Maitland High School

Successful Teachers, Successful Students, Successful School

Telephone02 4933 7933

Principal's message

Why we are seen as 'the school on the up' in the community!

Maitland High School is the second-oldest state high school in Australia. It has a very rich history and a strong position in the community which provides a stable platform for the school to look to the future. Our school motto, “En Avant” (Go Forward) encapsulates the school’s aim to develop a sense of future: of capacity, achievement and success, in all students. Our 2015-17 School Plan captures the focus of the school: 'Successful Teachers, Successful Students, Successful School'.

The school is increasingly the talk of the community as the school 'on the move' in the area! Why? Read on...

Can a public high school, which is open to all students, really have settled classrooms, high expectations of student behaviour and quality learning? Proudly, YES!

Maitland High School is a very special place where real vibrancy and a sense of community exist and are promoted through inclusive curricular and co-curricular activities. We are very proud of our continuing improvement and the recognition of our school as a place of settled classrooms, engaged learners and positive student relationships. This was recognised recently (Nov 2016) when one of our head teachers was at an HSC Marking Centre. On hearing that she was from Maitland High School, other HSC markers from the Hunter area exclaimed; "Oh, that's the school we hear so much about! We hear great things are happening there and that it is really on the move! You must love working there!" The head teacher delightedly told this to colleagues in a Staff Meeting at the end of the year - her pride in our school's recognition, and that of her colleagues on hearing this, was wonderful to see!

This pride and positivity is also reflected in our exceptionally high teacher morale and commitment to the school: in the end of 2016 Staff Survey, 99% of all teaching staff reported that they enjoyed working at MHS. This translates into enthusiastic and committed teachers in high-performing and well-supported classrooms. Staff morale is a telling indicator in a school: MHS is a healthy, happy community and has a wonderful staff who care greatly about our students and their successes. Come and find out first-hand about our school!

We have:

  • welcomed our delightful new Year 7 students and they have made a wonderfully industrious and settled start to high school 
  • held our swimming carnival
  • brought in a new student management and wellbeing system called Sentral
  • begun our intensive literacy and writing focus across every class and subject in the school
  • implemented new teaching and learning programs focused on the development of higher order thinking, problem solving and conceptual development and
  • we are about to launch our new 'Zeros Aren't Permitted'  (ZAP!)  high expectations for every student in every class across the school!

Here's what ZAP learning looks like:

Zeros Aren't Permitted

  • Correct books and equipment every lesson
  • Focused: thinking, listening, responding in class All learning is completed with care and pride
  • Correct spelling and punctuation matter
  • Try, re-read, ponder, persist and try again
  • Ask and ask again if you don't understand
  • Do not give up first go: learning takes practice Personal learning goals are critical to achievement Organised, responsible and always considerate Disruption in class is not tolerated
  • Antisocial or bullying behaviour is not tolerated Everyone has a right to learn in a safe, settled and happy environment;
  • no-one has the right to take that away.

I am excited about the new school year which begins tomorrow for our teachers, and next week for our students! Many staff have been in throughout the holidays preparing for the new school year. I am very proud of the dedicated teaching staff we have at MHS. I know all of us are also keen to see our students again and also, to welcome our new Year 7 students. The school is experiencing a significant increase in enrolments beyond those anticipated for 2023, building further on the steady increase in student enrolments (7%) I have seen since my arrival as deputy principal in 2011. While I have been Relieving Principal for the past two years at MHS, I am delighted to now be Principal of this wonderful high school!  As indicated on the front page of our website, our school is evolving and has gained strong recognition in the education community. It is now also and gaining recognition in the broader community which reflects the truth of the school: a caring and committed staff, great young people, responsive, effective classrooms and the widely positive relationships we experience as a community, across the school. You might expect me to say that here, but any old stories to the contrary are not based on the calm, positive reality of this school today.

To our new Year 7 parents joining the MHS community for the first time, I am aware that sending your child to high school is a big step. I have heard the anxieties some parents feel about their child entering their high school years: the media seems full of stories about ICE epidemics, school yard bullying, fights and unruly young people.

Be most assured, NOT in my school! I have high expectations of student behaviour in and out of the classroom. I have zero tolerance of anti-social behaviour of any sort and I take swift action to ensure it is stopped immediately and does not impact the safety and happiness of our students. I do have a reputation of being 'firm but fair' and all students at MHS are aware of the very clear disciplinary consequences which ensure our safe and happy learning community. Therefore, your young one will not: have his/her head 'flushed' (these stories were about when I started high school and I have yet to hear of it actually happening!), s/he won't be picked on by older students, offered drugs or suffer any other terrifying experience.

Your child will: meet a lot of new friends from over 17 different primary schools; have a 1/3 of the playground for Year 7  only; find lots of teachers caring about her/his happy transition to high school; have supportive conversations with his/her year adviser, deputy and principal as we go out into the playground to get to know our new students at recesses and lunches and; they will have our reassurance that if something is worrying them, they need only to see us to have any problem sorted very quickly. I am very attuned to the negative effect worry has on young people (and parents!) so please, if ever you are wondering whether you should call to talk about something, even if it is small, the answer is always, 'yes' - my door and my telephone line is always open to you!

Proudly, En Avant!

Paula Graham