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                                                                   Future perfect — present tense
                                                                   It could add up to a revolution in public schools and provide                                                                           and talk” at a ratio of one to 30.                             Mullaly says there are few examples of Victorian         He believes it is essential that schools allow
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Building design projects being what they are            schools where the open-plan practice is bedded           lead-in time to develop new learning styles; and
                                                                   the basis for a world-class education system for the 21st                                                                               — complex and at times overwhelming ventures               down; Wooranna Park Primary School in Dandenong          access to professional development leave should be
                                                                                                                                                                                                           — the danger for schools is losing sight of these          North is one trailblazer, establishing a “contempo-      a priority for those with a building project underway.
                                                                   Century. But will schools be able to leap the hurdles to get                                                                            educational imperatives. According to AEU deputy           rary learning environment” 10 years ago through          “The cultural shift from the old style to the new style
                                                                   there? Rachel Power reports on Building Futures.                                                                                        vice president, secondary Justin Mullaly, in the head-     the previous Leading Schools fund.                       is huge and the capacity for school leaders to actu-
                                                                                                                                                                                                           long rush for infrastructure funding, some schools             “People say it’s like the 1970s,” says Mullaly,      ally provide the PD and the practice is tremendously

            I NDIVIDUALISED learning. Flexibility. Community.
              Collaboration. These are the buzzwords underpin-
            ning Building Futures, the current phase of capital
                                                                        of meeting Building Futures’ “better fit for purpose”
                                                                        approach to infrastructure.
                                                                            Classroom design is taking its place alongside
                                                                                                                                       of flagship schools among a sea of patched-up
                                                                                                                                       dinghies?
                                                                                                                                                                                                           have developed designs without a clear educational
                                                                                                                                                                                                           plan, and the teaching and learning philosophy is
                                                                                                                                                                                                           now struggling to catch up.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      of open plan teaching, “but it differs significantly.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Even in the 70s, the concept of group work was so
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      foreign, but now inquiry-based learning is ingrained.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               challenging. But the clinching argument is we’re not
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               getting the results in our regular environment.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   While the Education Department is making
            investment in school facilities and infrastructure.         the quality of teaching and curriculum as the most             Education and infrastructure: the horse or                             “Some schools have taken the initiative and are         Some of the practices we’re doing are very well          efforts centrally to bring teachers up to speed, most
               The Department of Education and Early                    important elements in engaging students. For some              the cart?                                                           working around an education plan,” he says, “while         suited to open-plan learning, but they’re being done     important is “to get teachers out of their school to
            Childhood Development describes the program,                this means upgrading out-of-date facilities, but               The wisdom behind the shift from “box and cor-                      sometimes there’s community pressure from re-              in egg-carton style buildings.”                          see other teachers doing it, then having that lead
            policy and processes as a response to a general             for many it involves complete rebuilds. Many also              ridors” to more flexible learning spaces is to catch                gional directors to apply as the only way of getting           With new teaching models setting the ground-         time to feed it onto your own teaching practice”.
            shift in teaching–learning models permeating state          involve school mergers.                                        up with the way schools are already operating. Many                 money for facilities.”                                     work, the risk is that some teachers feel they are           School mergers are a feature of many of the
            education.                                                      The Government is promising facilities that will be        if not most have already made the shift to inquiry-                    These schools are left trying to introduce signifi-     being told that they’re not doing a good enough job.     new projects, adding to the uncertainty for staff,
               To match this modern pedagogy, hundreds of               the envy of even the wealthiest private schools. But           based learning, and some are experimenting with                     cant cultural change at the same time as managing          “Staff in one school had been sold the idea (of a        with the fear of excess as schools come together.
            schools across Victoria are now somewhere along             will the result be an across-the-board upgrade of              team-teaching models. But for the most part this is                 massive building projects, and teachers’ voices            new school) as a sugar coating on the bitter pill of
            the complex and often protracted six-stage process          state education facilities or the creation of a series         still being done in classrooms designed for “chalk                  particularly can get lost in the mix.                      changing your teaching style,” Mullaly says.                                          continued on page 18




                                                                                                                                                                                                           Green star for bayview school
                                                            AEU rep Ryan McKinnon, Broadmeadows Primary                                                                           Staff of Meadowbank PS
                                                            School, with plans for the new school.




