Choosing a school for your child is one of the most important and formidable decisions a family makes because the choice they make sends ripples out into your child’s future. No one wants their child to have a second class education!
What makes a school good or even great?
Research from the NSW Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation (CESE) shows that there are general criteria for good schools. These are:
- high expectations
- explicit teaching
- effective feedback
- use of data to inform practice
- classroom management
What we know is that great schools are about more than just test results.
A successful school fosters broader dimensions of learning critical to students’ overall success. These include social and emotional development, creativity and innovation, positive attitudes to learning, and citizenship.
School success depends on context – geography, community aspirations, employment and further education options. What works for one group of students and teachers might not work for another. Teachers themselves may vary in their effectiveness depending on the students they teach. St Columba is embedded in its community and understands its community’s aspirations.
At the risk of appearing arrogant and “flying too close to the sun”, here are the Top 10 advantages we believe are offered to students and families by a St Columba education:
- Excellence, Effectiveness and Enterprise → These are the foundations of our strategic development. We do not believe that being a good school is good enough, we aim for excellence. We are always looking for opportunities to grow and improve our educational model when they arise.
- Love of learning → St Columba loves learning and we teach our students how to learn, so that they can become lifelong learners, who are able to meet the challenges of a rapidly evolving future. This translates into exceptional academic results.
- Teaching → We choose our teachers carefully and support them in their pursuit of teaching excellence. Our reputation means that when we advertise for staff we get interest from the very best practitioners in the country. Our teachers are truly our greatest resource.
- Independence → As an independent school we are able to respond with agility when changes are needed or circumstances alter. Our responses to the bushfire crisis and COVID pandemic are proof of this. We thrive on being a school that not only focuses on this year’s results but on how we can address the future and develop the skills and knowledge that are the basis for our students’ future success.
- Structure → We believe that as the world changes, school must change. St Columba’s learning model is based on developing the skills that have been identified as “future-proofing” (Deeper Learning and the 6Cs) our students, and our teaching and learning structure supports the breaking down of outmoded ways of thinking about learning.
- Holistic education → Working with our parents, we aim to build character and create opportunities for success. We offer a holistic education that allows our students to achieve great outcomes and we have a proven track record of boosting student enrolment and success beyond Secondary school.
- Our school does not define itself simply through our great academic results →We put great effort into ensuring that our students have access to a full range of activities, challenges and areas of success, including a great performing arts tradition, a growing profile as a sporting school and strong community leadership and service focus.
- We know what works and we use educational data effectively → What we do is too important for us to base our strategies on hope and nothing else. At St Columba we use educational data to determine what our students need and then plan to meet those needs.
- Partnerships →Our primary partnership is with our school families. We only exist because we are seen to meet the aspirations of the families who entrust their children’s education to us. Beyond that partnership, we work with other successful schools, educators (e.g. Charles Sturt University) and industries to enhance our teaching and learning. We learn from the best so that we can be the best!
- Resources → We not only offer a safe place to learn and grow, we have an appealing and well-resourced campus that allows for access to our world of opportunities .
Mr Terry Muldoon
Principal, St Columba Anglican School