Term 4 focus on Literacy, Numeracy and Wellbeing

1. Continued focus on Literacy

Fitzroy High School remains committed to focusing on literacy across the curriculum, and to adapt teaching and learning programs to respond to the literacy needs of students as they return to onsite learning in Term 4. 

This focus is evident in the following ways:

Whole school level

Allocation of time and continued support of staff with Professional Learning Communities to create literacy scaffolds and supports, drawing upon Literacy Professional Learning sessions delivered throughout 2020.

Planning time at the end of the year to consider the arrangement and makeup of units for 2021, with a focus on developing subject-specific literacy.

Year level

Adaptations of Term 4 unit outlines, to maintain the slower pace to allow a greater focus on explicit teaching of literacy.

Assessment of literacy in formative and/or summative assessments.

Individual level

QuickSmart program to commence for identified Year 7 and 8 students who require support in reading comprehension

Individualised support for Year 10 students identified by the Middle Years Literacy and Numeracy Strategy. 

Self-paced differentiation strategies such as Education Perfect Literacy modules are available for teachers to set for students requiring additional support to address gaps in their literacy learning.

2. Mathematics and Numeracy

For the remainder of Term 4 the focus across all Years 7-10 Mathematics classes will be on the practical strands Measurement & Geometry or Statistics & Probability. Mathematics teachers have been provided with progress estimates for all students in all their classes to help them plan differentiated learning activities to address the diversity of skills and knowledge within each class and enable them to address what students are ready to learn next, whatever their experience through remote learning. We have recently invested in Mathematics specific hands-on learning materials and have established a dedicated store for these to further support non-computer based learning activities, providing for a welcome antidote to the unusually high levels of screen time that was required to deliver remote learning.

Student achievement data, which has been collected in great detail over the last few years, including Maths Pathway history, is being analysed to identify students who have demonstrated less progress in Mathematics and Numeracy than expected during the period of remote learning in 2020. In particular, in 2021, students identified as being at or below the national minimum standards in Mathematics and Numeracy will be provided support through the Department’s Middle Years Literacy and Numeracy Support initiative. We are awaiting further details on the catch-up tutorial program announced recently by the Minister before we can make arrangements for how those resources can be managed effectively to further support student development.

Students in Years 8-10 have been transferred to the new online learning platform, Mathspace, which allows for more flexibility for teachers to target skills practice with instant feedback that are directly relevant to physical classroom activities. After a successful trial in 2020, Mathspace will be replacing Maths Pathway as our core interactive online platform after surveys of students and teachers clearly indicated a preference for Mathspace in terms of effectiveness, accessibility and relevance to face to face activities conducted in class. Year 7 students’ achievements on Maths Pathway in Term 4 will be recorded and transferred to teachers for the beginning of Year 8 to enable differentiated, relevant learning activities, including Mathspace, next year. A comprehensive student and parent guide to Mathspace will be distributed at the beginning of 2021.

3. Wellbeing

As part of Fitzroy high school’s approach to wellbeing and in anticipation of increased mental health issues, we have employed a new psychologist part time. Fitzroy High school now has a wellbeing team that consists of a Wellbeing Leader, two psychologists and one mental health practitioner. On top of that we will upskill our year level leaders and team leaders on how to support students who present with anxiety. All of our teachers will be given access to the Department of Education’s ‘Mental Health toolbox’ for them to refer to for their own wellbeing but also for information on how to best support our students following a significant event such as a pandemic and lock down. 

Upon return to face to face teaching, our junior years will have a strong focus on bonding and team building and throughout the school, as part of our advisory program, we will focus on the Rights, Resilience & Respectful Relationships curriculum. More specifically on activities that promote resilience, positive self-thoughts and problem solving.

UNLOCK’D 2020 Winners & Awards – Australian Guild of Music

Some exciting news about some of our resident composers who have received awards for their original compositions. 
Gully T entered six works, and received two second prizes, three distinctions and one highly commended. 
Flinch K entered a very complex modern prelude for piano, and was nominated as a finalist. 
Another two students entered work which was highly commended with one high distinction. We are very proud of their achievements and look forward to hearing more from them.
You can listen to their work on the link below. We are sure that you will be impressed. 

