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Learning at RPS
Riverside Primary School
Our application and experience of quality
- A new paradigm not incompatible with our previous notions
- More with less - the driving force during severe cutbacks
- Better learning - this is our core 'business'
- A better quality of life - vital for all
- Increased coping capacity - in the face of increasing demands
- Leadership everywhere - everyone belongs - everyone can contribute
Our Mission (the School is a purposeful community)
- To add to the quality of our lives, and the lives of those around us,
both now and in the future, especially through learning, viz, Everyone competent, caring, just and wise
- Ensure the success of teachers and learners working together
by attending to purposes, outcomes and the processes
that achieve them (more...)
Our Vision (outcomes to be achieved)
- Everyone happy, confident, learning and playing well
- Everyone a contributor of teaching and caring
- Everyone a beneficiary of learning
'Customer' is the next person in the process. Thus
'customer' or 'client' is really a relationship - it is part of a working
relationship. Being the customer or client is not a role except at
the level of a 'bottom line'.
Students have customers too. A breakthrough came when we realised
who the students customers were, viz,
The students' customers are
- the members of their work groups,
- their families,
- their friends, and,
- the community (initially the School but ultimately including possible future employers, ...)
- Learning (not teaching) is central process in the School
- Teaching is important to the extent that it promotes and supports learning
- Other processes are only important to the extent that they support the success of teachers and learners working together
Our task as a School (ie, a purposeful community of staff, students, parents and local community working together) is to equip students
through their learning
- to care for themselves and
- to better serve the others in their lives , now and in the future.
Families (especially, but not only, parents) are key suppliers to schools (in contrast to the prevailing political model). Families are also key beneficiaries of the learners
Everyone in the School (students, staff, parents, visitors) has the same 'job'
- Know what is happening (use data)
- Work with others to improve what is happening (improve continuously )
- Do your work well and on time
- And make it easier for the next person to do their work really well
(have a real-time 'customer' focus)
- People are not worked on
- Others make it easier for me
- Fewer problem behaviours: twelve Assistance Cards sent in 1999 seven of
which were for one autistic boy
- 'We don't seem to have the problems' (long serving member of the
- Things get done largely as expected
- The School & its people have the same goals
- Information is freely available
- Better learning: excellent results in standardised testing
More with less: productivity following major loss of resources
- 16% less teachers yet lower class sizes
- More time for teaching: 97% of available teacher hours used in working
directly with students (counting all professional staff as fully available
for teaching, including Principal, APs, ...)
- Teamwork everywhere (status & roles are not limitations)
- Increased leadership & initiative everywhere despite fewer senior
- Rich curriculum, special programs retained despite cutbacks
- Three teachers 'rehabilitated' in just over twelve months: "It is hard to imagine anyone not being successful here"
(one of several teachers who have regained their professional competence
and personal self esteem)
- Better facilities, materials & equipment at much less
There is a way to understand schooling as a system of systems. RPS
now understands itself better than ever before.
Experience within the School has shown that many of the above things
can be made meaningful for small children, some as young as four years old.
And we are still very much at the beginning!
About the School
Riverside Primary School is a Kindergarten to Grade 6 school in Launceston, Tasmania.
660 students aged 4 to 12 years are enrolled. The School has experienced staff and the facilities are adequate.
Families value education and the School enjoys good support form its community.
The School is recognised for many aspects of its
educational program and as a result has been used as a reference by the Department.
The School has the highest pupil:teacher ratio
(~20:1) and receives one of the lowest resource packages (financial
grants) per capita in the State.
The operation of the School is collaborative and purposeful. Change is approached as an opportunity to achieve improvement rather than
something that is being driven from outside.
The School has had great value from its involvement with the
quality movement its literature, its tools, its philosophy and its people.
The School has made the following observations about quality
- Quality is not simple in the prevailing way of thinking (it is a
- Quality is not a ready made panacea (it can't be done to people)
- Like all good things, quality is also open to abuse and misuse ('The Emperor's New Clothes' and 'The Fisher
King' and more)
- The possibilities to improve learning are enormous (mind-boggling!!!). The reason for
this is that all our processes achieve much less than their full potential
- The possibilities to improve the quality of life for all are much greater than originally thought, and that's what it is really all about!!
Have fun and do well !!
An approach using the Principles of Quality will enable you to do both simultaneously.
Ivan Webb Principal (retired, Dec 2000)