The ingredients for a successful school

It has been another fantastic week at the Pre-Prep.  I am getting closer and closer to knowing every boys’ name and thank you for your patience as I know how important names are to our identity.

I spoke at the Parents Association welcome meeting this morning about my vision for the school.  It is always a hard question to answer after barely seeing beyond the surface in a few weeks.  As I said in the Spring when I visited, my main goal is only to enhance what Mr Forbes and his team have already brought to this amazing community.

I spoke about what I believe are the two key ingredients for a successful school for any student; academic rigour and emotional wellbeing.  When these two areas are done well, we will be giving our boys access to every opportunity they have in front of them at the end of Year 2.  That opportunity varies from family to family and boy to boy, and it is my job to provide a learning environment that prepares them for a successful future.

So what does that actually mean? I am passionate about teacher quality as again and again, research has shown that the biggest impact on a child’s learning is the ability of the teacher working with him. I will continue to build the capacity of our already strong teaching team by using researched-based teaching practices and tools.  Teachers will be working hard behind the scenes to collaborate so that every staff member working with your son knows his strengths and areas of need.

This is already a strength at the Falcons Pre-Prep and I will continue with this momentum.   If you are interested in the research, John Hattie is an expert in the field of education and has created a ranking, that is used widely in the profession, of the key factors that influence a student’s learning.

In addition to ensuring quality teaching, I will be continuing the push for a school that is designed specifically for boys.  This includes providing them with an environment where it is ok to ask questions, fail at a task, or ask for help.  I have seen in the past week how many boys run through the school gate in the morning and reluctantly leave again in the afternoon.  That is the type of school I envision for the future, where boys are happy and their wellbeing is an intentional part all teachers’ planning.

Finally, my vision for the school is to grow.  We are an amazing cohort of boys and we still have room to welcome more in the coming years.  This means that we will still have small class sizes but we will have a larger population for the boys to socialise with, collaborate with in their learning, and participate with in sports.

I look forward to continuing the conversation with each of you about my vision for the school as my time here continues.  If I were to ask any boy in June, what does Ms McLaughlin believe in, I hope each boy will say that she wants us to be happy and she makes sure that we are always learning.

Liz McLaughlin BSc, MEd – Head