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CEO | Principal's Report

Haileybury was delighted that Grattan Institute Education Program Director Dr Jordana Hunter spoke to Haileybury's teachers on the first day of Term 2. Dr Hunter’s presentation reinforced many of the structures and operating practices that have seen Haileybury students succeed but also gave teachers and leadership some thoughtful, evidenced-based provocations for us to consider in our ongoing improvement plan.

The Grattan Institute is an independent public research organisation and produces some outstanding reports across a range of sectors. Dr Hunter was also a member of the Federal Government’s expert panel who conducted an extensive review into education across Australia. The report Improving Outcomes for All is informing the next National School Reform Agreement between the Federal Government and the states and territories.

Two key takeouts from Dr Hunter’s presentation that Haileybury focuses strongly on are that 1) academic achievement and wellbeing are mutually reinforcing (but schools should not be left with the primary responsibility for young people’s mental health) and 2) classroom behaviour is a problem in Australia (the country ranks 69 out of 76 OECD countries for disciplinary climate) and that clear, school-wide expectations, routines and sequences make a difference.

I won’t go into the granular detail of Dr Hunter’s findings about curriculum development and teaching pedagogy (rest assured our team has) but list for you the eight common features that Dr Hunter’s research has found of high excellence, high equity schools.

  1. A focus on academic excellence, noting the positive relationship between learning and wellbeing.
  2. Effective leadership with the skill and goodwill needed to steer a school to success.
  3. A culture of high expectations for staff and students.
  4. Consistent, shared routines that maintain safe and orderly learning environments.
  5. A precise, whole-of-school approach to teaching and learning supported by knowledge building curriculum and high-quality assessment.
  6. A ‘response-to-intervention’ model that tracks learning progress and provides intensive ‘Tier 2’ supports, including small group instruction, to help struggling students catch up.
  7. A well-embedded model of professional learning, with frequent observations and instruction coaching.
  8. A rich school life with diverse opportunities that engage students and families outside the classroom.

This list represented a good focus for subsequent discussion amongst school leadership and staff.

On the last point, a rich school life with diverse opportunities, I am very excited about the term ahead which is full of student opportunities. First team sports had a great first winter outing on Saturday and next week well over 3,000 students will be representing Haileybury in sport. The Addams Family: A New Musical starts on 26 April 2024 and there are a number of music concerts during the term across all campuses. The Year 9 students have a busy term with 31 options and expeditions going out. The Year 9 students will also be commencing the process of looking at the choices and opportunities in front of them as they work through the VCE in Years 10–12.

Derek Scott
CEO | Principal