Transitioning to high school is a big step for any student, and the approach a school takes in this process plays a huge role in a student’s success. Incoming students to Thornbury High School are exposed to a detailed development program that aims to provide students with the tools to make an effective transition, academically and socially, to Thornbury High.
Students in Year 7 have their own centre at Thornbury High, where they work with a small team of committed teachers to develop respectful working relationships and ultimately excel in a wide variety of areas. Junior students have their own classroom, play and recreational areas and facilities. The team of teachers is dedicated to the junior curriculum and student wellbeing through the delivery of a diverse student centred program. This approach means that parents have fewer teachers to get to know, and teachers can more effectively monitor homework and identify the needs and strengths of each student.
Opportunities outside the classroom
Year 7 provides students with a large number opportunities to excel outside the classroom. Students can become involved in Sport, Music, Art and School Productions to name a few. Further information on these activities are available via this website. Additional activities, specific to Year 7 include:
Orientation day in December provides new students with experiences designed to introduce Thornbury High School and its social, cultural and geographical surroundings to each student prior to the start of the school year. In addition, the Year 7 students come back to school in January a day earlier than the rest of the school, allowing them to organise and familiarise themselves further before the rest of the school community arrives.
All Year 7 students have the opportunity to attend a three-day camp at Lake Dewar Lodge. The camp provides our new students with an opportunity to bond through challenging engaging experiences with the aim to develop social skills and ultimately new friendships beyond the classroom. Year 10 Peer Support Leaders also attend the camp and take part in activities with the Year 7 students.
Applications for Class Captains open at the start of Term 2, with successful applicants representing their classmates at Student Representative Council (SRC), as well as working closely with the Year 7 coordinators on projects benefiting their peers at Year 7. In 2015, such was the high quality of applicants for Class Captains, a ‘Think Tank’ group was created to allow other students to work on ideas benefiting other areas of the school and its community. Each year Think Tank develop special projects to improve the school community. In 2018, Think Tank produced a student newspaper.
Each Year 7 Form Group is assigned 2 Year 10 Peer Support Leaders who have been handpicked and trained to provide an additional support network to our Year 7 students throughout their first year. These students attend Year 7 camp, act as role models for effective behaviours and assist students with their day to day activities.
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At Thornbury High, school we believe in three distinct stages or building blocks in education. Year 7 and 8 students are in the ‘Establishment and Support’ stage in which we help children become young adults. This is a challenging time, when young people transition from being dependent on their caregivers to exerting their independence. Students may start to defy rules and regulations to test the boundaries of their influence. Like a second ‘teething’, it can be a difficult and painful learning curve. As their guides, it is important parents, teachers and guardians offer clear directions to separate good and bad behaviour.
Year 8 is devoted to encouraging and enabling each student to:
- Strive for improvement and to learn from their mistakes
- Take self-responsibility and accept consequences for their actions
- Be a good role model, citizen and champion bystander
- Participate fully and involve themselves with the school community
We build a solid foundation of knowledge, skills and work habits to prepare our students for success this year, and for future years of education. Students receive a solid grounding in academic disciplines alongside practical and creative subjects.
Year 8 students have a program covering the eight key learning areas:
- English / Literacy
- Performing & Visual Arts
- Physical Education / Health
- Languages other than English
ACADEMIC INTERVENTION (HWCLUB):
Extra academic support is available to all students and invitations are extended to underperforming students to help improve their performance and confidence via the Homework Club (HWCLUB). Held from 3.10-4.00pm every Monday and Wednesday afternoon in the THS Library, HWCLUB is staffed by two teachers who specialise in English/Humanities and Maths/Science, to provide students who need help to complete and submit CATS (Compulsory Assessment Tasks) to ensure they pass all subjects each semester.
STUDENT WELLBEING & ENGAGEMENT:
In addition to academic opportunities at Year 8, a number of other programs are run to assist students in developing social and interpersonal skills, including:
- Positive Role Model Mentoring Program (ISMO / NAB)
- Year 8 Girls’ Wellbeing Group
- Year 8 Boys’ Engagement Group
- Koorie Youth Yarning / Deadly Sistas Program
- Rainbow Lounge (for LGBTQI youth)
A variety of educational and engagement initiatives are provided to students based on the needs that arise. For example, the Community Liaison Police Officer addresses Year 8’s on cyber-safety and online citizenship, and the school’s Wellbeing Team, in conjunction with the Year Level Team, will deliver a range of programs when needed, including discussions of anxiety management and self care.
In 2018, a new leadership model was initiated whereby Year 8 Form Captains were elected by their peers to represent their interests and help make decisions on behalf of their cohort. Form Captains become involved with running assemblies, organising fundraising events and other school improvement initiatives. In addition, students are invited to join the SRC (Student Representative Committee), and have an influence on a wide range of aspects of school life. Two Year 8 students also join the School Council and represent the perspective of students at monthly meetings.
BEHAVIOUR, ATTENDANCE, HOMEWORK, EQUIPMENT AND UNIFORM:
Expectations regarding behaviour, attendance, homework, equipment and uniform are set and understood by students in Year 8 and must be adhered to. We ask that all parents and guardians support students in their learning by familiarising themselves with school policies to ensure a consistent approach is maintained. We ask that families work together with the teachers and Year 8 coordination team to support decisions made and to maximise best outcomes.
Behaviour: Students must be aware of the school-wide discipline policies, and any discipline matters are followed up by the Year 8 Team.
Attendance / Punctuality: Government attendance policy states that students must maintain a 90% attendance rate in order to avoid developing gaps in learning and to be able to succeed to the next year level. The Year 8 Team monitors and follows up on matters of attendance. Multiple late arrivals will incur escalating detentions.
Homework: Students will receive homework each day. Please see the homework timetable that is noted underneath the students’ timetable. Please provide a quiet space at home for students to complete homework.
Equipment and Uniform: We believe that a good foundation for learning is organisation. Students will need all of their books and equipment to succeed in lessons. Please speak to the Year 8 Team if financial issues result in students not having what they need.
We encourage equality and fairness at the school and for that reason all of our students must wear a school uniform. Again, please speak to the Year 8 Team if assistance is needed in buying items of uniform.