                                                                                                                                                                                                           N    O, THEY didn’t forget to finish
                                                                                                                                                                                                                the ceiling.
                                                                                                                                                                                                               Every aspect of the new William-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           The campus was the result of a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       merger with Point Gellibrand Girls
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       School, but the design was a response
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   and the Jawbone Marine Sanctuary.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Overall it accommodates 750 students
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   from Years 7 to 9 and 70 staff.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              to offer a range of ways to keep them
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              motivated.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The buildings are naturally
                                                                                                                                                                                                           stown High Bayview campus (pictured)        to the curriculum and new teaching             The environmental theme                 ventilated with louvres and thermal
                                                                                                                                                                                                           is designed to provide educational                                                                                                 chimneys, cutting out the need for
                                                                                                                                                                                                           opportunities, including the half-lined                                                                                            air-conditioning. Rainwater is used for
                                                                                                                                                                                                           ceiling that allows students to look                                                                                               flushing toilets and irrigation; wood
                                                                                                                                                                                                           inside the roof structure and get                                                                                                  was recycled from the former build-


                Starting blocks, finishing posts
                                                                                                                                                                                                           an understanding of construction                                                                                                   ing to create the timber floor in the
                                                                                                                                                                                                           methods.                                                                                                                           atrium; solar hot water and low energy
                                                                                                                                                                                                               The school is also one of only six                                                                                             light fittings also feature.
                                                                                                                                                                                                           educational facilities in Australia to                                                                                                 The design and materials were

            I T DOESN’T happen overnight.
                   This is something parents and
            staff at Meadowbank Primary School
                                                           The gymnasium and other facilities
                                                       will be open outside school hours to a
                                                       community sorely lacking in amenities,
                                                                                                          different age groups will each link to
                                                                                                          a resource area so that each student
                                                                                                          feels “immediately empowered to
                                                                                                                                                     Meadowbank site.
                                                                                                                                                         While Meadowbank waits for fund-
                                                                                                                                                     ing, across the way Broadmeadows
                                                                                                                                                                                                           pilot the Green Star Education rating
                                                                                                                                                                                                           tool, developed by the Green Buildings
                                                                                                                                                                                                           Council to assess all areas of the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              chosen to limit maintenance costs. An
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              energy monitoring system calculates
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              the school usage of water, gas and
            have come to realise.                      breaking down barriers in an area                  seek more information and to engage        PS is set to become the first in the                  building, including energy and water                                                                                               electricity and is then displayed on TV
                It’s almost five years since the       where parents often have negative                  in the active learning experience”,        area to move to a new campus under                    use, emissions, transport, materials,                                                                                              screens around the school.
            Broadmeadows Neighbourhood                 feelings about school from their                   architect Judith North says.               the $100m Broadmeadows Schools                        ecology and management.                                                                                                                Steve says the environmental focus
            Renewal Program brought together           own education.                                         Hinged walls mean the flexible         Regeneration Project, setting a litmus                    Completely redeveloped on                                                                                                      caused initial scepticism but is now a
            17 local schools to discuss the prob-          If the protracted process has an               layout can be easily reconfigured to       test for those that follow.                           environmentally sustainable principles,      Williamstown High Bayview Campus                                                      selling point for families. “Science is at
            lems of too many schools serving too                                                                                                         Broadmeadows is another exem-                     the $11 million middle-years campus                                                                                                the forefront of what we offer.”
            few students.                                           ❛the school has already had                                                      plar of the old-style school — boxy                   attracted one of the largest capital        models, says principal Steve Cook.          permeates every subject. Staff include         Building the whole school at once
                One of the outcomes was a plan to                                                                                                    classrooms coming off one endless                     grants ever seen in Victoria for a single      “The design was driven by two            a marine biologist and a horticultural-    helped maintain a cohesive vision,
            create a new school out of Meadow-                   around 10 teachers decide it’s not                                                  corridor in a school now decades past                 school. The result is, according to         issues: wanting to raise awareness;         ist running his own business on site       even if that meant long months teach-
            bank and nearby Campmeadows PS.
            The $7 million project is still awaiting
                                                                       for them and leave.❜                                                          its intended lifespan. Like Meadows,
                                                                                                                                                     the new school will be radically dif-
                                                                                                                                                                                                           Steve Bracks, an “iconic project for
                                                                                                                                                                                                           this state”, which has won three major
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       and taking advantage of the school’s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       location fronting the bay.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   as part of the horticultural school, re-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   sponsible for replanting the grounds.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              ing in portables with only half a play-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              ground. Staff goodwill and enthusiasm
            funding.                                   upside, it’s that teachers have had a              provide for anything from intimate         ferent, with flexible learning spaces                 sustainability design awards, including        “We realised we could do                     The curriculum is hands-on and         saw them through.
                The new Meadows Primary School         lot of time to prepare for a new way               one-to-one sessions to giant group         suitably designed for collaboration                   the Premier’s Design Award.                 something quite distinctive, and an         action-based. They try wherever                “It’s hard work running a school
            will open in 2010 at best. But the         of working. The new school will see a              activities. The preschool will bring to-   and team teaching.                                        Architect Jenni Webster of Mel-         environmental theme was an                  possible to have practical outcomes,       through a rebuilding process. There
            school remains excited about a             radically different approach to teach-             gether maternal health and playgroup           Staff have embraced the opportu-                  bourne firm Spowers believes school         obvious choice.”                            whether it be a CD or a piece of           are high expectations.”
            merger that will offer state-of-the-art    ing and learning. Classes will operate             facilities.                                nity to have a say in the design of the               buildings should play a major role in          The school, completed this year,         woodwork, or revegetation — even a             But it was worth it.
            facilities to some of the state’s most     in three large areas, each housing                    Staff and students will indeed          school, and engage kids and parents                   climate change and environmental            consists of four buildings — two            26-foot boat, currently underway.              “Now the teachers love it; they
            disadvantaged students —                   about 100 children, with five or so                be camping at Campmeadows from             in that process.                                      education and it is vital the interiors     teaching blocks, a gymnasium and a              Steve says this curriculum is          can really explore the full potential of
            an “outer-suburbs school” in the           teachers working in teams.                         mid-2009, moving offsite while the                                                               of these buildings provide educational      horticulture facility—on a suburban         responding to generational change.         teaching and learning.” ◆
            inner city.                                    Four learning zones housing                    new school is built on the current                       continued on page 30                    opportunities.                              coastal site with access to Port Philip     “Kids learn differently today. We need



