This report has been prepared in response to the Australian Government requirements that schools report on specific issues to their stakeholders on an annual basis.
Welcome to the Lambert School Annual Report for 2013. The report provides a brief summary of relevant information to parents and the wider school community.
Lambert School is a small co-ed city primary school of approximately 28 students, sharing a campus with the small secondary school of 29. The school aims to provide exceptional education in a non-institutional setting which is homely, congenial, caring and mutually supporting. There is no uniform, no office or principal's study, bell or public address system. However, the School is orderly, has a set timetable, a sense of purpose and provides a stimulating learning environment. The School has no religious or political affiliation but a strong belief in the individual, in group responsibility and in caring for each other. The curriculum is broad and challenging, with resources allocated to ensure that programs are well staffed and equipped to cater for a range of abilities and interests. School and grade camps are essential to the curriculum as are visits to local events such as exhibitions and concerts. Students are given sound education in mathematics, science, English language, social science, computer, art, drama, physical education, Indonesian, French and technology. Healthy lunch and morning teas are provided, often planned and cooked by the students. Reporting to parents is integral to the teaching/learning program.
Teaching Staff Attendance and Retention
The average attendance rate or average number of days attended per staff member 4 per week.
All teachers at Lambert School meet the professional requirements to teach in Tasmania and are registered with the Teachers Registration Board Tasmania. Our current teachers' qualifications are as follows:
Students Enrolments and Attendance
Proportions of Year 3, 5, 7 and 9 students meeting the national minimum standard in reading, writing, spelling, grammar and punctuation and numeracy.
The following table shows the students results compared with the average take from statistically similar schools.
During 2013 Lambert School had one grade 3 student and most of the grade 9 students went to China.
Hence there are no results for these grades.
The following are a list of ‘extra’ things we do which add value to the education that your children receive. In 2013 the 'extras' included:
Levels Of Satisfaction
Surveys are carried out on a yearly basis and their feedback is very important for the development of the Lambert School. Three surveys are conducted inquiring into parent, student and teacher thoughts on the running of the school. Overwhelmingly the response to these surveys has been exceptionally positive. Any negative responses are important to us as they indicate areas in which the school can strive to improve.
Stephen Lambert B.Sc
Lambert School Administrator
REVIEW AND DEVELOPMENT REPORT 2014
This report is intended for the parents of the school. It is distributed with the student reports and is posted on the school’s website.
Cycle of Review
As part of the Registration process undertaken earlier this year, we have revised the cycle of review that was previously published. Cheryl West, who joined the staff this year, has been engaged to edit and revise school documents including the review process. Cheryl is an ex-student of the school and has extensive teaching and administrative experience with Education Departments in South Australia and the Northern Territory. We are very pleased that she has accepted an appointment in the school as a teacher, Academic Consultant and as a member of the school’s Review and Development Committee. An outline of the Development and Improvement Plan and the Review Process prepared by her are included with this report. The programme outlining areas for review on an annual basis is part of the second document.
Cheryl has also undertaken the task of managing the testing program associated with “Making Data Count”. Initially, this has involved systematic tests of numeracy and basic reading skills for primary and lower secondary students. Students who fall below the accepted standards will be identified and receive extra tuition and skill development. As part of her role in testing, evaluation and planning, Cheryl has taken responsibility for managing the survey data referred to on the Improvement Plan, “Evidence and Evaluation”.
Because this year is the transition year between the previous and the new cycle of areas for review, some adjustments to the reporting process are made. The area of Interpersonal Relationships was examined in last year’s report. The only addition to the comments made in 2013 is reference to some interim results of the surveys conducted last month of parent and student responses. For the parent survey, the first bracket of five statements and the first two statements of the third bracket relate to interpersonal relationships. The average of positive responses for these items was 85%. Similarly relevant statements on the student survey yielded a lower positive response, 57%. A far greater percentage of students than parents chose neutral responses (middle of the agree-disagree scale) for these and other items. A further and more analytical report will be made of all items surveyed during term 1 next year and any issues or problems relating to them will be addressed then.
