What Participants are saying…


​We have invited past participants to join us in celebrating our achievements and success in the past year by sharing their experiences at Bastow. Below, we hear from a school participant and early childhood participant about what attracted them to do a Bastow course, what they have achieved so far, how the course has improved their leadership capacity and lastly what they find most interesting about the Bastow facility.

Brett MooreParticipant: Brett Moore, Principal

School: Sunbury Downs Secondary College

Course: Open to Learning Conversations (see Open to Learning Leadership​)

What attracted you to do this course at Bastow?

Some time ago, I came upon a paper entitled “School Leadership and Student Outcomes: Identifying What Works and Why” presented by Viviane Robinson at the ACEL/ASCD Conference, Sydney, 10 October, 2007.  The paper affirmed my focus on instructional leadership, in particular student centred leadership behaviours through taking an active part in teacher learning and development. The paper engendered my interest in Open to Learning concepts and behaviours that involved teachers and school leaders in a dialogical process around teaching pedagogies that would impact positively on student learning and engagement.

Sunbury Downs Secondary College have outstanding staff and in recent years, teachers and education support staff have worked together to make significant improvements in student learning and engagement.  As the Principal, I was interested in extending my knowledge and learning about Open to Learning concepts and behaviours to further improve lateral accountabilities amongst staff at Sunbury Downs Secondary College.

I also thought that Open to Learning concepts could be used at a Network level. The knowledge gained would be relevant to the practices of fellow principals in the Hume and Sunbury Diggers Rest Principals’ Network.  I knew the course would be relevant to my further improvement both personally and professionally.

What did you achieve from this course?

Open to Learning Conversations (OTLC), when internalised and intuitively practiced will effectively guide my behaviours in the workplace and in life. OTLC will enable me to increase the efficacy of self and others with whom I interact. OTLC is not merely a theoretical construct, it is an ethical position. Through an effective use of OTLC concepts in the workplace, the emotional and cognitive commitment of stakeholders (staff, students, parents and members of the school community) will be increased, thereby impacting positively on student engagement, learning and achievement.  I have already learnt that to effectively practise the concepts of OTLC in my dealings with people and issues will require a conscious un-doing of “closed to learning” methodologies. This course highlighted that the mastery of OTLC concepts and behaviours will require a highly disciplined approach. With this, the course was academically rigourous; high expectations were reflected in a range of formative and summative assessments that were undertaken by participants.

How has this course improved your leadership capacity?

The course has challenged some of my pre-conceptions about effective human leadership and the types of skills and behaviours that develop trust and commitment. The course has shown me the importance of recognising and paraphrasing points of difference rather than similarity. There was a certain ‘freshness’ to the course. The facilitators worked with participants to create a genuine atmosphere that promoted honest critical self-reflection. It was a privilege to be part of the first part of the course and I look forward to being part of the next modules of the course in Term 4.  I anticipate and expect that the next two modules will focus on the fine grained analysis and use of OTLC concepts to qualify as a facilitator in this approach.

What did you find most interesting about the Bastow building?

It appears that the architect and builders have maintained the integrity of the original Victorian building. The integration of the urban landscape with the interior spaces has further enhanced the unity of the ‘old’ and ‘new’ architectural elements within the building’s re-design. It is an impressive facility that has been dedicated to educational leadership within the system.


Christine StraubingerParticipant: Christine Straubinger, Kindergarten Director 

Service: Lilian Cannam Kindergarten

Course: Leading People in Early Childhood Settings

What attracted you to do this course at Bastow?

A number of reasons attracted me to this course at Bastow, they include:

  • My previous experiences of professional learning at Bastow were all positive and beneficial to my professional knowledge and skill development e.g. the Contemporary Theories in Early Childhood Education course and Twilight Seminars such as Charles Pascal.
  • Early in 2013 I commenced in a newly created position, a non-teaching Kindergarten director role at Lilian Cannam Kindergarten. This has a double unit sessional kindergarten and an extended hours program with a team of 10 early childhood educators so The Leading People in Early Childhood Settings course was perfect to help with this.
  • The excellent reputation of Bastow within the early childhood sector.
What have you achieved from this course? 
  • A clearer understanding and insight into myself as a leader.
  • Information, strategies and resources to share with the team I work with and my broader network circles.
  • An action research project that continues to be a valuable tool in strengthening the collaborative practices of individual educators and the team. This project has provided the impetus to open up professional conversations with my colleagues to reflect, in a purposeful way, on everyday practices and why we do what we do.
How has this course improved your leadership capacity?
  • I believe each element of the course, including participation in the three workshops, teleconferences, reading materials and other resources and tools has better equipped me with a range of strategies and information that I will continue to build on and share with my colleagues.
  • It has been a reminder to appreciate my convictions and the courage to live these in my everyday practice.
What did you find most interesting about the Bastow facility?
  • I love the connection between the indoor and outdoor spaces and the blend of the old and new. Also, the technology is pretty impressive.