Novus Gimnázium was founded more that 20 years ago, in 1991 by the Art
Pedagogy Group of the Novus Art Association. The school's maintainer is the
Patrónus Foundation.

We currently offer two types of secondary school education:

After finishing primary school, students can apply to our 1+4 year course. 
During the first, language preparatory year our students learn English in 12
lessons per week. This first year also provides the opportunity to revise and
lay the foundations of the other subjects as well as allowing us to teach the
rather concentrated syllabus in a more leisurely and immersed manner.

The Individual Preparation Group is designed for secondary school dropouts
aged 16-25. Their 4 year education is focused primarily on the subjects of
the school-leaving exam. Their particular circumstances and individual problems
are taken into consideration and we endeavour to assist them in every way we can.

The aim of our school is to develop our students' abilities, to educate them at
a highly professional level and to discover fields in which they can become
successful. Our primary aims are personality development, the integrated
education of students living with special needs, talent management, to prevent
the emergence of anti-social forms of behaviour and to compensate for
disadvantages.

The students of our institution possess diverse abilities and are of diverse social
backgrounds. A surprising number of our students live with partial ability disorders
which, in many cases, is the reason why they drop out of other educational
institutions. Our aim is not always to achieve good results in school subjects,
sometimes the mere fact that we are able to retain a student within the framework
of school is enough. We strive to convey positive values that will serve thesestudents'
future way of living. This is why we do not try to 'get' the students who
excel academically. Our particular, one-day-long entrance examination consists
of several sessions where students take part in communication and motivation
activities and can display their co-operative skills and tolerance.

As mentioned above, many of our students come to Novus with diagnosed partial
ability disorders. However, in many cases the fact that in the background of
the students' former academic failures there is an undiagnosed and untreated
learning disability only comes to light in 9th grade. In such cases we try to refer
the student to the appropriate professional services in agreement with the parents
whereas at the school we provide individual development opportunities.

To assist our students' academic progress and to be of help with life, growing-
up and conduct issues we established a so-called 'patron system'. Mutual trust
between student and teacher and individual meeting sessions form the basis of
this system. Unfortunately we are often faced with problems which fall beyond the
scope of the school's competence: love-deprivation, social insecurity, etc. In these
cases we also contact professionals and services that might offer solutions.

The personality of our teachers is definitely fundamental. The continuous
discussions among our teachers concerning the students' situations, problems
and challenges and the tasks to be dealt with play a far more important role than
large-scale teacher conferences. Our faculty members can generally be described
as understanding and accepting. It is also a characteristic feature of Novus
Gimnázium that our teachers are allowed more latitude than in a more traditional
school. Since everyone takes part in the 'mission' nobody is spurred by obligation
to accomplish their tasks. The most important thing is personal contact and
experiencing difficulties and joys together. The 4 or 5 years spent at our school
usually prove to be determining for our students, they tend to come back and give
an account of their life events.

All this hopefully shows that we continually strive to find new methods and
solutions. Competence-based education, differentiation, co-operative learning
and individual treatment are not new requirements at Novus, but are regarded as
everyday routine.

A highly significant component of our educational programme is the socialisation
and education of gifted adolescents and young adults struggling with
underachievement in traditional schools, as a result of adaptation and learning
difficulties. We regard it truly important to keep these students in school as
dropping out could lead to the development of serious deviancies. Our aim is
to guide the student back into the classroom. We can achieve this by using
individualised methods, a curriculum tailored to the students' particular needs, by
offering classes that develop students' personality and help unfold their hidden
abilities and by engaging the assistance of professionals including psychologists,
psychiatrists, development specialists and speech therapists.



 



Educational program


At present we carry on a 1+4 years high school education (the Individual Preparatory Group has a 4-year-long education) which is based on the current, the central and our own syllabus created by a self-development program focusing on art education.


Our main goals are

  • to widen the students’ interest
  • to evolve and increase their motivation
  • to prepare them to the basic and advanced baccalaureate
  • to develop their personality by tools of art education
  • to ensure creative activity to develop their willingness of cooperation and
  • tolerance
  • to evolve the need for healthy lifestyle by recreation sessions, lectures and
  • other programs


Our educational program has an emphasis on visual culture, movie and media studies and studying English and German/Spanish is required. We always try to adapt to the developing child personality and to the undertaken special educational task.


