A holistic education for boys
Normanhurst Boys High School proudly maintains a focus on the provision of a holistic learning environment as one of our three strategic directions.
We challenge students to engage with authentic learning opportunities and become passionate, life-long learners in a variety of practical and rewarding activities and encouraging adaptability, resilience, empathy, humility and tolerance.
In addition to academic, sports and physical activity, leadership as well as community service opportunities, every effort is made to provide an avenue for the students to experience success in an area of learning passion for them. The provision of a raft of relevant and stimulating co-curricular and extracurricular clubs, competitions and opportunities is part of fulfilling this commitment.
The school’s Chess Club is large and growing in popularity. Normanhurst Boys routinely enters at least two junior, one intermediate and one senior team in the Northern Metropolitan NSW Junior Chess League Competition.
The Social Chess Club meets each Tuesday and Thursday lunch time to organise games. Chess is popular all year round as boys excitedly retreat from the heat or cold of the day, and take time with friends to chat socially over a chessboard. Many lunches see the boys need to spread into many classrooms to accommodate the friendly club competition. It is also noteworthy that Chinese chess continues to be a very popular past time and many students watch on to the games played at a Junior and Senior level, learning this ancient game. Casual chess is played each day in the library, canteen area and in the quad on the maxi-board.
The Creator’s Club
The Creator’s Club caters for students who want to develop their creative thinking skills through working on independent and collaborative projects (self or teacher-directed) under the guidance of the Visual Arts staff.
By working alongside other club members, students beco;me open to new ideas, engage in problem solving and are able to share their creative thinking processes.
The club provides a hub where students come together to create in their area of passion or interest. Some students use their projects as part of the skills component of the Duke of Edinburgh Award. The club operates out of Room 38 every Monday afternoon between 3:00 pm and – 4:00 pm.
Debating and Public Speaking
Each year teams are entered in a large number and range of debating competitions, some of which are outlined below. Places in the debating teams are highly sought after — each year between 50 and 100 students apply and audition. While the number of teams change from year to year based on amount of interest by students, this enrichment activity continues to grow from strength to strength.
Premier’s Debating Challenge (PDC)
The Premier’s Debating Challenge is run by the NSW Department of Education’s Arts Unit. This series of debates occur between the commencement of Term 2 and the end of Term 3.
Each year the school attempts to enter at least two teams from each level to compete for:
- Year 7 and 8 Trophy (Junior);
- Teasdale Cup (Intermediate, Years 9 and 10);
- The Karl Kramp Trophy (Year 11);
- The Hume Barbour Trophy (Year 12).
The debating coordinators organise a draw for the competition, with debates being held during the school day. The Normanhurst Boys High School Debating Coordinators are Ms Ormison and Mr Martinez.
University debating days
Teams are assembled to compete in junior, intermediate and senior debating days, conducted by Sydney University, Macquarie University and University of Technology. These debates are conducted in the university-style to provide students with an experience of debating beyond the school environment. While there is some variation in the format used between institutions, generally they are characterised by the use computer tabulation scoring methods to track the results over three debates which are held on one day.
There are a variety of inter-school and invitational debates participated in each year. Participation varies annually to accommodate the calendar of the debating team. Normanhurst Boys High School has a strong commitment to a number of different debates including The Janine Best Memorial Debate which is held at Hurlstone Agricultural High School each year.
When possible to do so, Debating Coordinators attempt to organise social debates within the school and with our sister school Hornsby Girls High School.
Lions Youth of Year Challenge (LYOTY)
Lions Youth of the Year Challenge is an area strongly patronised by Normanhurst Boys as an avenue to enhance public speaking skills within the context of a National competition.
Duke of Edinburgh Award
Normanhurst Boys High School students are active participants in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.
This inspiring, enriching and very rewarding program is available for to all students who choose to participate.
The Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme involves three awards:
In all three stages of the scheme there are four components to complete of varying hours, depending on the level:
- physical recreation
- community service
- 2 or more expeditions
A residential project is also required for Gold Awardees. Please contact Ms James, our staff coordinator, for further information. Further generic information is also available for the Duke of Edinburgh site,
The Environment Club
The school environment club provides the boys with the platform they need to take action on the environmental issues they feel passionate about. Students take a leadership role in identifying and achieving the school’s environmental goals. Activities vary and proactively address environmental concerns expressed by the student body. In the past areas which have been addressed include:
- Paper recycling
- Water reduction
- Projects to reduce electricity consumption
- Tree planted and native plant regeneration
Many form the group also attend each term’s “Grounds Day” when parents, students and teachers meet at school on the weekend to attend to the schools extensive grounds and associated vegetation.
Currently led by Ms Gibson-Garside and assisted by Mr Copping, this group is one of the fasting growing interest groups in the school.
Mooting and Mock Trial
Mooting was developed over 500 years ago in the ancient medieval inns of court. They were exercises for young lawyers training to become barristers. Aspiring lawyers were required to perform a series of oral exercises in front of more experienced lawyers who acted as judges. Today mooting is widely used as a teaching tool in universities. The simulated court proceeding present student teams with a legal problem, or problems, which they are required to argue before a ‘judge’. The teams are required to prepare and present a case and show an understanding of the law in relation to the case at hand. The competition involves an oral and a written component where competitors are required to prepare and submit a ‘memorial’ outlining their case before arguing it in the moot court. The competitions tend to focus on a specific area of law like criminal law, commercial law, humanitarian law, constitutional law, administrative law or family law.
