Home' Independence : Independence Vol 43 No 1 May 2018 Contents VOL 43 NO 1 MAY 2018 INDEPENDENCE 69
constraints placed upon them e.g.,
membership criteria or size, the various
motivations of members, and the
constant juggle around management vs
governance definitions (and actions).
Measurement and accountability are
of vital importance for a good school.
Yet the wise saying accredited to
Einstein, "not everything that can be
counted counts and not everything that
counts can be counted" applies to the
world of schools. Common sense must
prevail. It is hoped that the framework
provided starts a much more detailed
conversation about how one measures
the success of an independent school.
Dr David Mulford is the Headmaster of Newington
College, an all-boys K-12 Independent school in
Sydney, Australia. He has held the position since
his appointment to the College in 2008. Previously,
Dr Mulford was the Principal at Blue Mountains
Grammar School (1992-2000) and at Radford
1 A black swan is an event or occurrence that
deviates beyond what is normally expected of a
situation and is extremely difficult to predict. Black
swan events are typically random and unexpected.
MANAGEMENT AND MEASUREMENT
2. Co-curricular success
1. How measured for sport? Top teams only? All teams?
2. Schools distorting results by enrolment entry practices
3. Size of school varies
4. Importance of each sport varies for each school
5. New sporting options reflecting vastly changing enrolment make up
(clash between tradition and the new)
Non-sport e.g. Music, drama, debating, art, outdoor ed., chess, oratory, film etc.
1. How measured?
2. Vital areas for the civilised and balanced person
3. Foster creativity
3. Pastoral -- wellbeing of students
1. How measured? Dessa Scale for K -- 8? Perma Profiler? EPOCH?
PANAS? Other? Survey of students? Methodology
2. Character development -- different timings for students as they
3. Complex issues e.g. mental health, family dysfunction
4. Positive psychology elements
5. Measuring mission is complex
1. How measured?
2. Multicultural and multi-faith nature of Australia
3. Many parents 'unchurched' in the traditional sense
4. Church schools become the local 'church' for crisis/grief/relationship/
5. Are church schools about planting seeds, not necessarily producing?
6. As a certain denomination school what makes one different from other
1. How measured?
2. Service learning -- measurement? involvement? Longitudinal survey of
3. The education of service to others and social justice
6. The number one variable for success will be the quality of the
The whole staff 'package' requires:
- Academic focus
- Pastoral (well-being) role
- Co-curricular contribution
- Spiritual support
- Community outreach
- Sharing with colleagues
- Nurture and welfare
- Engagement and alignment
Structures and policies should be in place for:
- Development and review (professional learning)
- Appraisal -- light not heat
- The difficult conversation
- 'Too good not to be better ' approach
- Effective follow-up to issues from staff engagement surveys
- Fostering effective teacher feedback to students.
1. Generation Y seeking early promotion vs loyal long serving staff
2. 'Elephants in the room' staffing issues are possibly handicapping the
ability of educators to be regarded as truly professional. They may
include low salaries vs generous conditions (is the balance out?), weeks
at school (stresses and strains by adding within 38 weeks of term time
rather than spreading the role out to help work/life balance), teaching
loads, class sizes/structures, genuine appraisal, all teachers are assumed
to be of equal quality for payment/conditions/ accountability measures
(is this right?), willingness to change and keep up to date, adversarial
industrial model and an excellent starting salary but a quickly reached
poor top of scale salary
3. Debate about bonus pay on teacher performance vs teacher
contribution vs teacher expertise
4. Middle leadership taking on the difficult performance management
conversations -- how reluctant or effective?
5. Co-curricular role -- traditional schoolteacher approach vs 'bought'
6. Complexity of pastoral role
7. Generous salary/conditions at some schools can cause longevity issues
(advantages and disadvantages)
8. Will staff rise to the new expectations of demanding parents? Are
schools moving from a revered institution to a service provider to fee
paying parents? How do we achieve the balance between our expertise
vs unreasonable demands or expectations?
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