FAQs

We've put together a list of the most asked questions by our parents, so that you've got answers exactly when you need them.

The new approach - what/why?

Why does the College think redesigning the timetable is important?

Current education was designed for an industrial world, with key features emphasising standardisation and uniformity to produce a large number of workers with the same basic skills. This included core subjects with few connections between them, and little development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

The world has changed, and education needs to move with it. This requires a more flexible, adaptable and personalised approach to education, one that emphasises creativity, collaboration and lifelong learning.

We need to broaden the measures of success and allow time for:

  • consistent face to face teaching with fewer interruptions
  • more interest electives = student choice
  • collaborative projects = real world learning
  • reliable and valid capabilities assessment = required post school world
  • students to understand themselves better:
    • Strengths, Interests and Motivations = Purpose
    • Embedded Wellbeing time = weekly sequenced learning for Years 7-12
  • assist with the development of a Learner Profile
  • allow space and place for students to develop competencies, particularly Learner Agency.

Chevalier strongly believes this model will better prepare our young people for their life beyond school and support them to flourish, and answer three critical questions:

  • Who am I?
  • What can I do?
  • What problems do I want to solve?

Why do we need this change, Chev’s results have been improving, is this a shift away from ATAR?

By reducing interruptions, we know that our students will have consistent access to their teachers for their face to face deeper learning. We also know that, historically, many of our highest performing students managed their time well by accelerating in some courses, allowing them extra time to focus on other courses in the HSC.

As a result of the two factors above, and by broadening the concept of early commencement for all, rather than just some students, we believe academic performance measured via the ATAR will be maintained if not enhanced.

We know that once students leave school, they need competencies and capabilities that cannot be learnt by just studying for a test. This new model, while enhancing academic performance, will also allow students to build complex capabilities and their sense of self; skills they need as they enter life beyond school.

Mondays and Flipped Learning

What are the benefits of introducing flipped learning on most Mondays?

Face to Face Learning (F2FL) with a teacher in a classroom is the single biggest determining factor which contributes to student learning growth. It is fundamental to educational achievement.

Flipped learning will focus on two keys aspects of learning. Firstly, it will allow time for students to slow down and consolidate recent concepts of learning. Secondly, it will be designated time for students to prepare for the week ahead by engaging in ‘surface level’ tasks, so that there is more time for deeper learning with a teacher when they engage in F2FL each Tuesday to Friday. This approach will be enhanced by a learning cycle that allows for better preparedness for lessons, with fewer interruptions and disruptions throughout the week.

Will there be fewer disruptions throughout the week?

Yes. Learning will look different on a Monday. Most Mondays there will be flipped learning, and on other Mondays we will plan for events, retreats, and externally-run programs that currently ‘stop learning’ or take students out of the classroom. Therefore there will be very few disruptions during Tuesday – Friday learning, which will make a significant difference.

What are the anticipated benefits of a ‘reimagined timetable’?

Through addressing disruptions and rethinking the traditional timetable, BUoT can deliver:

Independence: by working on complex competencies such as Learner Agency, with an emphasis on self-regulation, personal development and time management.

Flexible HSC pathways: through offering early commencement of selected HSC subjects, students can tailor their educational experience and gain more flexibility in their Year 11 and 12 timetable.

Engagement and discovery: deeper engagement and exploration of interests through interest-based electives and passion projects linked to real world learning.

Stronger connections and relationships: students will have access to specific wellbeing programs twice per week (Years 7 and 8).

Self-development: students will develop a clearer understanding of self by interrogating their own Strengths, Interests and Motivations via a new subject called SIM.

Why can’t Monday be flexible, self-directed but at school for everyone? How would this affect the other changes proposed?

We believe that when students are ready (evidenced by achieving the micro-credential) they should be given the space to truly exercise learner agency. One aspect of self-regulation is choosing where one learns. That means allowing students the choice to participate in self-regulated flipped learning from home, but only if they are in Years 10-12, have completed the flipped learning micro-credential, and have parent permission after parents have attended an in-school workshop. This is how they will develop true learner agency that will serve them post school.

Exactly what does the timetable look like for my child on Monday?

For Tuesday to Friday, student timetables will look the same as they currently do.

