, social and emotional opportunities and reasons 
    • We want to develop a better understanding that The Friends’ School is a E to 12 journey and continuum with fewer physical transition points.

Benefits of the L@F24+ Program

  • Enhanced learning opportunities for ‘stage not age’
  • Create a specialised Year 9 Program
  • Extend the Year 7 Connections program into Year 8
  • Better grouping of co-curricular activities for students moving through secondary years
  • Enhanced academic pathway for student in Years 9 & 10, moving into Years 11  & 12
  • Expand opportunities for students to lead their peers and engage in service across the School
  • More informal leadership to be experienced by students in Year 9 & 10 from senior students
  • Redeveloping leadership for targeted year grouping stages
  • Leadership to enable closer staff collaboration, communication and planning across year groups and campuses
  • Additional clarity of leadership responsibility for staff and students
  • Redeveloping and repurposing the use of facilities within each campus for age specific use
  • Providing Connections and Middle Years facilities for some Year 5 & 6 learning opportunities
  • Less year group transitions for students across campuses
  • Enhanced teacher wellbeing with reduced campus movements for teachers and more effective lesson planning and delivery
  • Reimagining and developing a new timetable to suit current and future learning and wellbeing needs
  • Opportunity to create different lesson duration to suit learning needs
  • Better vertical integration of the Houses from K to 12
  • Enhanced participation, leadership and visibility of  the House activities for Years 9 to 12. Leadership opportunities for students in Year 8 in House System
  • Implementing 4 x Houses from K to 12

Approach, Progress and Timeline

Assess: Learning @ Friends’ Working Group is established to review & research future needs (Completed during 2021 School Year)

Recommend: The initial Learning @ Friends’ Working Group recommends a strategy to reorganise the Secondary Year Groups. The Board of Governors supports the recommendation (Completed in April 2022)

Design & Engage:  The Program is designed with consultation via working groups and stakeholders.  Prioritisation of activities agreed upon and shared with all stakeholders (In Progress: Term 2 2022 to Term 1 2023)

Implement, Refine and Complete: Key areas of the Program commence with support provided to students and staff.  The Program is implemented, normalised and refined through consultation and feedback (Upcoming: Term 1 2023 to Term 3 2024).


Progress Diagram

Who is involved?

The L@F24+ Program team leads the planning and implementation of the required changes to facilities, pastoral systems, academic programs, co-curricular activities and staffing as the School prepares for the change in organisational structure to a E-8 and 9 – 12 model. This involves the engagement of all stakeholders in The Friends’ School community throughout the lead-up to and byond 2024 and the eventual initiation of the new structure in the first terms of the change.

The L@F24+ Program team is lead by Deputy Principal Shaun O’Rourke with the assistance of Lyn Tunbridge who will serve as the L@F24+ Program Coordinator during 2023. Lyn, the former Deputy Head of Clemes (Years 11 & 12), will undertake this role full time in 2023.  An external consultant has also been appointed to help as a change facilitator.

A number of working groups are being set-up to help facilitate and engage the community on the program changes. The School has also engaged with a Change Partner Consultant and Project Manager to assist with coordinating the program and formulate the program plans.  Details of who is involved can be viewed in the following image, including the names of convenors for each working group.

Sructure Diagram

  • Timetable: convened by Phil Rogers.  Members: Trish Menadue, Julie Inman, John Hoggart, Lindy Gannon, Peter Smythe, Nicola Collins, Mark Allen

  • Facilities: convened by Shaun Sargent.  Members: Richard Apted, Nicola Anderson, Tammy Giblin, Jane Smith, Fiona Zinn, John Hoggart, Amy Harris

  • Curriculum (Years 7 & 8): convened by Lindy Gannon.  Members: John Hoggart, Wendy Crow, Jason McDonald, Lindy Maddock, Fiona Lewis, Catherine Gray and Nicola Collins (on leave)