Although fewer in number than in previous years, Camps and Excursions are still integral to the school program. Camps to Gumleaves, Mt Field and Maria Island continue to be popular occasions and generate considerable goodwill, sharing of learning and social experiences, and enjoying healthy food, rest and exercise. Survey results are supportive: 85% of parents and 63% of students responded positively. Excursions to education centres, theatre and concert visits continue to add depth and interest to the curriculum. School participation in competitions including science and mathematics, in drama workshops, Alliance Francaise and Chinese competitions are valuable adjuncts to those subjects and enable students to observe and interact in educational settings with those from other schools. 74% of students and 95% of parents responded favourably to these items. It is disappointing to note that a small minority of parents are less supportive of camps. Students who are initially reluctant are invariably happy and positive about the outcome even though they face challenges during the experience. The same can be said for the school lunch and morning tea program which is a separate issue but one that might be addressed here.
Although the positives far outweigh the negatives for students 5:1, and for parents 81% in favour, considerable time and energy is expended in encouraging or persuading a small number of students (less than 5%) and in some cases their parents, of the benefits of the program. The aim is to provide a common offering of nutritious, inexpensive food in a social, sharing situation where good manners and appreciative responses can be supported and reinforced. The school is committed to this program as an integral aspect of our education policy.
Teacher Develoment is a mandated feature of the government’s school improvement program. We are dedicated to recruiting and supporting well-qualified teachers who are highly skilled and who are committed to on-going self-improvement in a collegial, mutually supportive environment. Staffing policy includes a balance between male and female teachers with a blend of youth and experience. This year we introduced Chinese into the curriculum. This subject is becoming more common in Australians schools and reflects the school’s on-going interest in China as demonstrated by two school visits in the past five years.
Several staffing appointments have been made this year. We were fortunate to be able to secure the appointment of Victoria to take on the new teaching responsibility of Chinese for primary and secondary students. She is a Chinese national with strong links with the Chinese community and fellow teachers in other institutions. Colin Menadue has been a very welcome addition to the teaching team. He is a highly regarded and experienced art teacher with extensive experience teaching art and drama in secondary schools and senior colleges. He has strong links with art and drama teachers. Andrew Maher left Hobart for the grand safari tour of Australia at the end of term 1. His place has been taken by Bob, an enthusiast of natural history and a dynamic teacher of maths and science. As previously stated, Cheryl joined the team this year. She is an experienced teacher and administrator. Unfortunately, Caroline has had a difficult year with illness but she managed to maintain her contact with teaching, including the ever-important Alliance Francaise competition. The school wishes her well for a complete recovery.
Parents showed strong approval of items relating to teaching. Favourable responses to these items were 81% for my child’s progress; retaining the same teacher year to year 86%; confidence in academic standards 90%; and 91% for teacher commitment. 70% of students believe they are making good progress, their belief in their teacher’s qualifications and support for specialist subjects are approved 3:1.
Facilities and Resources are considered adequate for a school of this size. We are limited by the city site to some extent, though the proximity of the school to the town centre is considered advantageous by parents and students. 75% of parents and 65% of students regard the facilities as suitable for teaching and learning. The ratio of approval to disapproval by students for the size of the school and the suitability of its rooms is 4:1 and rates as 75% approval by parents. The limitation of playground space is an ongoing issue and there is not much we can do about this given the built nature of the environment. It will continue to use outside sports and recreation areas and make more use of the Burnett and Church Street parks. Far more than a third of the students and over half the parents this limitation is not a concern. The compact nature of the school does make supervision and care of the physical wellbeing of students less complex. The restrictions on space encourage students to take care in moving about the building and in the yard. It is a feature of playground behaviour and dynamics that older and younger children are able to share social and recreational activities. They all know each other and it is particularly encouraging to see the regard and responsiveness they share across age groups.
The street front nature of the school requires careful supervision. In busy times, such as the end of the school day, there are always teachers on duty at the front of the school but because of the spread of arrival times it is largely a matter of individual responsibility to ensure safe movement of students and parent vehicles. One of the parent questions in the comment section of the survey forms was to query why we did not have a 40km/h sign in the street. This will be followed up with the traffic department. (The Council did erect pedestrian signs in the street a few years ago.) Fortunately Church Street is not a thoroughfare but crossing Warwick Street near the church is a definite hazard for pedestrians. Students should walk down to Elizabeth Street and use the controlled crossings. 87% of students feel safe in the school and 91% of parents state that their child feels secure in the school.
