In his 10 years’ tenure as principal of North Geelong Secondary College, Nicholas Adamou has witnessed the school become a regional public ‘school of choice’, with parents from far and wide (83 per cent outside the zone) eagerly seeking a chance to enrol their children.
Nicholas is immensely proud of the college and “his amazing staff”, as well as the excellent facilities now available.
While his focus is laser-like across the entire school, Nicholas shares the particular benefits Years 7 and 8 students enjoy.
“For starters, all Year 7 students are tested in a triangulated process to identify gaps in literacy and/or numeracy,” he says. “We employ four full-time tutors, using the well-regarded, innovative, Literacy and Numeracy ACE program, with one teacher working with just two students at a time, twice a week to ‘get them up to scratch’.”
Year 7s may also begin the SEAL program, designed for students who have shown through an accredited rigorous exam process that they demonstrate high academic performance. Nicholas says that only 22 out of a possible 150 to 180 contenders are accepted – and by Year 12, program stayers are often doing a subject course at Deakin University. Social and wellbeing programs are plentiful at the college for Years 7 and 8.
They can join lunchtime chess, debating, public speaking karaoke, and Dungeons and Dragons clubs, as well as try out for the school’s football and soccer teams, getting to wear a special uniform.
Year 7s also have their very own sanctuary, an area for gathering socially and receiving mentoring and wellbeing help from the Junior SubSchool staff.
During Term 1, eight groups of Year 7s from approximately 30 primary schools undergo a special induction program to meet each other, form friendships, and participate in many fun activities. Early in Term 1, parents are invited to an outdoor sausage sizzle to mingle and meet their children’s Home Group teachers and other key staff members, ensuring the parent school relationship is strengthened. Up to 500 parents and family members generally turn up.
There’s also a well-resourced music program, with instruments provided, as well as a vibrant performing arts program.
“The performing arts centre is currently under refurbishment,” says Nicholas, “but the kids get to perform a song, dance or sketch at every assembly, and actively participate in the annual staged productions held in August.”
The Breakfast Club is another popular Year 7 social activity, with treats eaten together in a great cafeteria – the school has two “Masterchef” kitchens. “Even I pop in for a vegemite toast sometimes,” Nicholas says.
And five scholarships in five categories are also on offer, each valued at $4500 for Years 7 and 8. School of choice? It seems obvious why …
North Geelong Secondary College, 130 Separation Street, North Geelong. Enquiries: 5240 5800 or www.ngsc.vic.edu.au