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 2012. 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 37. 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.
The following are a list of ‘extra’ things we do which add value to the education that your children receive. In 2010 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
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