I have always believed wholeheartedly that in whatever we are doing we should always strive to be better tomorrow than we were today. This has strongly influenced not only my personal attitude towards life but also my approach to school leadership and continual school improvement. Over the past two terms, as I have settled into the School, I have been observing closely, asking many questions and actively seeking feedback from as many people as possible as to the strengths and opportunities for growth within the Junior School at Hill’s Grammar. I have also scrutinised the data from the parental surveys, which all parents of children in Years 1, 3 and 5 are invited to complete annually. I have begun to build a good understanding of the way forward for the Junior School to ensure that we grow from strength to strength, building on the many successful dimensions of the school whilst actively working to address those areas where there is clear opportunity for growth and improvement. Our positive education philosophy advocates that we should always leverage our strengths when working towards improvements. This means that clearly understanding our strengths and areas for growth is critical to ongoing improvement.
Within the context of the classrooms, teachers are acutely aware of the importance of feedback and the critical contribution that it makes to students’ progress. On a daily basis, we look to provide continual feedback to students on areas of success and achievement, whilst identifying next steps or opportunities for improvement. This is always in a spirit of support, with the explicit intention to build-up not knockdown. We aim to help each student move from strength to strength in pursuit of being the best they can be, in whatever they are doing. However, this is not solely about teacher -student interaction but is at the very heart of what it means to be a community, in this case a school. Within a successful community every person recognises that they are responsible not only for their own growth and success, but for actively supporting and committing to the success of all others, as well as the community as a whole. Being part of a school community as a student, parent, teacher or in another role, is not a spectator-sport. Rather, it is essential that everyone rise to the expectation of being an active participant and contributor, not simply seeing themselves as a consumer. To this end, it is important that we create a culture of trust within which everyone is open to both give and receive honest and constructive feedback. I am committed to building and nurturing this culture within the Junior School community, as I believe it is pivotal to our success and ongoing improvement.
Within this context, I will be actively seeking feedback from parents on an ongoing basis, starting this term. I am of course always willing to meet individually with parents and this will continue, however I will also from now on be inviting parental feedback from a different year group each term. I hope that all parents will take the time to respond and to utilise this important opportunity to contribute to the ongoing growth and development of the Junior School. I am of course interested in hearing what you feel is working well but hope that you will also contribute honestly and constructively to identifying areas of opportunity for growth and improvement. My focus year group for this term will be Year 4 and I will be writing specifically next week to all parents in this year group. I am very confident that if we can all contribute to celebrating our many successes, as well as to being “better tomorrow than we were today”, that we really will see our Junior School community achieve our vision to provide extraordinary education in a place of inspiration and innovation. I thank you in anticipation of your support and help in this new initiative as I roll it out over the coming terms.
Mark Yeowell | Head of Junior School