People who have not visited our campus for some time often comment on how things have changed since they were last here, particularly our ex-students.
At St Columba we believe both improvement and change are necessary so that we are able to offer our students an engaging, relevant and excellent education. We believe that they are often two faces of the same vision.
Change is doing something different.
Change is about revolution.
Change is about new strategies.
Change focuses on the “big stuff”.
Improvement is about getting better at doing the same thing.
Improvement is about evolution.
Improvement is gradual.
improvement focuses on improving existing strategy.
An ongoing improvement focus helps educators structure change based on the growth that they want to see. It allows us to plan, identify, track and monitor the evidence about, and for, learning to make improvement and impact more intentional.
Change is important but improvement is our priority.
We offer a wide range of experiences to augment and enhance our teaching and learning but it is education that is our core business and we continually look for ways of doing what we do even better.
Sometimes this drive to do better can be complicated, uncomfortable for some, and can lead to fear and resistance.
Sometimes people can feel left behind. It is not unusual to see statements like this about schools that have dared to improve or change their operations: “A spokeswoman said the school has introduced several initiatives to modernise its operations and leadership in the past two years, and acknowledged that the changes – on top of challenges such as COVID-19 – have been unsettling for some staff and parents.”
Embracing a coherent improvement plan often challenges longstanding norms some teachers hold about autonomy in the classroom and can be seen as imposing new, and sometimes unwelcome, standards of professional development and innovative practice.
Other teachers address the need to change with vigour and professional enthusiasm: “If I could change something about our schools, it would be how we teach everything as individual subjects. Real life doesn’t happen in boxes; it’s Maths, reading, history, science, and emotion all thrown together in a beautiful, chaotic mess. Many students don’t realise the crossover between subjects, and this makes it harder for them to see how important it all is.”
At a school like ours we have to balance keeping what we need to hold on to from our past and what we need to change or leave behind as we move forward. This can be complicated.
We know that an emphasis on ensuring all students get a strong foundation in literacy and numeracy is imperative – that will not get lost or be ignored in any changes.
We know the world of our graduating students will be very different to the world their parents graduated into and we have to prepare them for this new world.
We know there are a lot of bright shiny educational trends and political manoeuvres in education that take up a lot of attention, time and space without making any real difference.
We will avoid these where possible. We will find the ideas and innovations that have worked elsewhere and adapt them, if possible, to our students‘ advantage.
“The function of education is to teach one to think critically. Intelligence plus character- that is the true goal of education. M.J. King Jnr
We welcome our staff, students, families and communities on our journey towards educational excellence, student engagement and the potential of bright futures.
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