Learning will look different on some Mondays as outlined below – note these are DRAFT timetables and may change:

What is flipped learning?

Flipped learning is a pedagogical approach in which some surface level activities move from the group learning space to the individual learning space and are completed before the lesson. This frees up more time for the whole group classroom space to become a more dynamic, interactive learning environment, where teachers complement the flipped learning with a range of strategies including more direct instruction where necessary, so that students can apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter.

I feel nervous about my child learning from home on a Monday, why do you think this is important?

Firstly, please know that learning from home is a choice made by you, once the College advises your child is ready. And we do understand nervousness around this change, however, we believe the earlier students learn these skills, the better prepared they will be for their choices beyond school.

Some studies have found that attending an independent school does not provide any advantage in terms of academic performance at university (Li & Dockery 2014). Students from independent schools do not perform as well as expected when they have to work more independently at university. Other Australian studies have consistently found that students who attended independent schools achieve lower grades at university than those students who attended public schools. Another study (Preston, University of Canberra 2014) at one point suggests that, “preparation for life and learning beyond school in private schools (and single-sex schools) relative to state schools (and co-educational schools) is poor, resulting in university performance below ‘underlying ability’.”

These studies further reinforce the need of the College to develop self-regulated learners, so they are better prepared for post school study and life.

Some students lack the maturity or support at home to manage the Monday. How will this be mitigated by the school?

All students in Years 7-12 will be required to complete a detailed and thorough micro-credential course which takes minimum 4-5 weeks to complete. Only students in Years 10-12 who complete the course will have the opportunity to learn from home on a Monday, meaning those students need to earn the right to do so.

The first step will be the attainment of the micro-credential.

The second step will be their parents attending a workshop on site at the College to understand how learning from home will work, before they give permission. These sessions will also include information for parents around keeping students safe online in the home environment.

The third step will be an assessment by the parents, guided by the College, of the space in which the student will be working at home.

The fourth step will be parents granting permission, through a formal process, with an understanding of the duty of care responsibilities for the College and the parents.

How will you and I know my child is managing their time well if they are working at home on Monday?

We will be monitoring how they are keeping up with their work via our Learning Management System (CANVAS), using metrics around the number of clicks/duration of clicks. We will also be monitoring if they are turning up to class with their flipped learning complete, ready to engage in the deeper face to face learning.

What happens if my child is not working well from home on a Monday? What are the consequences?

There will be a process of engagement with the student and parents, as is the case now. However, ultimately, they will lose the privilege, and will then need to re-apply for the micro-credential.

What if I agree to my child working from home, but it doesn’t work. Can they come back to school quickly?

Yes, we will work with you and your child and make the necessary adjustments in a timely manner.

How much access will students have to teachers if they need support while working from home on Monday?

All our teaching staff will be on site engaged in supervision and other work, and therefore access will be minimal, however the work being set is entry level, surface level work (watch a video, read an extract, complete a short quiz), and as such the students should not need access to teaching staff. The micro-credential will also be teaching them to build a level of self-sufficiency with this work.

Can anyone work from home on a Monday?

No – only Years 10-12, and only once they have passed the steps explained above:

  1. micro-credential
  2. workspace assessment
  3. parent agreement and attendance at session.

 

If my child comes to school Monday (because they are in Year 7, 8 or 9, or they prefer to work at school, or they have not earnt the right to work from home), what is the set up going to be like?

The learning will still be self-regulated but addressing the concern around security and safety. More details will follow, but essentially students will be clustered in a group setting with a teacher in larger spaces (halls). This is to promote self-sufficiency.

If we as parents are not home to supervise our children on a school day, who is responsible for the minor? What liability does the school accept for misadventure on this basis?

Parents/carers of students eligible to participate in Teacher Facilitated Flipped Learning from home are required to complete the Home Worksite Self- Assessment Checklist (Parent) and Home Worksite Parent/Guardian Permission and Waiver forms . Parents/carers are encouraged to review these documents carefully to fully inform themselves regarding responsibilities of the parties.

 

 

Student and Staff Preparedness

How will you know when my child is ready for this?

We believe all our students should be given the opportunity to develop Learner Agency. Learner Agency is knowing what to learn, how to learn it and who to learn it from. One of the ways it is developed is through self-regulated flipped learning (see glossary for terms).