 16       aeu news | september 2008                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  www.aeuvic.asn.au     17
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         feature
feature



                                                                           A   LTONA and
                                                                               Bayside Sec-
                                                                           ondary Colleges
                                                                                                   Gus Goldsworthy began discussing how
                                                                                                   they could work together to develop
                                                                                                   pathways for senior students. Bayside
                                                                                                                                               this a drawn-out process, but ulti-
                                                                                                                                               mately three schools — Altona West
                                                                                                                                               PS, Altona Gate PS and Bayside SC
                                                                                                                                                                                           Open plan GrOundbreaker
                                                                           in Altona North         is a large multi-campus co-educational      — will be banding together to create
                                                                           have been on a          college with almost 1500 students.          the Altona Bayside Education Precinct.      Wooranna Park’s switch to open-plan classrooms and inquiry-based learning was
                                                                           long, hard road         Altona was losing senior students to        A new P–9 school (Altona College)
                                                                           to amalgama-            their larger neighbour, which could         will be developed, while Bayside’s two      controversial at first — but now wins plaudits. Rachel Power reports.
                                                                           tion. And Bayside       offer a greater variety of subjects.        campuses will become a P–9 campus
                                                                           principal Mike
                                                                           Kerin has the
                                                                           chunky folders to
                                                                                                       Both principals believe that schools
                                                                                                   should be able to provide a generalist
                                                                                                   education, says Mike. “You shouldn’t
                                                                                                                                               and the 10–12 “Paisley” campus.
                                                                                                                                                   Mike is particularly excited about
                                                                                                                                               this upgraded senior campus, where
                                                                                                                                                                                           W    OORANNA Park Primary School was in the vanguard of the shift toward
                                                                                                                                                                                                flexible classrooms, transforming its teaching and learning environment in
                                                                                                                                                                                           the mid-1990s.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Wooranna Park sourced much of this professional support from overseas,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     sending senior staff members to conferences in the USA, England and Singa-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     pore. It also brought in mentor George Betts, professor of special education
                                                                           prove it.               have to go down the road to another         currently the automotive area is a gut-         Deputy principal Esme Capp says the school independently recognised                   in the area of gifted and talented education at the University of Northern
                                                                               He proffers         school for some subjects.”                  ted toilet block “not conducive             that it needed a complete refit to match the latest approaches to teaching                Colorado.
                                                                           one of several              The original pitch for a merger         to learning”.                               and learning.                                                                                 “We did a lot of collaborative planning with mentors,” Esme says.
                                                                           overstuffed bind-       between the two became a proposal               Lined up and ready to go to tender          “We were introducing a new curriculum to match new learning styles, but               “Private schools have taken quite a few (of our staff) because of the experience


