10 Sep 2021
The Future of Education Strategy outlines the plan for education in the ACT for the next decade. It is based on what the ACT Government has heard through a conversation with the ACT community and an analysis of issues by a range of experts. The Strategy is based on four foundations and four principles for implementation that form a 'roadmap' for the future.
At Evelyn Scott School, the Future of Education Strategy has informed our whole school vision of co-creating a contemporary and connected school with our community. We have aligned our approaches to learning and wellbeing to the Future of Education Strategy and we revisit it regularly to review and refine our practices. Additionally, the Future of Education Strategy is embedded into the way in which the Leadership Team have formulated our two Strategic Priorities for the school.
- Build learners’ capacity to solve problems, be critical and creative thinkers, and self-directed learners
- Develop learners’ belonging and connection to the school
(Evelyn Scott School's Strategic Priorities)
The Four Foundations of the Future of Education Strategy
- Students at the Centre
“The soft skills of yesterday have now become the hard skills of today”
- At Evelyn Scott School, we have commenced delivery of a Future Focused Learning Continuum that begins with play-based learning in the preschool, inquiry-based learning in the primary school, and eventually, project-based learning in the high school.
- The modern building represents a paradigm shift where students are at the centre of their learning. It is purpose-built for Future Focused Learning. This means that all learning is driven by inquiry. Future Focused Learning is a highly sophisticated and structured model of education. We have high expectations of all our learners and a strong focus on academic rigour.
- We understand that literacy and numeracy are the gateway to a much broader range of skills and capabilities that students need to become active, responsible and engaged. (OECD, The Future of Education and Skills, 2018). We want to prepare our learners to be global citizens and this is why we have based our learning approach around the development of future skills and Fluencies, including the capacity to solve problems, be critical and creative, communicate and collaborate.
- We value cross-sector collaboration and routinely arrange opportunities for our preschool teachers to work with our primary school teachers. Teachers at Evelyn Scott School understand that it is necessary to collaborate across preschool, primary school and, eventually, high school. Our Transitions and Play-based Learning Coordinator (Jo Stratton) is commencing work this year on influencing our staff to infuse our primary school with play-based learning models. Our high school commences operation in 2023 and this represents a responsibility for us to construct successful transition pathways for our learners as they move through all three sectors at our school.
- Since February 2021, we have already observed growth in our learners’ capacity to think independently. They have been using the Fluencies in class to learn how to solve problems and how to collaborate effectively. We have wholeheartedly embraced the Inquiry Cycle (pictured below). All classes across the school are exploring the same Global Concepts so that we work together as one connected school. We have started with Belonging, then moved to Community, Environmental Stewardship, Global Citizenship and we will finish the year with Identity. These units have allowed for personalised learning as each learner engages with their interests, fascinations and curiosities. Each class works with their teacher to co-construct their essential question. At the end of our units of inquiry, we celebrate our learning with families and the community by conducting Showcases where learners describe their progress, skill development and talk about the work that they have produced. This contemporary and engaging cycle of learning caters to the needs of each learner.
(Students are at the centre of all that we do at Evelyn Scott School – Zain in Kindy)
2. Empowered Learning Professionals
“None of us is as smart as all of us”
- Teachers are expert professionals highly skilled at working with students to lead them through their learning journey. At Evelyn Scott School, we work within a high-quality education system and develop partnerships with a range of other professionals and support staff so that we can meet student needs and create a connected and contemporary school community.
- Evelyn Scott School staff collaborate with EDU colleagues and have built productive relationships with multidisciplinary staff so that we can provide the best possible outcomes for all students. Through Wabisabi Learning, staff have premium access to high quality professional learning and local, national and international networks so that we always remain connected to best practice learning approaches. It is the art and skill of the teacher to utilise the Australian Curriculum to design and deliver engaging and future focused learning programs for students. At Evelyn Scott School, we refer closely to the AITSL National Standards to reflect upon our practice and develop professionally challenging goals.
- The Leadership Team has made a deliberate investment in best-fit teachers; teachers who are proficient and able to build their capacity in contemporary pedagogies. We have recruited two highly experienced Learning Coaches (Jude Fell and Ali Inskeep) who deliver differentiated training to staff and co-construct a positive and professional culture of reflection.
- Our Future Focused Learning Coordinator (Nat Otten) mentors staff members to develop their classroom practices. Together, we work towards a shared vision of strengthening Future Focused Learning principles and provide engaging and student-centred units of inquiry. We utilise an online digital platform, Wabisabi Zen, to ensure that we remain connected with families and celebrate learners’ growth and progress.
(Evelyn Scott School Team, O Week – Professional Learning 2021)
(Evelyn Scott School Leadership Team)
3. Strong Communities for Learning
“One family at a time”
- Our brand new school status has privileged us with the capacity to co design our school with our community. We are a new school in the heart of a new suburb and we have included our community in the decision making process. Our school name, uniform and logo have been chosen by our community prior to our Foundation Year in 2021. Our Evelyn Scott School Community Coordinator (Tessa Wood) enthusiastically seeks and organises appropriate community activities for us to enjoy and we recognise the importance of building a positive community culture in our Foundation Year.
- Our Leadership Team invested time during the project planning phase to meet with all of our enrolled families. These family meetings allowed a valuable opportunity to build quality family relationships and explain our future focused learning model, recognising that families are the experts of their own children. We strive to enrol the family too and want parents and carers to be active participants in school life, involved in the learning of their children. We consistently encourage open and honest communication. We publish comprehensive and interactive monthly newsletters, organise vibrant showcases for families and prefer targeted communication over social media platforms. Our website is our source of truth and we frequently email important notices home to families as required.