Cabaret 2020

On November 25th at 5pm, Junaid Eastman & Bella Thornton Lawrence with special guests will host a livestream of Fitzroy High’s Digital Cabaret ‘Messages from the Recent Past’ a collection of dance, musical performance, theatre, animation and video art which explores the end of the world and the emotional turmoil of being a performance artist during the July – October Lockdown. The livestream will be hosted through Youtube and a link will be provided on the FHS website and via Compass. If you miss the livestream it will be available on Youtube page until December 2nd for your viewing pleasure.

Julian Strickland
Productions Coordiator

The Yarra Voices

The Yarra Voices, a community youth choir based in North Fitzroy, is holding auditions for students in November for their 2021 programs. 

Updated Term 4 arrangements

Dear students, parents, guardians and carers

On behalf of our school, I want to say a big thank you to all our students, parents and carers for your continued resilience and support throughout this year. I know remote and flexible learning has not always been easy, but through our collective efforts, our students have continued to make valuable progress in their learning. You can be confident that our school will support any student who has fallen behind to catch up.

Term 4 is important for every Victorian student, and our teachers will strive to deliver high-quality learning for everyone. Whether we’re teaching remotely or face-to-face, our focus for Term 4 is on making sure that every student is supported in their wellbeing, learning and transition needs.

The Victorian Government has outlined the staged return to on-site schooling for all students as part of its gradual roadmap towards reopening.Term 4 on-site schooling arrangements for students:

Following advice of the Victorian Chief Health Officer, the Victorian Government has released a staged approach for students to return to on-site schooling.

The purpose of the plan is to get students back in the classroom as soon and as safely as possible without putting at risk all that has been achieved through the period of restrictions to reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

For our school, the following arrangements apply:

From 12 October (second week of Term 4)

·       students in Year 7 will return to on-site schooling. The existing remote learning program will not continue for these year levels

·       Students enrolled in years 11 and 12 (and students in any other year level undertaking VCAL or VCE studies) will attend on-site schooling

·       remote and flexible learning will continue for all students in Year 8 to Year 10 (except students in any other year level studying VCE and VCAL units)

·       on-site supervision will remain available for students in Year 8 to Year 10 who are the children of permitted workers and vulnerable students.

From 26 October (fourth week of Term 4)

·       students in Year 8 to Year 10 will return to on-site schooling. The existing remote learning program will not continue for these year levels

Health and safety measures

The Term 3 remote and flexible learning arrangements were put in place to significantly reduce the movement of more than one million students and their families across Victoria, to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Thanks to you and your family for contributing to this on behalf of our school community.

As on-site schooling resumes, we will continue to have in place strong measures to protect the health and safety of students, staff, families and the community. This includes staggering start and finish times, restricting parent access to school grounds and continued emphasis on hand hygiene and physical distancing where possible.

Please give particular attention to reducing the risks associated with congregation at school gates and taking steps to contribute to physical distancing within the school.

Whether your child is, or children are, returning to face-to-face learning or will be continuing with remote and flexible learning for a short period, please be assured we will be focused on three key priorities in Term 4:

Mental health and wellbeing

Our highest priority will be the wellbeing, particularly the mental health, of every student and member of staff. This means effectively mobilising all available resources to support our most vulnerable students and enabling staff to access the relevant support services.

Learning and excellence

Some of our students have thrived in the remote and flexible learning environment, others have maintained their learning progress, and some have fallen behind, despite their best efforts and those of their families and teachers. Our priority will be supporting both those who need it to catch up and those who have progressed to continue to extend their learning.


We will make every effort to ensure successful transitions for children moving from kindergarten into Prep, the Grade 6s moving into Year 7, and the Year 12s moving into employment or further education and training.

We know some families are worried that their child may have to repeat a year due to the disruptions of coronavirus (COVID-19). There is little evidence to support the benefits of repeating a year to catch up. Instead, schools will use teaching strategies that draw on the best evidence available to help students meet their learning needs. 

Parents, families and carers can be confident that the best option for almost every child is to stay with their peer group, whether that is moving from kindergarten into Prep, moving from Grade 6 into Year 7 at secondary school, or students moving up any year level in between.