On every year we have only one class with maximum 20 students and further smaller groups in it. Instead of the hierarchical teacher-student relationship we find mutual trust and dialogues more important. The so called Patronus-system, the personal relationship between teachers and students has a main role in our school.


The school year starts with a camp, where new students have the chance to get to know each other and the others can get back to the daily routine of work. During the year in every 6-7 weeks there is a one week course when students can go to museums or to the cinema, they can listen to invited speakers in different topics and they can perform as well. To acquire the cultured togetherness, we offer school clubs once a month: these programs are organized by the classes. On every Friday the traditional teacher-student sport matches take place (football, volleyball). Besides these special events we offer extra programs in afternoons: while some of them are connected to the school subjects and are planned to widen the knowledge of students, others are not connected strictly to them.


The basic art education activities such as film screening (connected to movie and media studies) take place during these programs in afternoons. Students being motivated affect the success of education and these activities can help them feel motivated.  


Our students often take part in sport and academic competitions between schools. In our opinion the most important result is being motivated and the intention to participate!


The art activities can be attractive not only to talented students, but to the others as well, who can express themselves and acquire the visual language this way. The ones interested in arts have the opportunity to take part in study circles and practice the different art techniques, develop their draughtsmanship and prepare for the baccalaureate or for the university application. The art colony in the summer offers the same possibilities.


Our educational program has a huge emphasize on students, who have good abilities, but in a traditional school underperform and deal with integration or learning difficulties. We would like to set them into the community and educate them in an adequate way. It is essential for these students in case to not to drop out from the school, because it can lead to serious deviancies. Our aim is to lead these students back to class and help them unfold their hidden abilities by individualized methods, syllabuses, activities and the help of external experts (psychologist, psychiatrist, speech therapist etc.)



Methods

Competence-based education

In our opinion we have to develop abilities of learning not by developing the students’ own abilities, but by using modern and up-to-date techniques and let students use them as well.

  • Information Technology: the different digital and interactive devices like the internet or the SDT (digital basis for schools) are much closer to today’s students than books. Instead of passive reading (that causes problems, thus failure in many cases), interactive programs always transmit knowledge connected and emphasized to activities, thus make students be able to use them when it is needed. We are trying to generalize the use of modern techniques outside the classroom, in the afternoon events as well.
     
  • Comprehension-text production: we set the target to integrate this competence area into different school subjects, since comprehension is still a basic competence of learning. To the practice of this we also focus on oral manifestation. Group works, situation and drama plays, individual performances, debates serve this purpose. To develop the text production students have homeworks and assignments to practice that can be individual and group works as well.
     
  • Foreign languages: the language preparatory education was introduced in the school year of 2006/2007 and aimed to develop the competence area of foreign languages, so every student is going to possess one world language. Teaching language we find practice the more important, but we do not forget the essentiality of grammar either. Language education is present in vocational training too – since this is education after the baccalaureate, the emphasis is mainly on developing professional vocabulary and communication.
     
  • Mathematics: in our project we aimed to teach this competence area through other subjects (physics, chemistry, and geography), which is essential regarding to the number of students in our school dealing with dyscalculia. Many of them had already dropped out of mathematics education in elementary school. This teaching system is recommended to not only them, but other students, who do not deal with such dysfunctions, since they have to face some tasks in their everyday life.
     
  • Social, lifestyle and environmental and building a career: to develop these competences has been a basic target since the school was founded, thus environmental and health education and drug prevention programs can be found in the Novus-method.

 


Familiar atmosphere

The building of the school was a community centre before and thus it is suitable to arrange not only whole class lectures, but group activities and group works, too. Students also took part in the rebuilding process of the school, so now there are many cosy small places between classrooms. Due to this atmosphere a lot of students spend their free time in the school playing in the library, reading, talking or cooking together. Although there has been a recurring need to expand the building, we try to retain this atmosphere, this special bond between students and the school building.



Patronus-system

The Patronus-system was created to support students’ individual development and to help solve their learning and other problems. The system does not have any strict regulations, but gives the opportunity to teachers and students to get to know each other better, prevent or handle conflicts. Patrons have a close relationship with the other teachers, parents and with doctors or psychologists if needed.

