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Transcript - Using a Communities of Practice approach

​A Community of Practice is an opportunity for professionals at a whole range of different schools to come together and share professional practice, learn from one another, plan together.

To me the Communities of Practice is a chance for me as a principal to work with colleagues in my network and find out what we do well and what we can do better as a group.

The benefits are that as a group of principal class members we get to come together twice a term and I guess the positive around that is that we're talking about data across a network and our focus is within the VCE.

It's provided us with the opportunity to break down our curriculum, look at making things even more streamlined with what we're doing.

Look there's plenty of benefits to our staff, our school and ultimately benefiting our children, which is the ultimate goal in the whole thing.

Sharing practice obviously, giving teachers and school principals the opportunity to get out and visit other schools.

I think we've got 27 schools in our network and the benefits are that you actually get the opportunity to hear what other schools are doing.

Some of our teachers work in isolation. They're the only teacher in that particular subject in their school, so this is a real opportunity to be able to work with teachers in similar areas from different schools.

As a special school principal it's about sharing what we're doing in our setting with the rest of the network.

First of all, developing the authentic relationships and having that real trust in each other, that we are all in for the common good and not just for our own school.

Will we want to see improvement of VCE results? Sure. But it's more than that for those students. It's about their VCE experience.

Can we make these years, the best years for students at school? Can we make them where there is innovation? Can we make them where there is greater levels of engagement?

By improving teacher effectiveness, making teachers more aware of what they're doing, using best use of data to inform what we're doing.

And if we work across our schools and our whole system as a community of practice it's only going to be of great benefit to our students and our staff.

We'd like to see a culture of trust and respect built because we will be using data to inform our practice.

The long-term outcomes would be reducing variability between schools, learning from each other, giving our up-and-coming leaders the opportunity to get out and experience other schools and see what they're doing.

The trust will allow us to facilitate improvement. It's only when we can openly say what we see in our schools, good, bad, ugly and be able to identify yes it's ok to talk about those things without being judged or without being somehow evaluated around it, that we can then tackle those harder problems.

I'm really enthusiastic about the future and what that looks like for the 4 schools within our network.

Schools are first and foremost around student outcomes. We need to shift the level of achievement alongside the engagement of students and wellbeing.

Visiting other schools and seeing the practice in other schools, gives me the confidence to try new things, gives me new ideas, keeps me fresh, keeps me energised.

Really excited to be involved, personally I get to learn from others but also be able to provide that level of instructional leadership to my staff to build their capacity so that we're collectively working together for the same cause and that's for our students.

With a larger group of people, we are going to be more effective. With a larger group of people there's going to be a whole pool of resources.

It's going to be initiatives that we haven't even thought of. There's going to be possibilities and ways to get to outcomes that we want to achieve that are going to be much more effective than if we were doing it alone. That's kind of it.