Our school, working with you, has shown it can be flexible and adaptable in responding to the challenges of coronavirus (COVID-19) and will continue to meet student needs as we look towards the end of the 2020 school year and ahead to 2021.

Kind regards

Linda Mitchell, Principal

Principal’s Report, August 2020

Dear families

I want to thank you all for your hard work these last few months. It has been a trying time for many people in many different ways. The Learning from Home surveys that students and parents completed in June gave the school some real insights into what was working and what could be improved, with the majority of feedback overwhelmingly positive. The staff has utilised the feedback to apply to the current round of remote learning, taking into account that it is somewhat more difficult at times this time around. I want to thank all of the students who have persisted in their efforts; reached out for help; and generally done very well, considering that they have spent more time in remote learning this year than face to face! Many of you will have received the green Compass posts acknowledging students’ efforts with regard to the School Wide Positive Behaviour remote learning matrix. It has been wonderful for me as Principal to open my Compass and see all of the positive posts about students doing their best. I also want to thank and acknowledge all of the staff who have done an incredible job this year. Many of them have been working from home with children of their own; many others have come into school to assist with operational tasks that cannot be completed from home or to support vulnerable students attending onsite.

School Council has been very busy this year and I also want to thank them for their amazing work, especially Ralph Saubern, the School Council president. I recommend his latest President’s Report to you; it can be found in the August newsletter and on the website. School Council was very involved in the school review in Term 1 and has subsequently worked with me on how the new Strategic Plan can be enacted through some of the sub committees and working parties. The DNA, if you like, of the Strategic Plan, is partnerships and collaboration: students and teachers, teachers and parents, students and parents, students and students, teachers and teachers, parents and parents. In order to achieve our goals we need to work together, especially in the current climate and the potentially challenging years ahead for our young people.

The 2019 Annual Report to the school community is on the website. I am planning to hold an open virtual meeting in the last week of term and will invite members of the school community to attend. This will give people the opportunity to discuss the Annual Report, the Strategic Plan and the future of the school. You will also see a separate article updating you on the Gasworks Senior Secondary Campus. This is the first of many newsletter articles to come, keeping the community updated on this exciting venture.

I would like to congratulate Jamie Bishop, who has been selected through an externally advertised process as the Mental Health Practitioner. This role is funded by the Department of Education at 0.5, meaning that Jamie can continue doing the great work he has been as a psychologist while also remaining on the teaching staff for the other part of his employment. We have also advertised an additional psychologist role at 0.4. Both of these roles will complement the rest of the wellbeing support that Fitzroy High School offers students, something that will be increasingly important during this time.

I will update you on the return to onsite learning once I have the information from the Department of Education, which I assume will be released after the Premier speaks on Sunday.

Kind regards,

Linda Mitchell (Principal)

High-Ability Program Update

We are excited to announce we have several students who have been offered the opportunity to be involved in the Victorian High-Ability Program. This is a state government initiative in which the Department of Education selects high achieving students to take part in a series of online classes across term 4 in Mathematics or English. The Department of Education selects students based on their NAPLAN results and Fitzroy High School facilitates the program for our chosen students. Students will also be offered a face-to-face Masterclass at the completion of the program, which enables them to connect further with other students of high-ability from schools within our local area. Congratulations to all those involved, we are so proud of your amazing ability! This program will run each term, so there will also be a new intake of students in term 1, 2021.

Additionally, we have been working to begin offering extra-curricular programs within the Victorian Challenge and Enrichment Series to students at Fitzroy across years 7-12. This is a separate program which encompasses all interest areas and is designed to support, encourage and further engage students within those areas of strength and passion. Opportunities include workshops, competitions, masterclasses and structured support for VCE. To date, we have had students taking part in writing competitions, chemistry masterclasses, theatre workshops and much more! Well done to all those who have taken part so far! Keep an eye out for more opportunities and talk with your teachers if you feel passionate about or want to explore a certain subject further– we are here to help you be your very best.

