Whilst attending the principal conference at Geelong this week my assistant principal and I visited Bellaire Primary School in Geelong. The picture is from the senior unit which has been remodelled so that no teacher teaches in isolation. The unit has 5 teachers for 120 students. There were several unique features which impressed us:
- students have individual timetables where they book into specific literacy and numeracy workshops during the week as well an independent sessions e.g writing. They have trust licences which if broken mean they work next to a teacher for a week. All students have individual blogs to update learning goals, timetables, homework requirements, read newsletters and publish work.
- home group teachers schedule individual student conferences each week for up to 15 minutes to look at their improvement goals.
- home group time is at the start and end of weeks with students signing in daily attendance. During home group time they look at homework tasks and attend weekly assemblies which are on Friday afternoons.
- The teachers office is a hive of ideas.
They have a coaching model for building teacher’s instructional capacity. The model is based on the work of Dr Neil Suggett from the UK and several teachers have travelled over to the UK for courses. They also use Dr John Ingram’s work on digital intelligence and how this can be developed through collaborative learning, peer tutoring, personalising learning linked to target setting. Dr Ingram won a UK award for innovation and best practice.
So whats the result of all this work: significant increase in student morale, motivation, learning confidence and school connectedness. All of which leads to improved student learning outcomes.
There is a strong parrellel with Elsternwick Primary both in like communities and student needs. Well done to the teachers and students and we aim to set up a visit for some of our teachers in the second semester this year.