The Thistle - An E-Newsletter of Scotch College, Perth, Western Australia

From the Head of Senior School

The importance of our Approaches to Learning - May 2018

The Australian Government established the Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools (the Review) in July 2017. Mr David Gonski AC chaired the Review, supported by an independent panel of experts drawn from different states, school systems and sectors. This review has become known as Gonski 2.0. Dr O'Connell highlighted some of the key recommendations from this review in his reflections in our previous edition of the Thistle.

The review states that "School education must also prepare students for a complex and rapidly changing world. As routine manual and administrative activities are increasingly automated. More jobs will require a higher level of skill, and more school leavers will need skills that are not easily replicated by machines, such as problem-solving, interactive and social skills, and critical and creative thinking".

The Review Panel recommends placing increased emphasis on teaching general capabilities in the F-10 (Foundation to Year 10) Australian Curriculum. Within the Australian Curriculum the general capabilities are;

Literacy, numeracy, ICT capability, personal and social capability, ethical understanding and intercultural understanding. A capability encompasses knowledge, skills, behaviours and dispositions. Students develop capability when they apply knowledge and skills confidently, effectively and appropriately in complex and changing circumstances, in their learning at school and in their lives outside school.


As you will have identified from the list of general capabilities above, these correlate well to the Approaches to Learning (ATL) and IB Learner Profile we as a College incorporate into our Teaching and Learning and across the College as an IB World School. While we are not specifically delivering the Middle Years Programme in Year 9 this year (and within Year 10 in 2019), these very valuable capabilities are still being incorporated and, in the case of the ATL, being explicitly taught in Year 9 and will be taught in Year 10 in 2019 as a part of our new teaching and learning programmes.

The ATL being incorporated in the teaching and learning programmes in the Senior School support the notion that skills-based education carries increasing relevance to good teaching practice and in preparing our students for a world where knowledge alone will be insufficient to ensure success. Mrs Cara Fugill, Dean of Teaching and Learning in the Senior School, recently attended a BankWest Curtin University Economic Forum on the future of work in Australia with a number of students. In a presentation to staff she elucidated that the change from a manufacturing economy to a service economy in Australia means we need to prepare our students for a different tomorrow. One where people will change jobs more regularly, with as many as 30% of employees changing jobs every 12 months. A future where people are likely to have five to seven career changes in their life time and where social and leadership skills will become increasingly more important as automation rises. All this, and more, supports the College's commitment to teaching transferrable skills in thinking, self-management, research, communication and working in a social world in the context of their academic studies.


I look forward to working with you, my wonderful colleagues and your sons to see them best prepared for the challenges of our changing world.

Mr Dean Shadgett
Head of Senior School