Each year teams are established and compete in various Mooting competitions including the Bond University Mooting Competition. In 2015, Normanhurst Boys High School were Regional winners in this National competition and competed in the National finals.
Mr Cusick, our Legal Studies teacher, and qualified lawyer, is our Mooting coach and coordinator. His passion and understanding of this area consistently results in high level performances in our students.
Normanhurst Boys High School has an ensemble program that is based around Concert Band, Stage Bands 1 and 2, a String ensemble and a Vocal Group. The stage bands are vertically structured, so that boys are placed in the appropriate one for their standard of playing. All students are welcome to join an ensemble, provided that they have been learning their instrument for at least three years.
Students in the ensemble program are expected to be learning an instrument from an experienced tutor. We encourage as many boys as possible to become involved in learning an instrument and belong to a school ensemble. Rehearsals for all large ensembles are held before or after school.
The program is managed by the three music staff who also conduct most of the ensembles. Stage Band 1 is conducted by an outside tutor.
The Concert Band is for any student who plays a wind, brass or percussion instrument. It is our largest ensemble, comprising, on average 40 – 60 students, and rehearses weekly under custodianship of Mrs Cousins, with the assistance of Mrs Johnson and Mr Howell. The concert band plays a mixture of musical styles including symphonic band music, popular tunes and film scores.
- Venue: Hall
- Time: Friday 7:30 am
The Stage Bands are for students who have reached a high level of skill in saxophone, trombone, trumpet, bass guitar, electric guitar, drum kit or piano and are interested in jazz. As such it requires some knowledge of jazz chords for anyone wishing to join on guitar, bass or piano. Students learn the art of improvisation as well as gaining an insight into Jazz performance techniques, playing a mixture of traditional Jazz standards as well as funk and rock. There are two stage bands: Stage Band 1 rehearses with Mr Bell and Stage Band 2 rehearses with Mr Howell.
Rehearsal times (Stage Band 1)
- Venue: Hall
- Time: Thursdays 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Rehearsal times (Stage Band 2)
- Venue: Room 46
- Time: Tuesdays 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
The String Ensemble is for students who play violin, viola, cello or double bass. There are also opportunities for pianists to accompany the ensemble. We would encourage any boy who currently learns a string instrument to join. Repertoire for the string ensemble includes Art Music, popular music and folk. The string ensemble rehearses with Mr Howell.
- Venue: Hall
- Time: Mondays 7:45 am
The Vocal Group is for all students who are interested in singing from years 7 – 12. The group performs a variety of pieces including popular songs and traditional choral items. Students do not need to have any previous musical experience for this group.
- Venue: Hall
- Time: Tuesdays 7:30 am
The school has a some instruments for hire. It is anticipated that most ensemble members would have access to their own instrument. However, in the case of larger instruments such as tuba or double bass, students are able to use those provided by the school.
In order to purchase materials such as music, instruments, coach fares to various venues, a $50 ensemble contribution is levied.
Members of Stage Band 1 will be billed separately each term for the fees due to the provision of an outside tutor for this ensemble.
Thunderbolts Robotics is a robotics and programming club where a growing number of dedicated students meet every Monday and Thursday afternoons and lunchtimes weekly to share their passion for technology and robotics. 4739 is the team number which participates in the FIRST Robotics Competition.
The great success demonstrated last year has inspired our students to be part of the latest generation of programmers and robot builders to take on the world. These clubs typically compete in competitions all year round including:
- UNSW ProgComp
- GROK Python Challenge
- First Robotics
- Australian Informatics Olympiad
- ICAS Digital Technologies Competition
- UNSW Sunsprint Solar Car Challenge
School Musical with Hornsby Girls High School
A biennial production, the students of Normanhurst Boys High School team up with Hornsby Girls High School to create a memorable musical. The most recent productions of The Pirates of Penzance (2012), The Scarlet Pimpernel (2014) and (2016) typified the professional level of production and performance of these events.
Rehearsals occur throughout Term 1 and the Autumn school holidays under the direction and production of the CAPA staff. Combining excellent performances with beautiful costumes, scenery and lighting, these events provide an opportunity for 40-50 students on stage, a backstage and lighting crew of 10-15 to thoroughly entertain our enthusiastic audiences for four nights in April.
Social Justice Committee
Throughout the course of the year the Social Justice Committee (SJC) works on various activities in order to raise awareness and funds to help overcome issues crippling today’s world. The Committee is a new initiative of dedicated leaders, who care about the need for social justice in the wider community. From the 40 Hour Famine to Ebola Crisis Awareness day, the Committee has been working diligently to bring about real change in our community and beyond. This dedicated group welcomes new members to work towards a myriad of causes of interest to the students and the community.
Army Cadet Unit
The 226 Army Cadet Unit (ACU) is a youth organisation open to the community and based on the grounds of Normanhurst Boys High School. The Australian Army Cadets takes its core values of Courage, Initiative, Respect and Teamwork from the Australian Army.
The Unit operates from 6:00 to 9:00 pm on a Tuesday night. The cadet unit is not operated by the school but has operated out of the grounds since 1958.