From the Principal

Gonski 2.0 and St Mary's College - Where do we sit?


The release of what has become known as Gonski 2.0 or the Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian schools has attracted a great deal of attention in recent days. This review was set up by the Commonwealth Government in July 2017 to provide advice about how to improve student achievement and school performance. The recommendations have been received with great acclaim in some quarters and with scepticism and concern in others. The challenge is to try to identify who to listen to and how to begin to decode this document.

As a starting point, the review identifies the need for all students to receive a world-class education, tailored to individual learning needs, and relevant to a fast-changing world. The review also identifies the need for all students to be challenged and supported to progress and excel in learning in every year of school, appropriate to each student's starting point and capabilities. It is hard to disagree with either of these propositions or to counter them with contrary arguments.

Schooling should enrich students' lives and leave them inspired to pursue new ideas and set ambitious goals throughout life. The aim of course, is to have every student emerge from school as a creative, connected, and engaged learner with a growth mindset that can help to improve their educational achievement over time. They should also gain the right mix of knowledge, skills, and understanding for a world experiencing significant economic, social and technological change.

St Mary’s College has been working to provide all students with opportunities to develop growth mindsets and to support girls to become creative, connected and engaged learners. In the junior school we have introduced the IB Middle Years program that has, at its foundation, a commitment to developing active learners who are internationally minded and who can empathise with others and pursue lives of purpose and meaning.

At St Mary’s College, we strive to empower students to inquire into a wide range of issues and ideas of significance locally, nationally and globally. Our goal is to educate young people who are creative, critical and reflective thinkers. In this way we ensure that all students have the opportunity to be partners in their own learning.

In our senior programs we strive to provide our young women with opportunities to further develop their skills and capacities in areas such as collaboration, research, critical thinking and problem solving, while working on real life problems and issues. In this way we hope to prepare our students to grapple with the emerging issues in a world that is being transformed by economic social and technological change.

Our motto at St Mary’s College is ‘Ad Maiora Nata Sum’, or I am born for higher things. Our challenge is to bring this motto to life by giving our girls an education that will support them in striving to make our world a more compassionate, optimistic and supportive environment for all.

Dr Frank Pitt

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