The School recently released the BGS Strategy, which outlines our ambition ‘to be the best school for boys in Australia’.
This prompts the question, ‘What makes a school the best, and how do we measure it?’ Our BGS Critical Projects document provides a roadmap to realising this aspiration. I will share with you how we are investing in specific areas to deliver the best outcomes for our students. View the document below.
Queensland education is going through very significant change and BGS has navigated this challenge with the goal of maintaining educational excellence. This requires us to lead through curriculum and pedagogical innovation, and not merely comply with the new system. The research literature is clear: educational change succeeds when the processes are both strategic (strong leadership, innovation, detailed planning, design, and structural alignment) and cultural (building effective relationships of collaboration and consultation). To implement both mandated and innovative changes, we have paid close attention to these imperatives. The end goal is to build a students’ capacity to monitor the quality of their thinking; this nurtures self-regulated learning. We want our boys taking greater responsibility for their learning in line with the skills and dispositions we focus on through Effective Thinking Cultures (ETC) – Critical Project #4.
If you refer to the Critical Projects, the first is Data Analytics, something we hear about a lot these days, mostly in relation to online commerce and social media. With digital technologies shaping our lives and data analytics being applied to all activities online, institutions create a picture of who we are as consumers. Our interest in this area is specifically educational – BGS staff and students are harnessing similar technologies to monitor progress and performance and apply the findings to tailor learning. As the research literature argues for ‘personalised’ learning as a means of improving student outcomes, we are investing in systems and processes required to monitor students’ academic, wellbeing and cocurricular development.
The use of Tableau is one example. The platform allows students to access their own data dashboard, with a longitudinal record of their results, teacher comments, cocurricular involvement and a range of wellbeing indicators. Boys are encouraged to reflect on this feedback and devise learning plans with the assistance of their teachers. However, it is not just about using technology to collect data. Feedback on learning is delivered in many forms, such as comments on the rough draft of an assignment, via an online quiz, or in a formal conversation with a teacher to discuss an individualised learning plan.
These developments in teaching and learning will be supported by the second project – Digital Evolution. The digital roadmap outlines how the School will implement new technologies and renew existing platforms and infrastructure. We expect all areas of school operation to benefit from these improvements.
Many years ago, BGS engaged The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) to conduct regular social-emotional wellbeing surveys to monitor the wellbeing of our boys. Our results consistently compare favourably with like schools across the country. BGS boys are well-adjusted, engaged, optimistic and resilient. This external evaluation helps us make informed decisions about what issues to address with the boys. It also helps us refine our processes for monitoring individual and cohort wellbeing.
Similarly, our boys’ involvement in sports, music, art, drama, and academic extension activities is another sign that our students are getting the most out of their education. We are committed to constantly assessing our Cocurricular programs, to decide what works, and what needs improving.
The same focus on improvement is the motivation for conducting community perception surveys through MMG Education. They are leaders in school stakeholder research and performance benchmarking. These surveys provide information regarding the community’s perceptions, views, and expectations, which the Senior Leadership Team and the Board of Trustees will use to guide our future policy decisions.
The below video showcases our exciting plans for a transformative precinct to bring together the teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics. Our vision is to replace our ageing science, technology, design/engineering, with an innovative STEAM Precinct. The acronym STEAM refers not just to standalone disciplines, but to a way of thinking, and represents a progressive shift in teaching and learning. The precinct will be an extension of the BGS educational philosophy – to develop critical, reflective, and creative thinkers with the capacity and enthusiasm for independent, lifelong learning. This hub for ideas will further elevate the BGS learning experience and streamline our graduates’ transition to tertiary education.