The school’s next challenge will be the development next door which occupies the space between Church and Elizabeth Streets. This project has caused serious concerns with residents and with us. Last year we made deputations to the Council as well as Liberal members of the State Parliament to put forward an objection to the development. Despite assurances from opposition members of Parliament that this project would not go ahead if they were elected to government, nothing was done to forestall the project. Once completed and the buildings occupied, the school’s administration will have to be vigilant and resourceful in maintaining our high standards of safety and well-being of the students.
This is the fourth school review which follows a three year cycle. Last year the focus was on buildings and resources, safety protocols and school organisation and governance. In 2011 the headings were teacher development, camps and excursions and interpersonal relationships. This year’s report examines curriculum, assessment and reporting, issues that are particularly topical with the Federal Government’s directives on related matters. Before examining these facets of the school, I want to return to the issue of interpersonal relationships as I feel that with the emphasis on national curriculum and assessment procedures, including NAPLAN, some balance is required in terms of the human side of teaching and learning. The following reflections were noted in January of this year and I wish to record them here to enable members of the school community to respond.
A necessary but not sufficient condition for validity in education is the nurturing of mutual respect and consideration for each other among those directly engaged in the school community. While any institution has to acknowledge the need for a relatively ordered set of relationships among its members, there is a special need within an educational institution that goes beyond the need for pragmatic and efficient social order. Schools have an added and greater obligation to ensure that their students genuinely adopt considerate and supportive attitudes towards each other and that their teachers respect them and their parents, and their colleagues, and so ensure the creation of positive role models.
While parents and carers have a pre-ordinate responsibility for their children in developing appropriate attitudes towards fellow members of society, too often this responsibility is neglected in contemporary families as adults become more stressed, fractured or pre-occupied with other demands. At the same time, schools are responding increasingly to the external demands of performance outcomes such as compliance criteria and public listing of achievement scores. For many schools it has become a matter of economic survival to present themselves as successful enterprises. Public relations and entrepreneurial sophistication have become the face of schools competing for the parental investment dollar. An emphasis on competition and narrow outward signs of success is not the way to ameliorate the growing trend in society towards selfish individualism.
As schools are required to become more publicly accountable, they should not lose sight of the need for internal scrutiny of how effectively they are maintaining and nurturing their role as social and moral educators. This role, often dubbed as pastoral care, is not solely the job of school chaplain, guidance officer or any other job-specific position. You can not write a mission statement or a set of protocols, or rely on special courses to cover the ongoing, vital ingredient of educational need and responsibility. It is to be found in the day-to-day interaction among members of the school community and the way educators provide for or respond to social and moral issues. Teachers themselves represent a wide spectrum of physical, emotional, social and psychological types. Thus a complex web of influence is at work in any school. It is the task of the school leadership to ensure that the variety of influences does not present a confusion of messages, explicit or implicit, to the students but rather a coherent and consistent set of values largely demonstrated rather than specifically taught. Then, the variety among the staff of the school provides strength and reinforcement rather than dissonance. Valuing the student, supporting positive social and moral behaviour, and providing sound counselling when attitudes fall outside acceptable ways of regarding one another are integral to the way the school operates on a daily basis. Society as a whole, if it is to flourish in a fitting manner, is the beneficiary of such endeavours. In turn, society as a whole must acknowledge this important and demanding facet of the responsible teacher, particularly at a time when teachers’ workloads are constantly expanding to meet new demands.
A National Curriculum, which is being devised, tested and implemented across Australia, is a huge undertaking and is bound to cause some problems for teachers and administrators, as well as create advantages for students. One problem for small schools such as ours is the division of descriptive subjects, such as history and science, into a body of knowledge and skills to be taught to each separate year group. A combined class of say Year 3 and 4 in history is required to study different topics and themes but for practical purposes has to be taught as one class. Originally, we thought that the easiest way to solve this problem would be to alternate the curriculum: teach the year 3 curriculum to both groups in say 2012 and then the year 4 curriculum to both groups in 2013, and repeat the cycle. However, this is not a real solution. For one thing the national curriculum is intended to cover the issue of students transferring between schools so that they receive education in a common set of topics, tasks and skill development. Our challenge has been to accommodate this requirement and still have a coherent curriculum for combined year groups. Our response has been revised so that we will now teach elements of both Year 3 and Year 4 curriculum content each year with different emphases and alternative topics on the same aspect of the course. For example, a study of local identities is required for Year 3 students; in one year we could examine North Hobart, in the next year Battery Point. A similar form of amalgamation with variations will be adopted in the teaching of science.
