Thomastown Secondary College was founded on the belief that effective schools are centred on the individual student as a learner and as a person. Units and the Home Group system allow us to keep our students at the centre of everything we do and makes our school unique.
Our College structure enables its community of teachers, students and parents to develop close, productive relationships. It allows teachers to understand their students’ particular strengths, weaknesses and interests very well
Each student belongs to a Unit. There are three Units for students in Years 7 to 10 and a VCE Unit for students in Years 11 and 12.
Each Unit has approximately 150 students and 15 staff including teachers and support staff. The Units are true mini-schools as they have staff qualified to teach across all subject areas and are led by a Leading Teacher, equivalent to the Principal of a small school.
Students are taught predominantly by teachers from their Unit who develop strong and positive relationships with their students.
This gives our students the best of both worlds; the curriculum and resources of a larger school and the personalised learning environment of a smaller school.
The Home Group program at the college is much more than a pastoral care program.
The structure and allocated time of the program is quite unique to the College and allows the one teacher to carefully monitor and support the educational, social and emotional development of each student. Students in Years 7 to 10 have the same Home Group teacher for four years. This is repeated for the two years of VCE.
The Home Group teacher is responsible for their students’ overall wellbeing and development, both academic and social. Close links are developed between the student’s family and Home Group teacher and this is critical to the overall success of the student.
Communication between the family and the school is always through the Home Group teacher. Parents and students meet with the Home Group teacher at least twice a year to discuss the students’ progress and to receive their reports.
Students learn best in a safe, supportive and stimulating environment and the Home Group structure provides this. Each Home Group is made up of students from Years 7 to 10 and runs for four hours each week. It is a core class with a well-defined curriculum. Home Group teachers help students to develop personal learning skills – identifying their own strengths and weaknesses, managing their own learning and setting and evaluating learning goals. They help their students to develop rigorous study skills. The development of collaboration, teamwork, leadership and clear communication are also an important part of the Home Group program.
The VCE Home Group teacher plays the same role as their counterpart in Years 7 to 10. VCE Home Groups are scheduled for one hour per week but also meet briefly each morning.
For more information on what students learn and how they develop in Home Groups, click here.