Individual sessions-talent management-integration-compensation for dis-
advantages

Besides lectures and group works individual sessions are needed as well. These sessions have a wide range from integration to talent management. Optionally, for students, who can’t be teach in a community we can offer an individual timetable. This way we can prevent dropouts and they do not have to study privately. The activities are gone by the individual problems of students while trying to retain the feeling of belonging to the community.

Motivation, basic art education

The increased number of hours of art education is the tool of forming the personalities and helping find the own interests of students. They can try themselves out in different areas of art either in class or in the afternoon activities. These activities do not function as an official art education – we want to give the chance to students to try to express themselves and unfold their hidden abilities.

Developing creativity

Besides art education there are other activities to help students develop their creativity. Being confident, independent is an important element of our work. We create situations where they have to face with problems and in the end we analyse the problems and the solutions together.

Developing communicational skills

To develop communicational skills have always been essential to reach effective cooperation. In many cases by children who underperform, it means the solution of the min problems. Besides drama pedagogy sessions students do language and visual communication exercises. The recurring tasks give the opportunity to students to create something, since there are different possible forms of each task.

Independent working and cooperation

The communication activities have cooperation elements. Through the drama plays, students can practice how to be accepting and tolerant with each other. The DIY exercises have the same goal and the jointly created works are a good way to help them form, decorate their own environment. These exercises are very effective, because they are not based on extrinsic instructions.

Supporting students with their problems

Even if adapting to the school can solve many problems outside the school, there still can be individual problems that can be settled by individual activities and conversations. Our psychologists always keep an eye on students and if it is needed, they also bring other specialists in. It is a long process until students learn how to manage their own life, but this process can be formed by positive examples and activities that are attractive to children.

Health education and recreation

To make students feel the need for doing sports and take care of their health is also the part of our program. Everyday sports and popular sports give more to children then the traditional PE lessons. Besides the weekly four-hour trainings there are trips, bicycle tours, football and other activities to make sure students are going to live healthy after school as well. We not only fight against, but help students change their harmful habits. We cooperate with institutions whose core activities is juvenile deviance.

Like an age characteristics, a lot of students deal with self-estimation, behavioural or integration problems. Therefore it became essential to deal with the issues of physical and mental health and try to teach them everything about healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, the drug-related rehabilitation gets more important in the school, but we approach it through a special health education program: we organize “health days”, make informative brochures and continuously provide further trainings to our teachers.

Individual opinions and forming decision skills

One of our main goals is to educate students to be able to stand up for themselves, make their own decisions and have individual opinions. The democracy-techniques help them in this: the knowledge they learn in school can be practiced in the school life and during the years they get more and more independence to manage their own lives. In the end the graduated students are able to accomplish their ideas and listen to other people. Deformed values can be a reason and a consequence of deviancies, but can be corrected by a self-development based program.

Environmental education

To environment lessons we always add the fitting environmental protection aspects. The type of the lesson defines which problem we treat and how we do it. Thus environmental education can be found in visual culture, geography or biology lessons as well. The aspects of everyday life environment get a privileged spot in our program. We found individual experiences very important: our students take part in creating the image of the school and they seem to feel more comfortable in an environment that has been formed by them. They also take more responsibility, care for these areas. Thus we bring them in gardening and tidying up the school (painting, decorating belongs to here). We selectively remove waste.

Teaching about consumer protection

To become a conscious consumer takes a long time. We try to acquaint our students with market, marketing and advertising. We also emphasize the importance of quality and safety during consuming. We try to form such critical consumer behaviour which is able to keep the distance, know the connection between need and supply and also able to communicate and solve certain consumer problems. Since consuming usually comes together with communication situations, the right opinions can reach students the best if we develop consumer skills by situation plays and communication exercises. They can be grouped around the supply-demand theme, but also can be completed with exercises that need research. 






Application


1. Students in the 8th grade: 1+4 years long education. In the 9th grade students have an English language preparatory training and they got increased number of hours of lessons from arts, visual culture, media studies and movie. Besides English, in the 10th grade they can choose Spanish or German as well. We also educate children who deal with different problems, such as behaviour or integration difficulties.