Other subjects such as mathematics and English do not require making these sorts of compromises as these subjects have a more integrative quality. We tend to teach many aspects of these subjects in such a way that the students meet previously studied concepts and skills at higher levels of understanding as they progress through the school. This approach was advocated by the US educationist, Jerome S. Bruner. He advocated the ‘spiral’ curriculum as offering the reinforcement and extension dimensions so necessary to successful learning.
Other subjects coming on line for revision and adaptation in 2014 will be Geography and the Arts (dance, drama, music and visual art). In 2015 Languages other than English and Health and Physical Education will be introduced. Some schools have responded to the extra demand on time brought about by making History and Geography separate subjects by teaching each for half a year. (These areas of the curriculum have been frequently revised in my time as a teacher – Social Studies became Social Science which then became Studies of Society and the Environment (SOSE).
While sharing some overlaps, these subjects are really distinctive. Previously at this school we incorporated them along with politics as a collection called GPH (Geography, Politics and History). Included in the study was current events, which is an ideal way of demonstrating the interaction of history, geography and politics in the generation of issues and events in a contemporary context. At this stage of curriculum development, there would seem to be a sound argument for reintroducing this subject for secondary students, while maintaining the direction of the National Curriculum in History and Geography.
During the year there have been several staff meetings devoted to curriculum issues. Joslyn Hall and I have also attended several workshops dealing with the adoption and application of the new curricula. Joslyn has taken a lead with staff discussions and various members of staff have accepted responsibility for applying the new curricula to our situation.
The school is strongly committed to the ongoing place of languages in our curriculum. Next year we will introduce Chinese for all age groups. This will be taught alongside French and Indonesian to selected year groups. Languages is thus seen as a core element of the curriculum and addresses the view of Australia as a monolingual country sited at the edge of Asia.
While acknowledging the internet as a valuable resource for teachers who are accommodating the challenges of curriculum change, the internet has to be approached with some caution. There is now an array of teaching resources and activities for any subject. Some of these are excellent, some of doubtful merit. It is easy to press a key and produce an instant lesson but this is no real alternative to the teacher, as a resource and knowledge base, who interprets subject matter and designs effective teaching and learning programs which will enable and challenge students to excel.
Progressive assessment is still the key to effective feedback and valid appraisal of student achievement. Frequent, relevant and reliable testing and other forms of evaluation should encourage and support learners, showing them how and where they may improve the quality of their work but not denigrating their best efforts. Formal exams have their place too, and part of the educational program should help students understand the place of exams and the techniques which enable them to perform well in them. We have exams for Grade 9 at the end of the year and for Grade 10, mid-year and end of year. These exams are intended to enable the students to demonstrate how much they know rather than point out their inadequacies. They can improve their marks overall by doing well in them, a poor exam result does not change their level of achievement. They learn how to select appropriate questions from choice options, techniques for answering multiple choice items, plan answers and allocate time. These skills should help them to face up to the challenges of exams in post-secondary years.
The new curricula do not offer as comprehensive a view of assessment as they do of content and skills (see below). The main criterion is whether the student has reached, gone beyond or achieved less than the standard required. In constructing a learning unit, the outcomes expected are integral to the design process. If the students are informed, and involved in the process of defining and organising the expected outcomes, they have a much better chance of achieving success than if a blanket assessment is imposed by the teacher. Some teachers will use ‘rubrics’ to delineate different levels of competency in achieving stated outcomes. While these frameworks have a useful function, they should not be arbitrarily applied and ideally students should be involved in the process of constructing them. As with lesson plans, to download a rubric from the internet and use it in the assessment of a unit of work could distort the learning process for the sake of a convenient assessment tool.