- Schools are key community hubs providing more than access to learning. Evelyn Scott School has built strong partnerships with community agencies like Woden Community Services who runs our Out of School Hours Care Program. We work closely together to ensure consistency of programming and messaging in order to provide a high-quality service for our learners. We want to share our state-of-the-art facilities with our community and have commenced work with community hirers including local Roller Derby groups and ACT Basketball.
- Our school has been honoured with a wonderful namesake; Dr Evelyn Scott. As the first school in Canberra to be named after an Aboriginal woman, we have an important responsibility to ensure that we maintain cultural integrity as a central tenant of all that we do. This is, was, and always will be Aboriginal land. We are also very lucky to have a diverse community with many different cultures represented. As we work, live and play on Ngunnawal land, our First Nations people will always be at the centre of all that we do and we will also respect, acknowledge and celebrate our vibrant and varied community’s cultures. Our Cultural Integrity Coordinator (Tanya Harley) works within this paradigm and collaborates with staff, community and learners to organise activities to enhance cultural understanding. One of Dr Evelyn Scott’s daughters, Charmaene Scott, is a member of the School Board. We recognise the significant contributions Dr Evelyn Scott made towards First Nations culture and, in particular, reconciliation and we create opportunities to continue to learn more about her life and her work.
(Harmony Day at Evelyn Scott School, 2021)
(Dr Evelyn Scott, with permission)
(Photos of our families displayed in our Community Room)
4. Systems Supporting Learning
“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; growing together is success.”
- As Canberra’s 89th public school, Evelyn Scott School is committed to establishing and maintaining one connected P-10 school with a positive foundation culture. We have designed a collaborative governance structure and set up an inclusive School Board to support the strategic management of the school.
- We strive to “pursue educational equity” for all of our learners by embedding efficient and robust school-based systems, including:
- A whole-school Data Plan
- A clear focus on Formative Reporting and Assessment
- A Conceptual Framework which outlines the units of inquiry for the entire school
- A Pedagogical Framework which includes explicit guidelines about our learning model and philosophy
- A commitment to responsibly resourcing and financially managing a contemporary school
- We have designed and delivered a safe and supportive learning environment for all learners. Our Wellbeing Framework is attained through clearly defined systems and processes. Our consistent approach to promoting high expectations of behaviour is through the use of the Positive Behaviours for Learning (PBL) model and our school values of Safe, Respectful Learners. Our PBL Coordinator (Ross Dennis) works with staff and the Leadership Team to review and refine our PBL approach at Evelyn Scott School.
- Our Wellbeing Coach (Beth Matters) provides high level expert, timely and quality advice to the teaching team at Evelyn Scott School on a range of issues related to student wellbeing, including trauma, complex and challenging behaviours, gifted and talented and disability. This is a new and innovative addition to the Leadership Team at Evelyn Scott School.
- As one of Canberra’s newest schools, we are connected and have developed productive relationships with our colleagues across the ACT Education Directorate:
- The ongoing building and construction process at Evelyn Scott School has required a unique focus on the physical layout of contemporary learning spaces. Teachers continue to consider the latest research as they work on utilising these modern classrooms. The Leadership Team support them to explore pedagogies that favour team teaching and best ways to use open plan rooms. Our Executive Team have worked with Joss Construction Company, Hayball Architects and EDU Infrastructure and Capital Works (ICW) to finalise the designs.
- As Canberra’s population continues to grow, new schools will be built. Evelyn Scott School recognises the part that we play in collaborating with the broader system and we have enjoyed working with colleague Foundation Principals and Leadership Teams of new schools. This process has been a great example of “the right mix of school led innovation and external assistance and accountability, which has resulted in quality teaching and learning for every student” (ACT Future of Education Strategy).
(Jackie with the Director General of ACT Education, Katy Haire)
(Our School Values)
The Four Principles of the Future of Education Strategy
Equity – At Evelyn Scott School, “student achievement sets aside economic, social and cultural barriers” (ACT Future of Education Strategy). We need to remember that some learners will progress through the stages at different rates and some learners will require more scaffolding and support than others. All learners have the opportunity to succeed in a contemporary educational setting. We meet all learners where they are and prepare them to take their place in an ever-changing world. All learners have the capacity to solve problems using creative approaches incorporating the Six Fluencies and inquiry-based learning. Throughout these processes, all learners are encouraged to remain curious, connected and creative.
Student Agency – At Evelyn Scott School, “students make decisions about their learning and how their learning environments operate” (ACT Future Education of Strategy). Our contemporary educational approach actively promotes the development of future skills, including self-directed learning. Teachers are no longer the agents of learning; instead learners have agency over their own learning journeys. Teachers co-construct essential questions with their classes and learners have voice and choice in the classroom. Learner Agency means that learners are genuinely in control of their learning.
Access – At Evelyn Scott School, “supports for learning and wellbeing are available and provided to all students” (ACT Future of Education Strategy). Education is a human right and is the professional obligation of all teachers to ensure that each learner has access to their learning. We have recruited highly experienced Learning and Wellbeing Coaches to support teachers with this endeavour. Wellbeing is as important as academic pursuits and all staff recognise that it is important to ‘make space for learning’ by ensuring that the wellbeing needs of all students are met.
Inclusion – At Evelyn Scott School, “diversity is embraced, all students are accommodated and a universal sense of belonging fostered” (ACT Future of Education Strategy). We have established a positive inclusive culture in our school’s foundation year. Lesson tasks and activities are crafted to provide the correct amount of scaffolding, support and challenge for all learners. Difference is celebrated and all learners and families are welcomed and valued. We are very lucky to have a beautifully diverse community and all cultures are valued. Learners explicitly learn about what it means to be a global citizen. All learners belong to their school.