Last week a number of educators from small schools across the state were involved in a two day conference which explored the theme:
“Small Schools on a Large Scale: Innovate and Flourish”
This was the first small schools conference for some years and it was pleasing to see the large numbers of people attend from across the state and across education sectors.
Throughout the conference, participants had the opportunity to hear from a range of keynote presenters; be involved in a range of exciting workshops; and participate in a wide range of discussions relating to small school settings.
Mr Adam Smith opened the conference where he encouraged us to re-imagine success within a small education setting, especially with the changing education context we find ourselves.
The top 10 in demand jobs in 2012 did not exist in 2004.
He encouraged us to consider the learning that young people today are involved in, especially with the fast growing communication technology developments.
The type of learning we encouraged and measured in the last century, will not serve is in the next century.
We also heard from Dr Maxine Couper who is currently involved in a research project with a number of universities exploring the topic of what makes a successful small school. This project involves small schools across all states of Australia and is focusing on the key areas including:
- What makes rural teaching attractive and a long term career option?
- How can rural communities and education sectors support this?
Participants at the conference also had the opportunity to be involved in a range of workshops covering areas such as:
- Use of communication technology within the classroom and across schools
- Using a cluster approach to the delivery of learning
- Lifelong learning approaches with a focus on linking early years and schools, and
- Small school challenges around management and governance.
There were also opportunities at the conference to explore the impact of the current state governments policies on small schools such as the Learning Communities framework. While there were some concerns expressed in relation to some of these policies, there was a real interest, and keenness, to progress the general policy of local autonomy and flexibility in future provision of education within Victoria.
There was a real positive vibe about the conference where participants reinforced the value of small schools working together in clusters to enhance and support learning.
A number of the presentations provided at the conference are available by clicking on the links below.