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From success to sustainability in Australian schools

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Abstract:

The Australian research team revisited two principals who were part of the original project on successful school principalship. The principals were from a primary school of 500 students (aged 5 to 12) on the metropolitan fringe of Melbourne and a specialist school of 150 physically and intellectually disabled students aged between 3 and 18. Returning to the schools in 2008, we conducted an in-depth, multiple perspective, observational case studies to explore the sustainability of school success. At the primary school academic performance remained stable over this time; student, staff and parent opinion has improved; the school continued to develop outstanding student engagement programs (e.g. values-based education); the reputation within the community remained high; and staff had developed excellent skills as evidenced by many staff gaining promotion to other schools. The continuity of success was reflected in the principal's leadership, especially her capacity to develop staff and to promote harmonious relationships amongst all members of the school community. In re-visiting the school, and incorporating observations as well as extensive interviews, it is now clear that the success of the school can be attributed to excellent leadership more broadly conceived. The Specialist School had also continued to improve its performance. It had gone from strength to strength. Results could not be quantified in the same way as they can in a mainstream school but there had been a definite shift in the ‘emotional’ culture of the school, and a challenge to educate these children rather than the previous emphasis on predominantly ‘caring’ for them. For this purpose a new curriculum based on the performing arts, Visual and Performing Arts Curriculum (VPAC), had been developed and introduced into the school. The introduction of this approach to teaching, the construction of units of work, the emphasis on professional learning and professional dialogue, clear behaviours and expectations and more rigorous reporting had resulted in significant changes in staffing. Again much of the success could be attributed to the principal, her energy, and her vision. In this paper we explore the behaviours and strategies that have led to the sustainability of success in these schools.
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Name: UCEA Annual Convention
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http://www.ucea.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p377251_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Gurr, David., Drysdale, Lawrie. and Goode, Helen. "From success to sustainability in Australian schools" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the UCEA Annual Convention, Anaheim Marriott, Anaheim, California, <Not Available>. 2014-11-28 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p377251_index.html>

APA Citation:

Gurr, D. , Drysdale, L. and Goode, H. "From success to sustainability in Australian schools" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the UCEA Annual Convention, Anaheim Marriott, Anaheim, California <Not Available>. 2014-11-28 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p377251_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: The Australian research team revisited two principals who were part of the original project on successful school principalship. The principals were from a primary school of 500 students (aged 5 to 12) on the metropolitan fringe of Melbourne and a specialist school of 150 physically and intellectually disabled students aged between 3 and 18. Returning to the schools in 2008, we conducted an in-depth, multiple perspective, observational case studies to explore the sustainability of school success. At the primary school academic performance remained stable over this time; student, staff and parent opinion has improved; the school continued to develop outstanding student engagement programs (e.g. values-based education); the reputation within the community remained high; and staff had developed excellent skills as evidenced by many staff gaining promotion to other schools. The continuity of success was reflected in the principal's leadership, especially her capacity to develop staff and to promote harmonious relationships amongst all members of the school community. In re-visiting the school, and incorporating observations as well as extensive interviews, it is now clear that the success of the school can be attributed to excellent leadership more broadly conceived. The Specialist School had also continued to improve its performance. It had gone from strength to strength. Results could not be quantified in the same way as they can in a mainstream school but there had been a definite shift in the ‘emotional’ culture of the school, and a challenge to educate these children rather than the previous emphasis on predominantly ‘caring’ for them. For this purpose a new curriculum based on the performing arts, Visual and Performing Arts Curriculum (VPAC), had been developed and introduced into the school. The introduction of this approach to teaching, the construction of units of work, the emphasis on professional learning and professional dialogue, clear behaviours and expectations and more rigorous reporting had resulted in significant changes in staffing. Again much of the success could be attributed to the principal, her energy, and her vision. In this paper we explore the behaviours and strategies that have led to the sustainability of success in these schools.


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