            playing
                                                                           ers — a business        for an educational community involving      for several years now, Paisley’s rebuild    quickly learned that to do that in the current environment it wasn’t possible,”           they now offer.”
                                                      plan covering every possible aspect          the colleges and neighbouring primary       received its third knock-back in the        she explains. “One teacher alone in a classroom can’t cater for that diversity.”              Now that the new culture is embedded in the school, teachers benefit from
                                                      of a whole school renewal. The design        schools that aims to transform teach-       most recent budget. Though designed             So the school embarked on an extensive building program to create a more              the dialogue with fellow teachers — discussing best practice, how to meet the
                                                      proposal has had to be redrawn three         ing and learning practice, improve          first, it has since been overtaken by       visually stimulating and contemporary setting for students. According to Esme,            needs of individual students, and generally sharing expertise.


            the
                                                      times in response to changes in the          educational outcomes for students and       the other campuses, which have the          the first imperative was to create aesthetically pleasing and comfortable spaces;             Esme, who won the Herald Sun principal class teacher of the year award two
                                                      application process. After initially being   increase retention rates.                   green light for stage two.                  the second was to make them purposeful.                                                   years ago for her work at Wooranna, says the change in students’ attitudes and
                                                      asked for something “iconic”, they               “The region got involved and                “You can’t be greedy in all this,           Apart from the preps, all children are grouped into multi-age classes and             behaviours have been notable, with kids developing a passion for learning and
                                                      were called into the Region Office and       encouraged us to link up with Altona        but then again someone will say, ‘Yes       teachers work collaboratively to provide a differentiated, “real life” curriculum.        seeing the relevance of that knowledge.


            waiting
                                                      asked to do it again—“this time not          Gate Primary School, which was              Mike but we’ve been waiting since           In practice, this means a shift away from factual knowledge to inquiry and re-                The first cohort of post-redesign students started Year 7 this year, and
                                                      thinking outside the square”.                struggling with numbers and facilities,”    2004.’ People have got expectations         search-based education that encourages students to accept more responsibility             Wooranna Park Primary is getting “an amazing response” from local high
                                                          “An enormous amount of hard work         Mike explains. “We all applied together     and if they’re not met it gets a bit        for their own learning.                                                                   schools, she says.
                                                      goes into the planning and organisa-         for a Leading Schools grant to employ       disheartening. We were one of the               Each space has separate facilities for art or performance, as well as reading             “One teacher described it as more like having a colleague in the classroom


