Nossal High School

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Location
38°02'21"S
145°20'13"E
Country
 Australia
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Description

Nossal High School, also referred to as Nossal or NHS, is a Government-funded co-educational academically selective secondary day school, located in the Melbourne suburb of Berwick, Victoria, Australia. The school is named after Sir Gustav Nossal, a prominent Australian immunologist and 2000 Australian of the Year. Established in 2010, the school caters for students in Year 9 to Year 12. Nossal High School was ranked third out of all state secondary schools in Victoria based on VCE results in 2018.

Overview

The school was opened in 2010, a year before Suzanne Cory High School and John Monash Science School, as per the Brumby State Government's education policies. With its students initially undertaking study in the Berwick campus of Monash University, pending completion of school building construction, Nossal is now located within the same campus, the site of the former Casey Airfields. Prospective students must sit a 3-hour-long uniform entrance examination, testing their knowledge and reasoning in English and mathematics, with the 2017 exam attracting about 3,300 applicants; accepting only around 208 students into their Year 9 cohort. The first Year 12 cohort graduated from the school in 2013. The school's curriculum follows American educator Howard Gardener's concept of the Five Minds of the Future which includes, for example, the absence of school bells, as students are expected to know when and where to be. Students have access to many extra-curricular programs, such as inter-school sport, debating, music, clubs/societies and various national and international competitions and creative-based events such as the Model United Nations Assembly and the Australian Computational and Linguistics Olympiad. Nossal High School is part of the Select-Entry Network of Victorian selective schools, alongside Suzanne Cory High School, Mac.Robertson Girls' High School and Melbourne High School.

History

Beginnings

Prior to the school's opening in 2010, the only selective schools in Victoria were the Mac.Robertson Girls' High School and Melbourne High School, both catering for single-sex education, as well as the arts-focused Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School. The Victorian Government's decision to create a new selective school was based on a number of factors. The increasingly-competitive entrance exam for the already-existing selective schools was excluding students which the Education Department perceived as intelligent and highly-able, but nevertheless unable to secure one of the limited places at the two schools. As well as this, both Mac.Rob and Melbourne High were located in or around the Melbourne city centre, placing a significant transport and logistical for prospective students who lived in the outer suburbs; the notion that elite education had to be linked with gender segregation beginning to be seen as more and more archaic in a 21st-century society. Thus, the decision to open a new selective school, located in the south-east suburb of Berwick was announced to the Victorian public in April 2008 by the then-Premier John Brumby. At the same time, similar announcements were made to establish selective schools in Werribee (to become Suzanne Cory High School) and a science-specialist in the Monash University Clayton campus (to become John Monash Science School); Berwick was prioritised, however, partially since the City of Casey, which it forms part of, was announced as Melbourne's fastest-growing municipality. Senior Department bureaucrats were tasked with making local connections and setting up plans for the eventual opening of the provisionally-named Berwick Selective Entry High School. Construction works began in the Berwick campus of Monash University in 2009, site of the former Casey Airfields, and the inaugural principal, Roger Page, was appointed in May of the same year. Although the launch of Suzanne Cory was delayed until 2011, Nossal High School was finally opened in 2010, the first-ever joint Select-Entry Network entrance examination held only six months prior. Due to incomplete school facilities, Nossal students initially undertook study in the adjacent Monash University campus; the Jean Russell Centre, a professional development and function/meeting room in the school was opened in Term 3 in 2010. The school's first-ever cohort of Year 9's were admitted in 2010, each year level eventually being added on a yearly-basis; the school reached full capacity in 2013, the year when the first-ever Year 12 cohort graduated from the school. In this year, inaugural Assistant Principal, Toni Meath, left the school to become Principal of Mac.Rob.

Later development

Traditions such as the Foundation Assembly were established which still exists to this day. NHS's infrastructure continued to be developed, a second Music/Gym building completed, as well as a new Student Representative Council (SRC) meeting place and outdoor Information Resource Centre (IRC) section being built. In 2015 the Class of 2015 achieving NHS's best-ever VCE results. 27.1% of students managed to attain a high study score of 40+ in their individual subjects. The school's highest-ever ATAR rank was recorded in 2019, with the Dux obtaining a perfect score of 99.95. In 2016, Nossal was subject to an international targeted school bombing hoax threat. Requiring both an emergency evacuation and lockdown in the first term of 2016, it was later revealed that hackers 'spoofed' Nossal's phone number to instigate a number of threats around Australia.

Co-curricular activities

Clubs and societies

The Nossal Societies Union (NSU) operating similarly to those of universities, clubs and societies are required to be affiliated with the NSU in order to be recognised by the school and eligible for funding. The NSU's formation in 2017 consolidated the roles of the SRC and the clubs/societies themselves. The NSU is headed by two Presidents. Each club/society is permitted to send one delegate to meetings of the NSU Assembly, with the SRC entitled to one ex-officio representative. Each club/society is led by one or more students; a 'Supporting Teacher' chosen by each club/society aids it in its operation and liaises with certain persons and/or organisations when it would be more appropriate for a teacher to do so. Some NSU affiliates provide for additional positions within the organisational structure. Current clubs and societies are:

Organisation

Extracurricular activities

Extracurricular options available to students include: Literature Circle, Chess Club, Debating, Knitting and Environmental activities. Students are also able to join in many sport teams including volleyball, cricket, badminton, table tennis, basketball, soccer, softball, football, hockey, swimming, athletics, cross country, netball and tennis.
Page Cup
At the end of each year the house to have accumulated the most points is awarded the Page Cup. Points are attained by participation in the six major events as well as smaller contests held throughout the school year. The six major events are as follows: Swimming Carnival; Athletics; Cross Country; Choral Night; Debating; Monash Grand Challenge (year 9 participation only). Other competitions include Table Tennis, Camp Challenges, Dress Up days, Tug of War and Chess Competitions.
Monash Grand Challenge
The Monash Grand Challenge is a competition held for year 9 students at the end of every school year; the winners gain significant numbers of points contributing to next year's Page Cup. The challenge focuses on developing essay writing, creative, public speaking and problem solving skills by incorporating each element into the challenge. The final products of each house are judged by Monash University professors and the winner is decided upon by a vote. The winning house gains the Monash Grand Challenge trophy and house points.

Student leadership

Student leadership positions include: School Captains (one male and female of the senior year), Tutorial Leaders, House Captains and Vice House Captains (two from each year level per house), Information Resource Centre Leaders, Information Communications Technology Leaders and Environmental Leaders. Each year level also elects six students to the Student Representative Council (SRC). In addition to this, clubs and societies within Nossal appoint or elect delegates to represent their interests at the Nossal Societies Union (NSU), which acts to lobby school leadership for more extracurricular funding and opportunities for students, organise clubs and societies events, and govern clubs and societies at NHS.

School partnerships

Nossal has had a partnership with Chosei High School, located in Chiba Prefecture, Japan, since 2014. The affiliation includes student exchanges each year, cultural liaison and professional and staff development. The partnership with Chosei was chosen taking into consideration Nossal's offering of Japanese as a VCE subject, as well as Australia's strategic position in the Asia-Pacific. Chosei High School

Principals

The current individual has served as Principal of Nossal High School:
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