Moderation of standards has been a feature of professional development this year. We have attended two workshops provided by Independent Schools Tasmania (IST) to enable teachers to work with colleagues from other schools in evaluating samples of student work. While this process was considered to be worthwhile and necessary, it also highlighted certain problems of uniformity in conceptualising and applying standards. The IST will publish the samples with assessment and comments which arose during these shared sessions. Thus there will be examples of moderation in various subject areas generated from meetings in different Tasmanian centres over several sessions. These will provide assistance to individual teachers, as well as staff as a group, to move towards common ground in making assessment decisions.
The reporting process has been modified as a result of the introduction of the National Curriculum. While we have incorporated necessary elements of the rating system, for example to include ‘E’s’ (well below the standard required) we have maintained our report format for primary and secondary classes with minor changes. As noted above, the current method of reporting does not provide a wide view of the spectrum of skills and knowledge within a particular subject. To report a student as having achieved a C in English (performing at the required level) might have some general meaning in terms of overall competency; it does not say much about the range of competencies embedded in this subject. The student may have advanced skills in some areas, less than competent abilities in others. To average these out as a single rating would seem unfair and uninformed. For the time being, we intend to retain the method of defining eight criteria for different areas of the curriculum, with an A – E rating for each criterion. This will produce a final award EA – UA (6 levels of achievement) which may be used to give a final summation (eg: EA/HA = A-B; HA/CA = B-C; CA/SA = C; PA = D; UA = E) while retaining the more detailed description of attainment.
Part of the reasons for retaining the present secondary reporting process is to inform parents, college and TAFE teachers, and employers as well as the students themselves, of the nature of skills and knowledge represented in the assessment process. The primary report form will need to be adapted to give an overall achievement award in line with the stated outcome requirements. This will be added to the present array of ratings for the four listed criteria in all subjects except numeracy and literacy which have additional criteria.
The Review and Development Panel has continued to meet at intervals during the year to make recommendations for future directions and to provide feedback on current practices relevant to the particular aspects of the review and development cycle. A major emphasis for next year will be to focus on professional development and teacher performance. As with the resources available for curriculum and assessment of the National Curriculum, there are well developed and tested programs to support teachers who are engaged in upgrading their professional skills. (eg: The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership - AITSL) These should be of particular relevance for teachers working within a small school community such as ours. Continued engagement with colleagues in other schools and professional organisations would seem to be valuable, if not necessary, in maintaining professional integrity.
Review and Development Committee (ex officio)
Review and Development Report
Areas for specific review for 2012 are Interpersonal Relationships, Camps and Excursions and Teacher Development. Other non-specific areas relevant to the current year are also commented on as well as reference to questionnaires and surveys.
The year commenced with the ongoing commitment to Watarrka Aboriginal School at Kings Canyon (NT). The co-principals opened the school year there before Wilma returned to Hobart a week before the opening of Lambert School here. Neville was to teach the next five weeks in the north. Unfortunately his health required that he be working in a less isolated environment and he returned to Hobart to continue his teaching here on a part-time basis. Another teacher was appointed to take over at Watarrka School. Andrew Maher had been appointed largely to take Neville’s place and he taught Science and Maths to secondary classes daily throughout term 1. Andrew has stayed on as a science and extension maths teacher for the remainder of the year and has indicated he wishes to continue next year. His contribution to the science/maths areas has extended to primary science and he has done much to stimulate interest and enthusiasm in the subjects at all levels. A particular area of achievement has been the success of students in state and national competitions.
Janine Headley took maternity leave for the most part of the year and has returned this term on a reduced load. We anticipate that she will maintain an expanded role in 2013. Drama has had a rather fragmented teaching program this year but has been augmented by numerous visits to live theatre to complement teaching and by workshops from visiting teachers. Both primary drama and music have been well served by the enthusiasm and dedication of Teresa Drozdz who joined the staff during the year. Michael Vuister will leave us at the end of the year. Since 2007, the school has enjoyed the benefits of his many talents, not just as the secondary music teacher, but also in technology and history. He also taught drama when he started with us. We wish him the very best in his new venture. Tai Gardner, an ex-Lambert School student and currently a member of the Board and the Review Panel, as well as assisting with ICT was awarded this week a First Class Honours degree with UTAS for his work in Microbiology. He expects to take up a PhD scholarship next year. Congratulations, Tai.
