The Year 7 and 8 Academy is designed as one of the three tiers in our Academy structure with the desire to have an individual sport person progress through each tier. Each tier of the Academy structure is designed based around research, effective pedagogy using industry professionals, namely Raylene Bates (Former High Performance Manager of High Performance Sport New Zealand), Dr Tania Cassidy (senior lecturer in Pedagogy at the University of Otago School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Science), and Karen Dunlea (Teacher of Health and Physical Education and former high performance athlete). From reviewing other academy systems around Dunedin, we believe we have a point of difference as our structure is age appropriate and best suits the students according to current research. Since its inception we have been requested to present on our Academy system/structure at various meetings and conferences, for example at the; national conference of Regional Sports Directors, Otago Secondary Schools Sports Co-ordinator meeting, South Otago Area School, Catlins Area School and Physical Education New Zealand. As well as this the ideas and practices associated with the Taieri College Academy have been well received in presentations in Ireland 2012 and Korea 2013.
The philosophy behind the Year 7 and 8 Junior Academy is based around fundamental skills of coordination, balance, spatial awareness etc. which will benefit all athletes regardless of the sport/s in which they participate. We have purposely resisted the temptation to have students in the Junior Academy specialising in one particular sport. Not all members of the Junior Academy participate in ball sports, in the past we have had sailors, equestrians and dancers. Progressions are planned and provided to further challenge students once they have gained consistency in their performance of the targeted skill. Students are introduced to activities they would have had little experience, in an attempt to develop their resiliency skills, which they will need to overcome obstacles they inevitably face if/when they progress to become high performance athletes. Part of our motivation is to have our Taieri College students compete on par with all local secondary schools and colleges.
Topics such as nutrition, specialised fitness programmes, etc. are introduced in the next two tiers of the academy. i.e. the Year 9 Sports Science option has four main topics; Physical (fitness and fitness testing, nutrition injuries), Psychology (goal setting, self-talk, imagery), Technical (skill analysis, peer appraisal), Tactical (game sense and decision making). The Year 9 Sports Science class is an optional subject which makes up part of the curriculum (two hours practical and one hour classroom based per week).
Time of the Year 7 and 8 Academy
We have purposely not included any classroom or lecture based sessions for the Year 7 and 8 students. Sessions are held once a fortnight on a Wednesday from 7.45am to 8.45am in the gymnasium.
Sports Science - Year 9/10
Sports Science is part of the students option subjects, with Year 9 three times a week for one term and Year 10 three times a week for the entire year.