External Validation & What It Says About Us

Our school was externally validated last week. An independent team from the Department of Education’s High Performance Unit required evidence (volumes and volumes of it in fact) to show that what we are doing in the areas of learning, teaching and leading at Mt Ousley, is measurably impacting on student learning in the most positive ways.

The team visited us and for four hours, we explained our evidence and justified the judgements we had collectively made about our school. The aim of the team’s visit was to critically analyse our evidence and if appropriate, concur and validate our findings. This is precisely what occurred.

We were assessed in 14 different elements against a School Excellence Framework, and arguably one of the most important elements was that of learning culture. The Department’s statement of excellence for learning culture follows.

“In schools that excel, school culture demonstrates the building of educational aspiration and ongoing performance improvement across its community. Students take responsibility for their ongoing learning.”

Mt Ousley was assessed as excelling in learning culture.

Fundamental to this position of excellence has been the impact of infrastructure, which underpins everything we do. Deliberate and sustained focuses on developing confidence, resilience and passion in learning, allowing choice through flexible learning environments and self-directed learning, and implementing whole school structures to constantly reflect on learning, have each contributed significantly to the learning culture that exists.

Overarching everything, has been an unrelenting focus on improving the quality of teaching, as well as integrating technology in meaningful, creative and innovative ways.

We couldn’t possibly do what we do without each teacher committing to constant reflection and analysis of their practice.

Nor could we do the marvellous things we do without every child having access to their own connected device, whether an iPad or laptop, to support learning wherever and whenever it’s necessary.

The sustainability of our 1:1 initiative is of course reliant on the vast majority of families providing a device for their child. Without the generosity of parents and grandparents in this way, the learning culture at Mt Ousley could not possibly have been judged as excelling. Each child's connected device enables a differentiated approach to learning in incredibly engaging and authentic ways, adding significantly to our positive learning culture.

So, in sending those iPads and laptops to school every day, you’re playing a critical role in establishing an environment in which educational aspiration and academic achievement are highly valued and vigorously pursued. Thank you for that!

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