Implementation of the Australian Curriculum commenced this year in English, Mathematics, History and Science. The main obstacle for small schools with composite classes e.g.7/8, 3/4, is ensuring continuity and coverage for all students. To that end we have planned a cyclic curriculum so that in 2012 year 9/10, for example, follows the year 10 curriculum and in 2013 students will study the grade 9 curriculum. Although not an ideal situation, it does ensure that all topics and concepts are included. For high school maths we will ensure that most topics and concepts are covered each year with special emphasis on the areas specified for each year group according to the National Curriculum. In 2013 we will consolidate the curriculum in those four areas as well as introduce new initiatives in Geography, the Arts and Languages other than English (LOTE). The school coordination of the National Curriculum changes is being led by Joslyn and Neville who have attended three full day workshops coordinated by the Independent Schools Association. Information from these workshops has been presented and discussed at regular teacher meetings at school.
Information Communication Technology is a growing feature of the school’s program both as a resource and as a teaching tool. These initiatives create a need for ongoing teacher development in order to maximize the potential of these resources for teaching purposes. The interactive white board and the new IPads are examples of recent acquisitions that could be used more effectively. The National Curriculum directs teachers to relevant sites for appropriate resources and information and technology strategies (e.g. Scootle).
Excursions are dealt with more fully in a separate section. Suffice to say here that they continue to be integral to the school program. For some areas of the curriculum off campus sites are used to provide necessary facilities. The most obvious examples are in sport for secondary students at Council grounds at West Hobart and the cross roads at the Domain which are used for football, soccer and lacrosse and the Moonah Sports Centre for netball and volleyball. The primary and secondary swimming program is a two week course employing YMCA staff. Swimming, which includes learn to swim, water safety and stroke improvement is an area receiving considerable national publicity at present and is regarded as a priority in many quarters. Science workshops at the CSIRO Science Centre next door were also a valuable adjunct for primary and secondary students allowing a wider access to science equipment and experiences. This facility has now moved to Mt Nelson.
The school continues to participate in the NAPLAN testing program, a serious and necessary monitoring device, but not one that the school allows to become overly dominating in terms of curriculum emphasis (see media reports 26.11.2012). Results are posted on the school’s website. Reporting of student progress is undertaken at least twice a year and parent interview sessions occur for all students informally according to need, and more formally for secondary students midyear. The program of reporting to parents may need to be modified next year when Tasmanian schools adopt a four term year. The reporting format for secondary students has been modified to meet the criteria of the National Curriculum in the relevant subject areas. This will be an ongoing refinement as new curriculum areas are added.
Another change foreshadowed for 2013 will be a more systematic monitoring of teacher performance with additional requirements for professional development and identifying areas which need to be upgraded to meet new and developing criteria.
The school routine has settled in well to the new facilities provided under the BER. We are well equipped for rooms and resources for teaching purposes. The playground provides for a variety of activities for both PE and recreational play. The extension to the school building did not materially affect the outdoor area.
The physical welfare of students is a serious and continuing responsibility. We have had no incidents involving outsiders intruding on the school premises despite the proximity of the school to the street. Primary and infant students are closely supervised as they leave in the afternoon and although traffic in the street is not too frequent or fast we are ever mindful of the potential danger. A more serious concern is that of secondary students crossing Warwick Street near the church as the hill obscures the view of traffic. Students are reminded to be careful crossing that street and are frequently monitored after school. Evacuation procedures are undertaken regularly and potential problems of egress noted. The school building, outdoor resources, storage facilities, plumbing and electrical appliances are regularly checked and reported on to fulfil requirements for Form 56. School security is excellent. There have been no break-ins for several years and the night patrols and alarm systems are working effectively.
The school has been allocated a grant of $35000 for the installation of solar panels. Unfortunately the work has not progressed although we have been given an assurance that it will be undertaken. There may be some problem with access to the roof area but this problem should not be insurmountable.
