Ashfield Boys High School

Here we decide

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Teams approach

What are the teams?

The teams are a long established, innovative and highly successful feature of our school. They provide a nurturing transition to high school, strong pastoral care and individualised attention based on a sound understanding of boys’ learning needs.   The team curriculum structure is designed to meet the specific needs of boys at this stage of their intellectual, emotional and social development.

How do the teams work?

Students in Year 7 at Ashfield Boys HS are organized into ‘teams’ of teachers who remain with the class for the two years of Stage 4.  Each team has a common core set of teachers.  These teachers are their English, Mathematics, Science and History/Geography teachers. 

The team of teachers meets each week to devise learning strategies and plan programs for their class. For two years this team tracks the academic, social and emotional development of their students. This group feedback and common approach is valuable in assisting students to pursue their individual gifts and talents whilst identifying and remediating any learning deficits. Each team has a team leader who is responsible for coordinating common planning, learning, and strategies to promote wellbeing.

This curriculum structure has been the subject of two independent research studies conducted by the Faculty of Education at the University of Sydney.  Both studies found that this approach to the education of boys fosters a warm and familiar transition to high school and supports a quality learning environment. 

The philosophy and pedagogy which informs the teams

The fundamental purpose of the teams is to make the transition from Primary school to High school a smooth, comfortable and happy one, while developing in students good study habits, a love of learning and self-confidence in the school environment and beyond.  The team focus in Year 7 is the development of productive learning habits, reflection skills and high level literacy and numeracy skills.  Students produce a cross curricular writing portfolio each semester and engage in rich tasks that integrate knowledge from different curriculum areas.

Quality relationships between teachers, parents and students are at the core of this philosophy.  The teams allow teachers to know their students well and to develop strong individual and group relationships.  This strong start to high school pays off in later years with a gradual and supported growth to independence.  Students at Ashfield Boys HS report higher levels of connectedness, wellbeing and engagement than boys of their own age in NSW.  Students also report dramatically lower levels of anxiety. The school and the teams are highlighted in Steve Biddulph’s seminal book Raising Boys noting that “the closer the relationship between the teacher and the student, the more effective the learning” (p.177).

The common core of teachers and team leader provides parents with a familiar point of contact in the school who teaches their son and knows him well as an individual.

Each team has a name that is chosen after consultation between the Year Adviser and the Senior Executive.  The team names help boys to identify with a group and have a strong sense of place in the larger school context.  Connections made in early years are maintained and valued by the boys throughout their school career.  

The names of the teams are chosen carefully to reflect and inspire success of different kinds. For example teams have been named after iconic philosophers who have contributed significantly to human knowledge such as Descartes, Confucius, Hawking and others reflected successful Australian men who are leaders in different fields such as Quilty, Rose, Brabham, Hollows, Flannery and Hollows. This year the teams are named after prominent Australians who had an impact on their world: Chang, Gurrumul, Mawson, Seidler and Walton.

Student learning and teacher learning

The weekly team meeting allows teachers to share their understanding of their students and to collaboratively plan learning experiences across the curriculum. This consistent communication provides the opportunity to plan for the individual differences in the boys' learning needs as well as promoting a high degree of understanding between staff. Current educational research points strongly to the correlation between teacher professional learning, teacher quality, and student academic outcomes. The team structure provides teachers with the opportunity to learn from each other and to ground their professional development in the needs of the boys in their class. A feature of this planning is the use of cross-curricular tasks and learning experiences which integrate different forms of knowledge into holistic learning experiences.

At Ashfield Boys High School our team structure aims to give your son every learning opportunity. We listen, acknowledge and value each student as an individual and this promotes a strong student voice in the school. We are confident that you and your son will enjoy your time at Ashfield Boys High School and we look forward to you joining us on the road to learning and success.

Ongoing support and pastoral care

The support of the teams continues to nurture academic success, wellbeing and social development for the duration of a student’s schooling.  One of the Year 7 and 8 team teachers will act as a mentor and roll call teacher for the boys after the teams end in Year 9.  The strong investment in quality relationships with the boys and their parents in Year 7 and 8 allows for the ongoing tracking of every individual’s progress and development.