Emma Jones,
High-Ability Practice Leader

Term 3 President’s Report

Dear Fitzroy High School Community,

As we move towards the end of Term 3, we continue to see the amazing resilience, agility, creativity and commitment of our Fitzroy High School community as we confront the impact of the COVID-19 crisis together.  In some ways, it’s been easier this time around.  We have all learned a lot as teachers, learners and parents and carers about the technology, about flexibility and about supporting more self-directed and independent learning.  But in many ways, it’s been harder.  The adrenaline and excitement that pushed us through Term 2 has gone and now we are confronting the challenges of dealing with something longer and more undefined.  

Confronting these challenges together as a school community has made so much possible.  I want to publicly thank all the parents and carers who have contacted the school in recent months to offer their support, expertise – and their encouragement and kind thoughts.  I also want to thank again all our amazing teachers, support staff and school leaders who continue to go above and beyond in their work. And I’d like to congratulate our students who are working so hard to make the best of a difficult situation and acknowledge their resilience and flexibility.  

During this time, the work of the School Council continues. We held two School Council meetings in Term 3.  Our July meeting was a busy one. We discussed a number of items relating to the school’s buildings and environment.  We noted that the ‘corridor’ area between the old building and the science/technology building has been reordered and replanted – and it looks great!  We also noted that, as a result of a successful application to an Australian Government fund, new air conditioning units have been installed in the Library and IT Area.  And we approved the school’s application to the Greener Government Schools Program to have additional solar panels erected on the science/technology building.  A special thanks to members of our Buildings and Environment Subcommittee and other supporters who have contributed so much to improving the quality of our school environment over the last couple of years.

Another area of discussion was around the annual School Council Self-Assessment, which is intended to help school councils understand and focus on opportunities for improvements in governance and operations.  Two key areas of improvement that we noted were in the induction and learning processes for new School Council members and ways to increase diversity on School Council.  On the second point, I’d like to encourage all parents/carers and students to consider nominating for election to the School Council.  We’ve had some great parents, teachers and student members join the School Council in recent years and their perspectives and ideas have greatly contributed to the way that the School Council supports our school and community.  You don’t have to be an expert or know a lot about the school to join the School Council.  It’s the diversity of views and experience that is most important.  If you are at all interested in joining the School Council next year, please feel free to contact me to find out more about the process of nominating.

Finally, Linda presented the 2020-24 School Strategic Plan to the School Council.  The School Strategic Plan is one of the key outcomes of the four yearly school review that the school completed earlier this year.  Some key takeaways from that plan are a focus on improving the growth and achievement of all students, empowering students as learners and leaders and improving student engagement.  We discussed ways that the School Council and our subcommittees can focus their efforts on supporting this ambitious agenda. 

Speaking of our subcommittees, in recent months, our subcommittees have done some excellent work providing input in areas such as the use of technology, languages education and the reporting of student results.  Current work includes a review of the school dress code and a working group focusing on student voice, agency and leadership, both led through our Community Subcommittee.  A reminder that you don’t have to be a member of the School Council to attend a subcommittee meeting or be part of a working group.  If you’re interested in joining in to have your voice heard or just to find out more about what is being discussed, feel free to contact the Subcommittee convenors or just look up the calendar on Compass.

Subcommittee convenors are:

  • Buildings and Environments: Roger Smith
  • Community: Clare Kermond
  • Education: Mim Ingvarson

Our August School Council meeting was also very productive.  Our main focus was on the 2019 School Annual Report and the 2020 Annual Implementation Plan.  We received a detailed report from Linda focused on the formal indicators of performance for the 2019 school year and discussed how the school plans to address areas of improvement in line with the School Strategic Plan.  We also discussed how the report can be presented to the school community at the annual public meeting.  More details about that soon.

If you want to know more about our July or August meetings, you can find the minutes and supporting documents for those meetings and all School Council meetings in Compass in the school documentation section and of course please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about School Council or the subcommittees.  My school email is ralphs@fitzroyhs.vic.edu.au

We are all fortunate to be part of this strong and supportive Fitzroy High School community.  I encourage you all to keep up your connections with the school, teachers, parents, carers and students.  We will all need help at some stage; we can all help someone else at some stage. 

Ralph Saubern
President, School Council