Camps and Excursions
Because of our NT commitment, some camps last year were modified or curtailed. We have been able to return to a normal program of camps this year: Maria Island for all but the younger infants, Mt. Field for the years 7 and 8, Gumleaves for the primaries and infants and Freycinet Peninsula for year 10 as their final recreational get together. Each of these camps has provided a highlight for the students and teachers as stimulating and enjoyable social and educational experiences. The catering for camps requires planning and commitment but pays dividends in the enjoyment which results for sharing healthy, well prepared food. The range of experiences resulting from the school camps provides students with a basis for enjoying similar camps with families and friends in the future. The logistical organization, especially for Maria Island, is always a challenge and we report that the students are always ready and willing to help with loading and unloading. Parents are very supportive of the camps and much of their success is due to parent support. One issue raised by the Review Panel concerned the presence of a female teacher on camps. The grade 7/8 Mt Field camp was attended by three girls but there was no female teacher available. In future, camps will either include a female teacher if girls are attending or the permission slip will include approval from girls’ parents that supervision is approved.
The school trip to Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne provided some twenty students with an intensive and stimulating program which encompassed the arts, science, history and government as well as social and culinary experiences. Despite the time and effort in organizing and accompanying the students, staff continue to be committed to the engagement of students with the wider world. To this end a second trip to China is being planned for 2013. Following the success of the 2008 trip we can confidently expect a most rewarding visit next year.
Once again the school has provided a wide range of day excursions for students. Infants have enjoyed visits to the local park in Burnett Street as well as more extended autumn visits to the Botanical Gardens which included a most interesting information session from Gardens staff. The younger children have also attended a TSO concert with primary students and the wildlife center at Bonorong Park where one or two of them had decided that they had become nocturnal! Primary students have made visits to the Science Centre next door for science workshops and they were enthusiastic participants of the recent breakfast visit to the Springs to observe the solar eclipse. The careers expo at Princes Wharf provided practical hands on experience for senior students to sample the workplace and consider more carefully their options for the future.
Secondary students have engaged in several excursions for science largely organized by Andrew. These followed an interesting visit to the astronomy facility at Cambridge last year. This year science excursions included two marine studies excursions, one to the foreshore at Tranmere and a day-long visit to the marine studies centre at Woodbridge. Secondary students have also attended the Science Centre workshops as well as engaging in the eclipse excursion. Once again we were thwarted in attempting astronomical observations on Maria Island because of unfavorable cloud cover. The Science and Engineering Challenge at the University was a highlight in term 2 enabling students to get involved with challenging tasks as well as observing the team work and achievements of other school groups. Andrew’s experience and skill in organizing these experiences as well as his encouragement to students to enter national competitions in Maths and Science is warmly acknowledged here.
The arts have not been neglected. Secondary students have attended three TSO rehearsals and performances and have had the opportunity to listen to and ask questions of soloists. Drama students were prepared for the Gardens production of Twelfth Night which we unfortunately were unable to attend due to inclement weather. Two theatre visits were Bell Shakespeare’s School for Wives (Sheridan) and the performing group presentation of Circa. The interstate student group attended Terrain, an outstanding performance by Bangara, the national aboriginal dance group. The director of the UTAS theatre group PLoT is preparing students for our final theatrical experience of the year, Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. A member of NIDA visited the school for a two day workshop this term with secondary students on elements of theatre. She was delighted with the experience and has asked to return next year. Visits to the theatre for stage productions and to the TSO concert hall are not merely adjuncts to the arts program, but are essential learnings for a rounded education. We feel particularly privileged to be a part of the TSO educational program and cannot understand why more schools do not participate.
Quality relationships are integral to the success of any organization and are highly valued in our small school. This is the reason for it to be a designated area for review every three years. Positive relationships among the three parties: educators, students and parents as well as between members of the local community and the school are vitally important to us.
Differences between parents and members of staff are usually resolved in a mutually respectful and satisfying informal meeting. Openness is always encouraged and we do not shrink from facing problems that impinge on the educational and social aspirations of the school. There is provision for successive stages of conflict resolution if required. These steps are outlined in the school’s Grievance Policy.