            game
                                                      tion, and it goes on and on, on top of       teaching and learning coaches, and          first projects in the region, we got        and writing, so that students can respond to what they’re learning in whatever            than a student.” ◆
                                                      my other work,” he admits. “But it’s         then put in an application for Building     going really early with the Board and       way they want in that moment.
                                                      going to be worth it.”                       Futures.”                                   the committees, and yet we’re still just        Parents were engaged from the outset, Esme says, though
                                                          In 2003, Kerin and Altona principal          Competition for funding has made        hanging off there waiting.” ◆               some decided to take their children elsewhere, as the changes
                                                                                                                                                                                           were “too much outside their own experience”.
                                                                                                                                                                                               But the greatest challenge was finding middle-level support
            continued from page 17                                                                                                                                                         for teachers making the transition to collaborative teaching.
            The AEU has worked to establish a memorandum of understanding (MoU),                       Altona and Bayside Secondary Colleges’ joint proposal for whole school renewal
            dubbed the Broadie Clause after Broadmeadows where the first MoU was first             is one example of a project where the leadership has done an enormous amount
            drawn up, which guarantees redeployment rights for two years for teachers              of work at school level, both in terms of the education plan and building design,
            employed in merging schools.                                                                                            only to find themselves playing a drawn-out waiting
               In Broadmeadows, Northern Met-
            ropolitan regional director Wayne Craig
                                                          ❛If what you’re trying to do isn’t                                        game for final approval. It can be very demoralising
                                                                                                                                    for the community.”
            agreed that no staff member would be         working in the building you’ve got,                                            Wayne Craig says the Building Futures scheme
            declared excess for two years, a pledge                                                                                 represents a “profound shift” that will dramatically
            that the AEU is trying to introduce into         what have you got to lose?❜                                            improve conditions for kids. He welcomes a formal
            every MoU. With SSOs and those on con-                                                                                  program that, as he sees it, finally provides a
            tract the most vulnerable, the AEU has ensured redeployment rights for teachers        rational basis for facilities development and replaces years of ad hoc
            who have been on two or more contracts for at least 12 months.                         maintenance funding.
               The other obvious issue is the logistical problems caused by schools becom-             While he admits $1.9 billion is not enough to clear the
            ing temporary construction sites. Bendigo South West Primary (see profile, page        backlog of regeneration needed, he says it is the single
            15) is running four different sets of recess and lunch times because of the cur-       biggest investment in schools we’ve seen in Victoria.
            rent lack of space. “Their yard area has been reduced by 80 per cent,” Mullaly             “With the old scheme, some money was going
            explains. “They can’t safely accommodate the kids. Eaglehawk ditto — they’ve           on new schools, and some money was going
            been in portables since the start of the year.”                                        on the very worst schools, but there was no
               While regional offices support schools on the ground — identifying and              across-the-board shift. This is an opportu-
            ranking priorities, endorsing feasibility studies and overseeing the planning and      nity to stop and think about what a 21st
            development of designs — the impetus comes from the schools themselves,                century school will look like and how                                                                                                                     Clockwise from top
            and this means a huge extra workload.                                                  it operates. We need high-performing                                                                                                                      right: Kirsty Leane;
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Jennie Vine; SSO
               Schools’ planning committees choose from a pool of department-approved              schools that keep kids in the govern-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Vesna Grkinjic
            architectural firms and then jointly develop a design. While a number of well-         ment sector.”                                                                                                                                             Staff work with
            funded projects are resulting in model schools, such as Williamstown High’s                As for the sceptics, Meredith                                                                                                                         students in Wooranna
            state-of-the-art environment school on its Bayview campus, the question                Peace sums it up: “If what you’re                                                                                                                         Park Primary’s open-
            remains whether the average budget is able to accommodate such radical                 trying to do isn’t working in the                                                                                                                         plan learning spaces.
            design features. As AEU vice president secondary Meredith Peace sees it, “The          building you’ve got, what have you                                                                                                                        PHOTOS BY:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             MARK FARRELLY
            fundamental problem is that the system was left in such disrepair for so long that     got to lose?" ◆
            there’s just so much work to do and they don’t have the money.”


18        aeu news | september 2008                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  www.aeuvic.asn.au   19
       continued from page 17
           Broadmeadows’ AEu rep ryan McKinnon says            have changed and now we’ve got the contemporary         schools will essentially remain separate — though
       the AEu Active training course has been helpful in      building to suit those contemporary learning styles.”   this didn’t stop one preschool parent asking where
       “knowing the lay of the land” and giving him a voice       That said, these changes have had collateral.        the moat with the crocodiles was going. They will,
       in the rebuilding process.                              Ten teachers have already left, deciding the new        however, share community facilities, including the
           He says staff have been preparing for the past      methods are not for them.                               gymnasium, theatre, communications area, library
       two or three years, so it’s no big shock, especially       ryan agrees a different skills set is needed to      and science centre.
       as they have been kept well informed of the plans.      work in teams — and that might not suit everyone            Alongside the schools, the new site will have
           “If we had an employer who said ‘This is hap-       — but believes most primary teachers are used to        a childcare centre and preschool forming a
       pening’ and didn’t ask for any feedback, in terms       working in this way already.                            community hub — one of the first fruits of the
       of teaching practices, there might be some conflict.       The new K-6 school (stage one is underway            newly merged Department of Education and Early
       But as it is we’re really excited about moving to the   and stage two fully-funded) will be built on the        Childhood Development. The school is already
       new site.                                               Broadmeadows Secondary College site, a few              developing close working relationships with local
           “Kids have changed and our teaching styles          hundred metres away. The primary and secondary          health providers. ◆



30   aeu news | september 2008

				
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Description: Future perfect — present tense