As we commence our enrolments process for 2025 and 2026 I find myself reflecting on what is it that families are looking for from our School. It’s a given that we will provide a safe environment, where children are happy and can be the best version of themselves. An assurance that quality learning outcomes will happen is also rightly expected. But what does this adjective “quality” mean? I am a great believer that we need to be able to “show” not just “tell” our families what defines excellence in education.
The recent Grade 6 IB Primary Years Programme Exhibition was not just a celebration of a passion project by our curious young people. It reflected how students learn best and indeed how our students are poised for success in the next phase of their learning as they enter the middle years of education. Students were able to demonstrate an understanding of complex social, environmental, and economic issues. They developed their own lines of inquiry and researched and generated data to ensure their findings were valid. Each student sought out experts in their field of inquiry and interviewed them, and because of these rich learning interactions, many refined or revised their inquiry. They presented their findings in presentations, using various technologies and interactive presentations to engage with an authentic audience. Their audience was encouraged to ask questions, challenging our students to think deeper and harder about their central idea. They were coached through the process by their teachers and sometimes other learners as they used agency to drive their quest for deeper understanding. It reads a whole lot like how we may go about our work each day.
If we look beneath the actual learning process we see some of the key learning skills that are at the forefront of contemporary education including students as:
- co-collaborators and drivers of their learning
- flexible, adaptive and curious learners
- critical and creative thinkers
- Multiliterate as they use digital, scientific and conventional literacy and numeracy skills as researchers and presenters
- confident and capable communicators.
These are first-rate learning outcomes derived from a highly intentional, internationally research-based, learning framework. By any standard, our students are experiencing a world-class education. Our students have shown us what quality learning for life is all about. Our students, their families, teachers, and our community are very proud of all that is achieved through this amazing learning programme – few schools can claim this high level of quality engagement and fulfilling learning. As our Grade 6 students transition to the Senior Campus, they will be well-equipped and ready to explore learning through the distinct approaches specifically used to shape success as adolescent learners in the middle years of schooling.
But this preparation does not just happen because of a learning framework. The professional development of our teachers and the learning environments they create across the primary years at Grammar are grounded in strong educational research which ensures our learners will thrive. We have created a professional learning environment for our teachers and teacher aides so they may not only share the best of their current practice but also retrain to develop expertise in targeted areas. Notably, our Primary School staff have focused on the best practice delivery of literacy, numeracy and investigative inquiry over the last three years, and we are seeing success as a result of this intentional approach. Solid results in NAPLAN for Grade 5 and Grade 3 students across all areas are an excellent indicator of getting the approach right. The collaboration between teachers to create a learning narrative for our students that is intentional, known, and personalised for each learner means that learning Grammar is made easy. Our students are achieving great success and personal growth by any measure.
So, as we interview prospective students and their families it is not lost on me that the value for money in this investment in their children’s future cannot be underestimated. We must deliver on the promises we make to create and sustain a learning programme where each child thrives socially, emotionally and academically. As part of our strategic plan, we are ensuring that each phase of learning a student experiences at Grammar is suited to their learning needs and unique talents that enable them to explore and grow as learners with gusto!
Schools can’t be everything to everyone. They need to stand for something, they need to know their purpose, and they need to be a place where young people experience success. Grammar is in the business of life success through education, and we love sharing and working with our students, and their families, to achieve this together. It’s a given that we will know, value and care for students it’s about how we challenge and inspire them in an intentional and research learning framework that makes all the difference!