  • Curriculum (Years 9 to 12): convened by Phil Rogers.  Members: Jane Morrison, Sarah Walker, Joni Chuter, Kim Rowlands, Paul Kershna, Peter Gibson, Sam Norton, Stacey Prior, Tracie Acreman

  • Staff leadership: convened by Nelson File.  Members: Shaun O’Rourke, Gwen Pinnington (Change Partner), Shaun Sargent, Lyn Tunbridge and Sue Buckland

  • Student leadership: convened by Amy Harris.  Members: Kim Rowlands, Christine Wittlinger, Karina Churchill, Noah Everett (Student), Maeve Bylsma (Student), Kate Baldry

  • House System / Student Culture: convened by Debbie Taylor.  Members: Adam Blackburn, Joe Cairns, Adam Chambers, Casey-Rae McMullen, John White

  • Communication: convened by Bill Avery.  Members: Holly Chilman, Greg Downes, Yvette Blackwood, Henry Webster (Student), Sophie Neal (Student), Lynn Redwig (Parent), Scott Adams (Parent)

Current Priorities and Next Steps

  • Finalise the Program Plan and Design
  • Working Groups continue to meet and engage with staff on priorities and program design models
  • Seek and sharing feedback from staff, students and parents/guardians

Amy Harris has taken up convening the Student Leadership Working Group in February 2023

Progress and achievements to date:
  • Terms of Reference and plan approved by L@F24+ Program Team
  • Considerable feedback gathered from surveys, face-to-face and other schools
  • Reviewed the current structure at a conceptual level and functional level
Current priorities and focus:
  • Guiding questions:
    • Re-establish the purpose /function of the leadership structure? Why do you have it? Structure? 
    • How do we maintain connection throughout the whole school? 
    • What are the strengths of our current leadership model?
    • What are the challenges we face? 
    • How do you combine house and leadership structure?
    • Is student council student driven or teacher facilitated?  (agency) 
    • How often do we review ourstructure and why?
Anticipated or identified work in the coming 1-2 months:
  • Further research, feedback and consultation (including survey)

The Year 7 & 8 Curriculum Working Group is convened by Lindy Gannon from the start of 2023, as Nicola Collins is on leave.  We thank Nicola for her considerable leadership and input to date and look forward to her return for 2024!

Progress and achievements to date:

  • Significant research into best practice middle years education
  • Develop a draft timetable constructed in liaison with Timetable Working Group
  • Develop a draft set of learning principles for Middle Years
  • Ideas development for curriculum planning

Current priorities and focus:

  • Undertaking consultation with Heads of Faculties
  • Developing a sub-focus group to start to look at the curriculum in more detail
  • Aiming to finalise timetable  and overarching curriculum framework

Anticipated or identified work in the coming 1-2 months:

  • Continue to develop curriculum based on decisions made around the timetable / structures

The House System Working Group is convened by Debbie Taylor – Kindergarten to Year 6 Coordinator.  Members include: Adam Blackburn, Joe Cairns, Adam Chambers, Casey-Rae McMullen and John White.

Progress and achievements to date:

  • Initial brainstorming of all possibilities and models
  • Discussion on the ways we can become better informed, including researching and collecting data from local, national and international schools to gain further ideas, perspectives and, maybe areas of concern.
  • Questions are being formed to support the above research and data collection

Current priorities and focus:

  • Collecting data and research documents
  • To include student voice in our group and therefore asking students to join our group

Anticipated or identified work in the coming 1-2 months:

  • Although we are waiting for other working groups to settle into their action plans and make headway with decisions, which will guide this group on future recommendations, we will be looking at our data collection and research to further our understanding and support a pathway forward
  • We are also making recommendations about the current house names K-12 and we are also going to create a transparent action plan

The Facilities Working Group is convened by Shaun Sargent – Director of Business Affairs. Members include: Richard Apted, Nicola Anderson, Tammy Giblin, Jane Smith, Fiona Zinn, John Hoggartand Amy Harris.

