I am delighted to welcome you to our new website.
Geelong High School was the first government high school in Geelong, and as such we are connected to thousands of people across Geelong who have had an association with us. Our vision is that we are a positive and creative learning community that embraces its history and prepares students for life. We have an existing alumni, the Silver Gulls, but we are expanding our alumni in order to connect all past students with each other. In the future all ex-Geelong High School students will connect with each other through Linked In, and through this network will stay connected with each other and be able to support each other in their lives both personally and professionally.
We pride ourselves on having a safe, calm and orderly environment. I have taken hundreds of prospective students through the school with their parents and I have only ever observed calm and respectful classrooms, with teachers and students interacting in a positive manner.
We have an enrolment of 950 students from years 7 to 12 and we are capped at 975.
We have a highly regarded performing arts program which includes dance, drama and music. We are fortunate to have a 140 seat theatre in the former church, and a new dance studio, and music technology facility. Many students also learn an instrument and participate in our bands and choirs.
Geelong High School is also well known as a school that encourages participation in sport, and we regularly have individuals and teams competing at a regional, state and national level. Our interschool sports program provides many opportunities to compete in a wide range of sports. Our “Surf to Success” program ensures that all students are able to experience the joy of surfing as we take advantage of our location and our connection with the Ocean Grove Surf Lifesaving Club.
We strongly believe that the key to a happy and successful education is the quality of the relationships that are formed between all members of the school community. Our number one priority every day is to ensure that every student feels safe at all times so they can focus on their learning.
For new year seven students we have an extensive transition program. Some students require additional support, and to this end they may start their transition to Geelong High School with regular visits in term 4. Our year 7 students come from around 40 different primary schools. We are unique in Geelong in that we don’t have a defined community from which our students come. It is exciting that students come from so many primary schools because it allows students to link with new people. We are an inclusive school. That means we welcome all students to our school. The diversity amongst our students is a strength as it allows students to understand and embrace the fact that we are all different and we all have our own story. This is a significant advantage we have over the non-government schools who are exclusive and don’t enrol a broad cross-section of students from the community.
We have had a strong focus on improving our teaching and learning over the past 5 years. In that time we have completely rewritten our curriculum at years 7 – 10 and focussed on the evidence based teaching and learning strategies which lead to the most improvement in student learning. We have developed an agreed teaching process which again is based on research as to what methods produce the best results.
At year 7 – 10 we now provide real time feedback to students and parents through Compass our student organisation and learning management system which all parents and carers can access at any time. This means as student assessment tasks are completed the teacher assesses the work against the Victorian curriculum and then provides feedback on the task completed and identifies the next steps for growth for the student.
The school has also had a strong focus on improving VCE results. This improvement strategy has been multi-pronged. It has included strategies such as after school study groups where students stay at school and have access to staff and each other to complete their studies. We often have numbers of students still working at 5:30 pm.
A focus on known successful study strategies and goal setting is also proving to be valuable.
We anticipate that these strategies will lead to a significant improvement in our VCE results.
In 2019 we will extend our existing Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) to offer a standalone applied learning program for both year 11 & 12 studens who wish to pursue a non-university pathway, and perhaps are looking at gaining an apprenticeship or traineeship.
Geelong High School was the first government secondary school in Victoria to introduce Positive Education as an integrated program. This is important at a time when mental health is a significant issue amongst our young people. Positive Education provides tools and skills for all students to manage challenging situations in their lives and set them up to flourish. Having a positive (growth) mindset is a skill that can be learned and therefore, taught. We work hard to create a culture where students are reflective.
Our Community Service program has the aim of every student completing 10 hours of community service annually. Students completing 25 hours receive a bronze award, 50 hours a silver award and 100 hours a gold award which is presented at our annual awards evening.
As part of our goal of building healthy, resilient and productive global citizens we also have students travelling to both Japan and Germany. In addition to this we are a member of the Friends of Viqueque Geelong Schools program through which we have a partnership with a school in Viqueque, East Timor. We also host a number of international exchange students from Europe and also support our students in accessing exchange programs.
To ensure that students feel connected and supported at school we have a house system. On enrolment each students is assigned to a house. If older siblings have been at the school then this will be the same house as their older sibling. Students then remain in the same house with the same house staff for the time they are at Geelong High. The House Staff, Students and Parents/carers form a strong collaborative relationship to ensure that the student is well supported at all times.
We also have a Social Work Team who provide support for individual students and we are fortunate to be part of the Doctors in Secondary Schools Program.
Finally, our building program is proceeding as planned with Stage One now complete and Stage Two commenced. Stage Two will be completed by June next year and the Final Stage Three in the following six months. Stage Two is the biggest part of the project and will result in new and refurbished buildings in the centre of the school. These will be incredible spaces which will be well utilised for many years to come.