This One's For the Staff

A school is so much more than a physical site with classrooms, play areas and a lot of Apple devices. A school is actually the people who are in it; the students, parents and staff.

The success of a school should never be determined by test scores alone. A more lasting and accurate measure of success is the relationships that are nurtured, because without these, a school is really no different to any factory churning out identical products in the most efficient, controlled way.

We deal with people; unique people. So our approach needs to be vastly different to that of the business world. Although we utilise and require data from a strong, evidenced research base, we should never attempt to be an industry governed by numbers, statistics and KPIs. That kind of approach dehumanises the profession and is counterproductive to deep, meaningful learning. 

At Mt Ousley we have a deliberate focus on people and that’s what makes our school particularly great. In fact, it’s what makes the public education system great as a whole. 

In other blog posts I’ve spoken about the great things that students and parents have done, but this one is all about the staff.

When considering how I might sum up the best qualities of the Mt Ousley staff, the list of superlatives that springs to mind is long. The list is a mix of important people skills and professional competencies.

The staff, whether teaching or admin, do many, many things that are well beyond the scope of any job description. Why? Simply because they care. They want children to grow up having had the very best educational experiences on offer.

And when you think about it, the incredibly rich diversity of opportunities available to students is pretty amazing, don’t you think? Staff do not hesitate when it comes to volunteering their time outside normal school hours. The end result of course is a learning environment that’s full of fun, challenge and choice, within a culture of belief, compassion and trust.

In terms of professional commitment, the staff at Mt Ousley is arguably second to none. Every single admin staff member treats the students in their care as they would their own, whether it’s reinforcing community values, teaching important life skills or simply putting a band aid on a grazed knee and providing that extra bit of TLC.

Every single teacher reflects constantly on their practice, because we know that the quality of teaching has the single biggest impact on student learning outcomes at school. Lessons are deconstructed to see what could be done differently and improved for the next time.

The hours the public sees teachers at work are only the beginning of this very special job. But it’s not just the long hours that teachers spend refining their craft that matters; it’s the quality and rigour of what is done during these working hours that really makes the difference.

The next holiday period is fast approaching and it’s around this time I often hear the same old line: “How lucky are teachers having all those holidays?”

But think of the school holidays as partly some amount of time in lieu for the countless evenings and weekends devoted to work duties. Think of them as a bit of revitalisation time for teachers to recharge their batteries and prepare themselves mentally for the coming term. Think of them as a relatively uninterrupted time when meaningful learning activities can be planned, free of the day-to-day pressures that working life brings. But most of all, think of them as actually being well deserved and as an acknowledgment of the unending commitment that school staff have for students.

To each of my staff, I say thank you. And enjoy the holidays when they come around!


As a staff member thank you for your support, encouragement and leadership. Your commitment to education and by default students, staff, parents and the greater community is second to none!

These are very kind words Peter, it means a lot to people to be acknowledged. We all know teachers do what we do for deep seated reasons around the value of education, but acknowledgment of efforts always help!