We are proud to acknowledge the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the traditional custodians of the land on which we learn, grow and play. We pay our respect to the elders of the community for they hold the memories, the traditions, the culture and hopes of Indigenous Australians and we extend our recognition to all their descendants.
We will always remember that under the concrete and asphalt, the land, sea and waterways were, and always will be, traditional Indigenous land.
Northcote Primary School is an inclusive, community-minded, and caring school with strong values that guide everything that we do.
Our priority is the explicit teaching of literacy and numeracy, and we offer an extensive selection of educational programs that support and extend these core learning areas. Additionally, we provide opportunities and challenges for every student that complements their diverse strengths and interests. We hold high expectations for every child and expect each student to achieve to the best of their ability.
At Northcote, we provide a calm and orderly environment. Across the school, we have established routines and consistency in learning and teaching protocols that ensure an environment where all students can reach their full potential.
Our teachers are highly talented and dedicated. They work in collaboration to develop a school culture that values teaching and learning. They encourage all students to strive to achieve their best with their academic learning, including developing their social and emotional wellbeing, to ensure all-round success. Our teachers are approachable, highly capable and dedicated to ensuring that every student in their care achieves to the very best of their abilities.
Every day our students show how much they care for each other, in both the classroom and the playground – exemplified through respectful interactions with friends and peers. We highly value student voice and agency which gives children the opportunity to shape their own learning experience. Student Leadership comes alive in various forms at Northcote Primary School.
Welcome to Northcote Primary – a dynamic, progressive school with a proud 149-year history.
Located in the vibrant inner-northern suburb of Northcote, our school is a stone’s throw away from the hustle and bustle of High Street and the 86 tram, and a gentle stroll from Northcote Railway Station. If you listen closely, you can hear the ding of an E-class from one side of the playground and the bells of the Arthurton Road level crossing from the other.
At Northcote, we celebrate individuality and cherish the unique gifts and talents each member of our wonderful community brings to the school. Academic achievement, social and emotional skills, physical prowess, and artistic ability are all equally valued, and make our school truly special. During their time at Northcote, we help to grow, support, and develop a student’s strengths so that they have the confidence to share their gifts and talents with the world.
As a school, we are always challenging ourselves to continue growing and improving. If you would like to find out more information about our school, please do not hesitate to call the office to arrange a tour or to speak to someone about how to enrol.
Thank you for taking the time to visit our website.
Our goal is to provide collaborative learning in a community that cares. Our school values guide our work and are at the heart of everything we do here at Northcote Primary School. They are:
At Northcote Primary School we show respect for ourselves, others, learning, our community, and the environment. We strive to demonstrate this in our behaviour, thoughts, actions, and words. We care for eachother, and we acknowledge how our actions and behaviour impact others and the world.
At Northcote Primary School we foster a culture of working together. We share responsibilities, drawing on everyone's strengths and skills. We share our thoughts and ideas, have robust conversatins, actively listen, and respectfully challenge ourselves and eachother to achieve our goals.
At Northcote Primary School we belong tp many communities and we have a role in fostering harmonies and an inclusive environment. We ensure that everyone feels safe, valued and that they belong. We do not leave anyone out. Everyone is different and we welcome and celebrate all children, families and staff.
Together, these values underpin a school environment and atmosphere where safety, caring attitudes, quality respectful relationships, consultative decision-making, and high education standards are encouraged.
Northcote Primary School, school number 1401, was first opened on the 1st of May 1874, high up on what is locally known as Ruckers Hill. It was the first state school to open in the area after the government passed the Education Act in 1872. Francis Beaver and the Board of Advice decided on the Helen Street location after looking at the local educational needs: the Wesleyan School was too small, and the Church of England school was not in an ideal location to serve the community. Both schools had no playground. The Helen Street location was in the perfect area to accommodate the number of pupils expected and in a central area.
The school was designed by the Education Department Architect, Henry Bastow, in the Gothic Revival style typical of the style of the state schools of that era. The current school buildings still retain the original Victorian and later Edwardian heritage style of brick buildings. The beautiful barrel-vaulted ceiling and stained-glass windows in the hall take your breath away and give you a sense of the grandeur of times gone by.
The first headmaster was Richard Tobin, who was formerly teaching at Wesleyan School in High Street. His wife, Mrs F.L Tobin was appointed as his assistant.
During the first decade of operation, the school fence was reported to be flimsy and in disrepair. Even after the fence was repaired, fence rails were being removed – resulting in cattle invading the grounds. It did not help that nearby residents with drays continued to use the right-of-way alongside the school and often hit the fence causing further damage. Often, cows and young children from nearby suburbs would leave the school grounds having broken windows and trampled trees.
Some of the classes being taught when the school first opened included physics, chemistry, book-keeping and military drill (for the boys), as well as the general curriculum. Throughout its life, Helen Street Primary School (as it was originally known) has, at times, taught secondary classes, technical classes, and woodwork, needlework, and cookery classes.
When the decision was made to build Northcote Primary School, it was intended to accommodate 500 pupils. However, when the building was complete, it was only large enough to hold 250 pupils. Since attendance during the first year of operation was around 165 pupils, this seemed like enough space at the time. However, as the years progressed, the number of pupils continued to increase, resulting in the demand for much more space.
As a result, in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, the school suffered from severe overcrowding. Between 1888 and 1898, enrolments grew by 350 to over 1000 pupils. Several additional rooms and spaces were constructed during this time, but enrolments continued to grow as the population of Northcote increased. In 1908, an additional 5 rooms and a hall building were tendered. The new works were opened by Lady Carmichael, wife of the Governor of Victoria.
One of the more interesting additions came in 1911, when approval was provided to build a miniature rifle range on the school grounds.
Even the opening of a second State School in the area (Wales Street Primary School) in 1891 did little to control the overcrowding. As the student population continued to grow at Northcote Primary School, ‘creative’ solutions were found.
At one point in 1913, authority was given to the school to permit the use of the lavatories as a classroom in order to provide additional space!
By 1914, there was an average of 1369 pupils attending the school.
In October 1915, the Red Cross wrote to the then Minister for Education requesting use of the sloyd room at the Helen Street school. “It is our intention to start work as soon as possible, in the manufacture of the various articles necessary for the comfort of our sick and wounded soldiers...”
In January 1915, the school records showed attendance enrolments of 1331, with a net enrolment of 1417 in December. As a matter of urgency, approval for a ‘pavilion’ classroom was given (along with repairs to some of the dual desks!) at a cost of £125. However, this did not appear to solve the problem, as it was noted even as late as 1922 that children were being given lessons in corridors outside the classrooms.
Numbers dramatically decreased in the middle of the century as people moved away from the area, with only 381 enrolled in 1961.
Extensive internal refurbishments to original classrooms have created modern, flexible learning spaces in all areas of the school to meet the needs of the twenty-first century learning community. These building works have been beautifully completed to tie the old with the new, in a way that is both respectful of the history of the building and charm, but also practical and functional.
This has allowed us to shape the physical environment and transform the teaching and learning practices to more contemporary, innovative styles. The Art Room is a perfect example of this, with its old-world charm captured in the traditional façade which beautifully houses all the fittings and fixtures of a modern classroom – down to the interactive whiteboards and hover cams used daily.