The application: we make our decisions by the previous academic achievements of students and the oral and written results of the matriculation they have to go through.

Children have to take part in the central written exam that measures the students’ competences in mathematics and in Hungarian language.

By the Public Education Act we accept students whose pschycological develpoment disorders have an interfering effect on their studies (dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, abnormal activity disorder etc.). These students are entilted to some preferences during the written exam: they can have time extension (the exam usually takes 45 minutes by each subjects), they can use aids and while rating their tests the examiner handles certain task types differently.


Deadlines for the written exam: 10.12.2011

The application form to the written exam can be given to every high school, independently from the subsequent application (its deadline is 17.02.2012)

Date of the central written exam: 21.01.2012. 10 a.m.

For those who can not appear on this day for some verifiable and acceptable reason (illness or transport difficulties) there is a remount exam on 26.01.2012 2 p.m.

Date of the oral exam: 09.03.2012. 9-15h

The oral exam is a full day long process, when we test their historical, language and communicational knowledge and their facilities in visual culture, movie and media studies. We also examine their thinking in natural sciences, such as biology, physics, geography and chemistry.


The evaluation of the results: we take into consideration the year-end and the semi-annual grades from the 7th and 8th class. From these grades students can have maximum 50 points (which is 25% of the whole): we sum the grades of Hungarian language and literature (the average); biology, physics, chemistry and geography (the average of them); history, mathematics and drawing. The written exam is maximum 100 points and 50% of the whole. To the oral exam students can get maximum 50 points (10 to each part) which is 25% of the total score.

The written results of students with learning difficulties are not taken into consideration. We only look at the results of their oral exam and decide whether we can see any real chance to make them finish the school successfully. Their point are calculated from the double of the brought and double of the oral exam points (100-100 each)

The school reserves the right to create the passing grade knowing the results of the entrance examination.

2. Students who change school during the school year: they have to spend 3 days in the certain class. During these 3 days the prospective student, the classmates and the teachers can have a picture of each other, they can heft whether Novus is the right place of the candidate and how a new student would affect the balance of power in the class. The latter is just as important as the facilities and abilities of the student!

Teachers make decisions about the entrance examination and the aptitude test. Into the 11th class we take on students only in well-founded cases and into the 12th class we do not take on any students.

3. Application to the Individual Preparation Group







Individual Preparatory Group


There are a lot of students who have to deal with different issues that hardens their studies – health issues, working and studying at the same time, failures in studies. In a traditional school these problems are not going to be solved properly. In 2002 the first Individual Preparatory Group started with 4 classes and 60 students.

In this group students have their own schedule – the method and the speed of their studies are determined to their abilities and are meant to prove to pass the advanced and the normal school leaving examination as well. The structure of the subjects is created by paying attention to the usual high school syllabus and the requirement of the final exams.

This group contains young people from the age 16 to 25. Thus it is clear that the simple high school’s requirements are not suitable for this age group, because their subjects and requirement levels can not be used to people who deal with different, adult issues and are intellectually more mature. These students’ learning abilities are usually very different, so the best solution seemed to be to give them individual schedules. In this group the 9-10th grade is a preparatory part and the 11-12th grade is the intensive preparatory for the school leaving examination.



How to apply to this group?

The entrance exam is in the end of August. Teachers and specialists make the decision whether the applicant deserves a place in this group – whether he/she really needs to be individually educated.


Application criteria:

  • finished 8th grade
  • We are not specialized on:
  • serious mental issues
  • serious physical problems (100% blindness, deafness)
  • serious psychiatrically issues


The actual knowledge or the previous marks are not important. The acceptance is defined by the applicants’ life and dependence need to this kind of education. By this need we mean that he/she is not able to finish his/her studies in a traditional high school, because he/she needs bigger attention due to his/her behavioural, learning or personal problems.

Because of this, the first part of the entrance exam is an interview where not only teachers, but colleagues of education consultant council take part as well and measure whether the education can be accept or which strategy they have to use in the case of the applicant. The second part measures the knowledge of the applicants and we decide on which class they can start their studies.


The maximum amount of people in the Individual Preparatory Group: 60