Thriving At Nossal: Our School Environment
Underpinning the success of Nossal’s students is a committed focus to developing and supporting the whole student. This is achieved in a variety of ways, and has implications for every aspect of school life, including our approach to classroom learning and assessment practices.
Fundamental to establishing and maintaining a positive culture of adult learning is the House system , which provides a structure within which the school helps its students to develop a strong sense of connectedness with their peers across all year levels. It provides the context within which we educate and supports our students about matters relating to wellbeing, study habits, social participation and social justice. It is also the first port of call for students to access help when they need it.
An important structural element of Nossal, and one which enables much of its cultural richness and its community spirit, is its verticality. Students attend morning tutorials in House groups which include students from every year level. Senior students are thus on hand every day to provide role modelling, advice and support to their more junior peers. These groupings are often maintained in the weekly Nossal Time lessons through which the school encourages strong relationships and teaches various life skills explicitly, building the capability of students at all levels. Finally, since a significant number of our students accelerate in at least one subject after Year 9, students are regularly in classrooms with mixed year level groupings, offering another opportunity for them to interact with peers who are on their own intellectual level, even when they are not in their age group.
All students at Nossal High School participate in the Nossal Time program within their House groups. This program groups students in vertical groupings (students from all year levels) to encourage an approach to collaboration which is not limited by their tendency to associate primarily with peers of similar age. The program includes explicit instruction in the Victorian Curriculum’s Personal and Social Capability and incorporates a significant allotment of time for large group creative expression during the lead-up to the House Performing Arts Festival.
As part of their induction into Nossal’s culture and learning structures, all Year 9 students participate in a subject called “9Time” whose focus is established during a week-long induction period at the very start of each year (iWeek). The subject, which brings students together three times a cycle, guides students through key aspects of their lives as Nossal students. For example, students are given a detailed explanation of how progress, learning and achievement are related, and how this in turn affects Nossal’s assessment and feedback structures. They are guided through reflections on their longer term goals, in the context of a careers curriculum which incorporates aptitude testing to help them understand their areas of strength. They receive explicit instruction in various core capabilities, which are then further explored in their academic classes. Finally, they are provided with a series of experiences like the City Week program which is designed to increase their confidence and their ability to operate as independent agents in a scaffolded way, preparing them for the independent learning behaviours which will be expected of them as they progress through the school and their future lives.
Nossal prides itself on the strength of its co-curricular programs. These encompass everything from camps and international tours, through a range of curriculum-based excursions and sporting events, to include an extensive collection of student-led clubs and societies. The offerings of the clubs and societies, in particular, are both rich and constantly changing as groups rise and fall with the interests of any given cohort. A description of some of the progams that students are involved in is available by following the links below:
Nossal has a strong support network available for staff and students alike, and considers the wellbeing of every member of the school community to be of primary importance to their success, and to the success of the community. Follow the links below to some information on wellbeing concerns that typically affect Nossal students, and to see an outline of the support structures available to them.