This school makes some places available to students who have been unhappy or unsuccessful at other schools. These students often require extra care and counselling to compensate for and to remediate learning, social and emotional problems encountered before becoming members of our school. While they are given care, consideration and advice enabling them to become happier and more successful, these students must not be allowed to absorb too much time and effort at the expense of other students’ needs. It is necessary to monitor the resources devoted to this important work and while we are doing this informally, it would be appropriate to make a more objective and accurate assessment using a sampling technique in the future. While all contribute a positive and active commitment to this work, the co-principals take a more central role in student welfare.
Interaction between students is generally supportive and positive. Instances of negative reactions or attitudes are usually apparent in early stages and can be responded to before escalating. According to surveys, most students feel comfortable and well accepted by others (see survey results from term 1, Items 1, 4, 7, 10, 12, 18 and 24). We have had no reports of cyber bullying and class room and playground interactions are carefully monitored and reveal little if any antagonism. Most differences are simple matters of impatience or perceived unfairness and can be quickly settled by the supervising teacher if negativity persists. Sociability, supportiveness and fair play are positively reinforced and behaviours which indicate negativity are not allowed to persist. Potential students on school visits are paired with peers who understand the importance of making others welcome. A feature of the school is interaction across age groups so that for example younger primary age children feel equally valued playing cricket or four square with junior secondaries. Boys and girls interact well socially and in their classroom activities. Imbalance between the sexes seems a feature of small schools but provides no serious obstacle to the minority groups. This year there is one girl to seven boys in year ten. She suffered no feelings of isolation, nor did that one boy to seven girls in year 10 a few years ago. Balance between girls and boys is even in the primary school.
Perception of the school by local residents and businesses as well as others with frequent contact with the school have been surveyed this year and reported on elsewhere. It would seem that members of the public have a positive and complimentary attitude towards the image the school projects.
Ongoing professional development is a means of revitalizing and validating experience. Currently the two main areas requiring upgrading of knowledge and skills are in implementing the Australian National Curriculum and the application of Information Communication Technology (ICT) to all teaching areas. In addition, the maintaining of awareness and responsiveness to health and safety issues are ongoing requirements. Teachers also need to be aware of and responsive to social and cultural changes which seem to be ever expanding. These create additional pressures on teachers and they need support and encouragement to manage increasing demands on their time and energy.
Regular interschool meetings on curriculum changes have been attended by Neville and Joslyn and follow up sessions conducted at school. Content, methodology, assessment and reporting matters will continue to require professional development as new curriculum areas are introduced.
Our LOTE teachers are involved in an ongoing professional development. Caroline (French) is strongly engaged in organizing and participating in state wide conferences, southern region Alliance Francais, in moderating standards and as an examiner of pre-tertiary students in French.
Joslyn (Indonesian) is returning to Lombok to further her Indonesian studies in the summer vacation. She and Neville attended a two day weekend conference for English teachers during term2.
Stephen, the administration officer of the school, has been allocated a partial role in coordinating (ICT) resources and their applications, as well as Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) developments and requirements. He has been in close communication with the Independent Schools ICT consultant in the procuring and applications of resources. Stephen is then able to communicate these matters with other members of staff. There is a need for more focused teacher development in ICT next year.
In the area of WHS, Stephen has attended a statewide two day workshop and two officer information sessions and has completed requirements for certification in WHS. He is well qualified to report to staff in these matters, monitor ongoing issues, maintain procedures for safe evacuation and form 56 (Building Maintenance). Two other members of staff as well as Stephen are qualified in first aid. Although Tasmania is the only state not to have an ID card identifying adults qualified to work with children, three of our staff hold a similar card issued by the NT government (Ochre Card). As a result in initiatives in WHS areas, we anticipate that there will be an increase in staff development sessions in this area next year.
The government has signalled that teacher performance enhancement becomes a mandated requirement for all schools next year. To this end, criteria will be developed to describe and evaluate aspects of teaching to enable all teachers to scrutinize their own performance and assist in peer assessment of their colleagues. We look forward to becoming involved in this initiative which should result in tangible benefits for the school. This initiative is part of the National School Improvement Framework (NSIF). Next year the Review and Development report will focus on Curriculum , Standards and Reporting.
Neville and Wilma Lambert Co-Principals 30th Nov. 2012