Principal’s Report, December 2019

Dear families

Timetable Changes

I am writing to let you know that we are implementing changes to the school timetable structure commencing in 2020. There are several reasons for the change which are outlined in this message.

The key changes are:

  • There will still be four periods per day.
  • Instead of 30 minutes of Advisory and three 90-minute subject sessions there will be four 75-minute sessions per day.
  • Advisory will no longer run every day – instead, students will have longer (75 minute) Advisory sessions, allowing more time to focus deeply on learning.
  • Recess will begin 30 minutes later (11.15-11.45) and lunch 15 minutes later (1-1.45).

What stays the same?

  • There is no change to the start and finish times of the day (8.45am to 3pm).
  • There is still two sessions before recess, one session between recess and lunch and one session after lunch.
  • The role of the Advisor as the key contact for students does not change. In years 7-10 the Advisors will continue to teach their Advisory for at least one other subject, as has been the practice.

Session Times for 2020

  • Session 1: 8.45-10am
  • Session 2: 10-11.15am
  • Recess: 11.15-11.45am
  • Session 3: 11.45am-1.00pm
  • Lunch: 1.00-1.45pm
  • Session 4: 1.45-3.00pm

Why are we changing?

The key reasons for the change are to benefit the languages, Health and Physical Education, and Advisory learning outcomes. We expect that these changes will not only give more time to the study of Languages and Health and Physical Education, but will also help the school to improve attendance and punctuality, as well as student engagement.

In my October Principal’s Report, I outlined the work of the Languages Working Group, which developed a vision for languages in the school and how to foster greater participation in the learning of Italian. The frequency of language classes was raised as an important component of engagement and sense of progress for students learning a language.

The school was also keen to enable more Health and Physical Education time for students, which will have the additional benefit of including the health curriculum in that subject, rather than in Advisory sessions. 

This will mean that Advisory teachers can use the Advisory time to focus on the student’s Personal Learning Plan and developing the strengths of individuals as well as the group as a whole.

Senior School Considerations

For years 11-12 the Advisors will also continue in their current role of being the key contact and will also focus on the Personal Learning Plan. Senior students will also have a weekly ‘Tutorial’ session, which will cover topics such as study skills, exam preparation, workshops on particular learning areas, and so on.

Our Senior Program is run in partnership with Collingwood College. Collingwood has also reviewed its times of the day and our timetables will now align which has benefits for Senior students travelling between Fitzroy High School and Collingwood College.

There will be no need to travel between sessions 1 and 2, just as there hasn’t been up until now. The bus will be provided as usual so that students who choose to travel this way and who purchase a bus pass will be able to move between campuses at recess and lunchtime.

Questions?

We have been talking to students about the changes and receiving feedback. School Council and Education sub-committee have also been considering the changes and their impacts. The response so far has been extremely encouraging. Parents are welcome to contact any member of School Council or the school leadership team with comments or questions. 

Other News

In Term 1 2020, the school will have a school review of its four-year Strategic Plan. This is part of the normal cycle of school improvement and all stakeholders will be given opportunities to reflect on the past four years and to contribute to future plans. At the beginning of the year we will be asking parents to become involved in focus groups.

Andrea Thompson will be continuing as Acting Assistant Principal next year and Paul Cahill as Acting Team Leader for Years 9 and 10. Congratulations to Chris Millard, Senior Programs Leading Teacher across Fitzroy High School and Collingwood College, who is now Acting Assistant Principal in that role. I would also like to thank Rainer Parker-Stebbing for his work in the role of Indigo Team Leader and John Hinman for his work in the role of Scarlet Team Leader for the past three years.

Congratulations to Neil McLean and the other staff for the highly successful Great Victorian Bike Ride, which had the greatest number of students ever, including year 12 students. Congratulations also to the Senior Arts team on the combined art show and media night. The quality of the work was astounding and we will be hearing early next year about students whose work was chosen for the VCE Season of Excellence. Congratulations to all year 12 students who have finished VCE exams or completed VCAL.

Thanks to all of the staff who have worked hard to see our students through to the end of the year and I wish all families a safe and happy festive season.

Kind regards

Linda Mitchell (Principal)