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The Northcote Model

The Northcote Model provides greater choice in learning for students in Years 9 and 10 by allowing them to do more of what they enjoy, specialise in deep knowledge of an area, or engage with a broader set of learning opportunities. The courses are designed to appeal to a variety of interests, explore big ideas and specific content, and promote student connection to areas of study.

With The Northcote Model, Years 9 and 10 students have the freedom to indicate preferences for courses across the required breadth of learning areas, as well as additional courses in areas of interest.

Students can also study a VCE or VET subject in Year 10 and can advance in to Year 10 level courses at Year 9.


Students in Years 9 and 10 undertake six courses each semester.

By the end of Year 10, students must have completed a minimum number of courses in each learning area, with a total of 24 courses completed.

Compulsory courses

Year 9 students must complete all three courses in these learning areas.

Learning area Number of courses
Health, Physical Education and Sport 2
Inquiry – City School investigation 1

Required courses

Years 9 and 10 students must study a minimum number of courses in these areas across the two years. These are required to be spread across the two-year period.

Learning area Number of courses
English 4
Mathematics 4
Science 3

Languages (French, Italian, Greek and Chinese)

Visual and Performing Arts

Digital and Design Technologies


Free choice courses

Years 9 and 10 students can choose four courses in any learning area, including VCE and VET units.

Learning area Number of courses
Any learning area 4

Selecting courses

Students in Years 8 and 9 plan and select courses for following year in Term 3. Course selections are made in consultation with teachers and parents.

The Northcote Model and the Victorian Curriculum

All courses offer experiences that address relevant standards in the Victorian Curriculum. While each course is standalone, the skills required become progressively more complex from Year 9 to Year 10, with some assumed knowledge of skills at Year 10.

Courses incorporate relevant Victorian Curriculum capabilities (creative and critical thinking, ethical, intercultural and personal and social) where it is relevant to the learning sequence. All courses offered develop skills, knowledge and understandings that prepare for VCE or the new VCE Vocational Major, and most have direct links to VCE studies.

Connect Program

Students moving in to Year 9 retain their Junior years Connect group to enhance their sense of belonging and stability. The Year 9 and 10 Connect program focuses on community engagement and connection, equity and social justice, social and emotional wellbeing and study skills to support the increased academic demands of these years. An exploration of future study and career pathways is also a feature of the Years 9 and 10 program.

Digital learning

We have a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) 1:1 Program where it is compulsory for all students to have a portable digital device (laptop, notebook or tablet) that meets minimum requirements and specifications. Year 9 and 10 students can keep the device they purchased in Year 7 or 8.

Our digital learning program provides students with the opportunity to be effective digital learners who will become confident, creative and productive in a digital world. We believe that this access to technology helps engage our students in the learning process in new and creative ways, and to become increasingly skilled at using technology to access and present information, solve problems and work collaboratively.

For information on device requirements, see Booklists and digital devices.

Assessment, feedback and reporting

Northcote High School operates a continuous reporting system. In each subject there are three Common Assessment Tasks (CATs) per semester. Written feedback on achievement in these tasks is provided for students in Teams and One Note  – our hybrid learning system, with grading visible to parents via Compass.

Ongoing formative assessment and informal feedback is an essential element of our teaching and learning framework. This happens through teacher observations and verbal and written comments in response to learning activities. It involves identifying points of strength and weakness, as well as outlining the next steps in learning for the student.

Learning Behaviour Reports are completed every six weeks in each semester.

End-of-semester reports summarising achievement against the Victorian Curriculum standards are available at the end of Terms 2 and 4.

Student-parent-teacher conversations are held at the end of Terms 1 and 3.

See Assessment and reporting for more information.

The Northcote Model Handbook — 9Kb PDF

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