Progress and achievements to date:

  • Timeline planning with project consultant Kath Wilson
  • Organising and seeking Board of Governors approval for Commercial Road Campus Science laboratory upgrade
  • Engage architects in the design development for the Commercial Road Campus Science laboratory upgrade
  • Planning for Commercial Road Campus Science laboratory works during 2022/23 summer break

Current priorities and focus:

  • Completion of Commercial Road Campus Science laboratory upgrade project
  • The development of a schedule of works for 2024-26 for the Board of Governors consideration
  • Liaising with the Timetabling working group to determine what facilities can be used across both campuses with timetabling solutions

Anticipated or identified work in the coming 1-2 months:

  • Design development for Commercial Road Campus Science laboratory upgrade project

The Communication Working Group is convened by Bill Avery – Director of Community Engagement.  Members include: Holly Chilman, Greg Downes, Yvette Blackwood, Henry Webster (Student), Sophie Neal (Student), Lynn Redwig (Parent), Scott Adams (Parent).

Current Update:

Progress and achievements to date:

  • Scoping of working group role and priorities project consultant Kath Wilson
  • Reviewing staff day feedback
  • Gathering feedback and ideas from working group members on types and ways to communicate to certain stakeholders
  • Establish and set-up staff information web portal and public web page.

Current priorities and focus:

  • Review input from the change impact analysis workshop and risk analysis workshop
  • Establish and commence a Communication Plan with the inputs from the workshops
  • A structure to share working group updates across the groups and with stakeholders broadly

Anticipated or identified work in the coming 1-2 months:

  • Provide more and new opportunities for face-to-face communication with stakeholders
  • Establish FAQ’s on web page
  • Roll out the Communications Plan


The Year 9 to 12 Curriculum Working Group is convened by Phil Rogers – Director of Teaching and Learning. Members include: Jane Morrison, Sarah Walker, Joni Chuter, Kim Rowlands, Paul Kershna, Peter Gibson, Sam Norton, Stacey Prior and Tracie Acreman.

Current Update:

The working group has now met three times looking at the Terms of Reference, Indicators of Success, and Key Deliverables and Timelines at the start of each meeting.  The group has then considered what attributes, skills, and dispositions the ideal Friends Graduate would have and how these relate to our Purpose & Concerns.  At the subsequent meeting, the group split into pairs and looked at what the consequences were for the curriculum to help build this ideal graduate. In the third meeting, the group has come back together to start analysing some of the common features of the proposed curriculum from the various pairs.  Some initial discussions have surrounded Gathering, Service Learning, Languages and Pathways planning.  This conversation will continue at our first meeting in Term 4.

The Timetable Leadership Working Group is convened by Phil Rogers – Director of Teaching and Learning. Members include:  Trish Menadue, Julie Inman, John Hoggart, Lindy Gannon, Peter Smythe, Nicola Collins and Mark Allen.

Current Update:
The Timetable 7-8 & 9-12 working group has met fortnightly since the start of term and has been focused on looking to develop a list of key areas of consideration whilst also being mindful of the connections the timetable will have with curricula and facilities groups.  A couple of options of a possible Y7-8 timetable have been passed to the Curriculum 7-8 working group and this has been initially received well.  This timetable contained some larger blocks of time (eg 2 hours) that could be broken down into smaller 1 hours lessons if required.  It also considered minimising the impact on lunchtimes in Morris and creating suitable cross-over scenarios for any teachers or facilities needed for 9-12 cohort.  Another key consideration has been to reduce the number of teachers a Year 7 (and 8) student has on a weekly basis.
A focus on possible 9-12 timetables has seen conversations focus on optimal period lengths; the number of blocks in a day; and the appropriate number of lines for IB, TCE, Y10 and Y9 to provide both choice and continuity of learning and teaching, just to list a few of the key discussions.  Consideration of reduced transition times, and the resultant loss of learning. Plus the need to create more balanced timetables for teachers with minimal class changes across semesters and a manageable number of students to teach.