Montessori and Senior schooling opportunities in Australia

Montessori Adolescent programs (high schools) are a growing part of the sector, with a new high school opening (or adopting a Montessori stream or with Montessori philosophy and practice as a whole school) around the country each year for the last 5 years. Whilst this may appear a small number, given the small representation of the sector within education overall, it is quite significant. Currently, we have 19 programs , 7 of these offering senior secondary programs (the remainder offer a middle school program from Years 7-9 with a few continuing through to Year 10). Of the 7 senior schools, 4 programs access the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma programme or the IB Careers programme. This is essentially because both educational philosophies are so well aligned,  particularly in terms of approaches to learning and the support of adolescence to retain a love of learning, be balanced, caring, reflective and knowledgeable, amongst other qualities (Learner profile for IB students – International Baccalaureate® ( The remaining three programs utilise their state curricula and/or Big Picture Learning. Of the 12 programmes that do not move into senior programmes (Yr 11 and 12), there are a variety of reasons including financial and resourcing, philosophical or other. At least three programmes have expressed interest in building a Year 10 programme and two Primary schools have begun their planning for an Adolescent programme (NSW and QLD).

Senior Programmes (as well as Middle School programmes) have clear intended Graduate outcomes including, but not limited to the following: 

  • Self-reflective
  • Adaptable
  • Independent Self/Directed
  • Metacognitive
  • Confident
  • Self-disciplined
  • Responsible/ Sense of Duty and Honour/Service/Citizenship
  • Collaborative
  • Ability to critically evaluate the world
  • Curious
  • Comfort with Error/Failure

(Deep Dive on “Ideal Outcomes of a Montessori Graduate” — Montessori Adolescent Initiative)

As an aside, all schools developing or running a Senior programme agree that there are a number of pathways available to explore in order to support students to transition to work or tertiary study, not necessarily tied to formal certification. TAFE offers a suite of offerings which many students access from Year 10 and beyond, and work-based opportunities exist that are worth exploring. The priority for students is on who they are becoming as people, and on how this will empower them to be a part of their society.

Article written by Alex Ioannou

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