Best Use of Time will allow students to develop Learner Agency. We have developed a micro-credential that the students are being supported to attempt to achieve during weeks 2-7 of Term 4. The micro-credential is very detailed, and once achieved, means a student is ready to manage self-regulated flipped learning.

If a student does not achieve the micro-credential the first time, they will be supported to build the skills to achieve it.

Will the teachers be ready for this?

Teacher training and strategic professional learning has already taken place. This is continuing throughout Term 4, and will focus on:

  • high impact teaching strategies shared by Michael McDowell on 23 June and 10 October combined with
  • best practice use of Canvas, our Learning Management System, and
  • knowledge and engagement with flipped learning practices commenced in Term 3 and continuing in Term 4.

Assistant Principal, Rebecca Graham will lead this, closely supported by Assistant Principal – New Ambitions and Innovation, Jo Kirby, and by Leaders of Learning with staff relevant to their subject areas.

Success Factors

How will you decide if the trial is successful - what are the success factors?

We will be engaging an ‘action research partner’ to develop research to determine the success of the trial. Expressions of interest for the research partner were sought by Tuesday 12 September. Measurables could include:

  • Attendance – 2023-2024 comparison, year group comparison from one year to the next.
  • Measures around student self-regulated learning such as self-management, organisation, goal setting, academic performance as well as self-assessment of being active participants in their education, fostering autonomy and taking responsibility for their learning outcomes.
  • Measures around teacher collective efficacy and individual teacher satisfaction.
  • Parent feedback on student engagement and wellbeing when they are learning from home.

What happens if the measures of success deem the trial was unsuccessful?

We can pivot back to our traditional timetable – we go back to what we know – we have a plan B. We only want what is best for our students. This new BUoT model is not the easy option, but we believe it is the best option, and we have nothing to lose – we can switch back any time. In saying that, we are seeing this as a one-year trial and will learn and address any issues and continually enhance and improve.

Early Commencement HSC and Electives

Explain how the early commencement of HSC/VET works.

Early Commencement allows a student to ‘spread’ the requirements of the HSC over a three or even four year period. This is not new. Chevalier has been doing this for some years for some students in some subjects, but mainly in mathematics. There are some other schools who have been doing early commencement for all for some years as well. Chevalier has looked at what’s possible and what’s manageable for students and teachers, and has developed a balanced combination of early commencement available to all students from as early as Year 9.

How does this impact current electives?

Current Year 8 students moving into Year 9 next year will have more choice and flexibility than previous Year 9 students. Their subject offer will be made up of previous traditional electives, new interest electives and early commencement of VET subjects.

Current Year 9 students moving into Year 10 next year will have the choice of maintaining their current electives or dropping one of those electives to choose a ‘passion project’ – a subject which also meets the requirements for early commencement of HSC Design and Technology.

When will we know what new electives will be offered?

Subject selection took place during Term 3 and electives are being finalised through Term 4. ,

School Fees

Will this affect school fees?

The short answer is no, as our main cost – staff – remains unchanged by this model.

Other Settings

Can you share examples of other schools doing similar things?

Many schools are using time flexibly, often consisting of late starts or half days. We have constraints, being regional, and not having access to public transport. Without going into too much detail here, some examples include:

St John XXIII Catholic College, Stanhope Gardens – in place for 2 years

  • On Wednesdays Year 11 and 12 are not on site.
  • They have been working for some time on self-regulation and early commencement of HSC.
  • In the last year many students have used Wednesday differently including 18 students commencing a degree, students doing part-time work, allocating this time to VET hours, and spending time on major projects.

Mater Dei, Wagga

  • Since 2014, Wednesdays are flexible fortnightly for Year 12.
  • For Year 12, the time saved due to early commencement can be used however they choose.
  • Report back is that it is the most settled Year 12 group they have seen. HSC stress is noticeably lower.

St Luke’s, Marsden Park – in place for 2 years

  • 3 late starts per week are offered across the senior college (Years 9-12).
  • They have found that 1/3 of students come in at normal time and study, 1/3 were working from home, 1/3 were enjoying a sleep in and catching up in their own time.

De La Salle, Caringbah – Half day on Wednesdays. Finish at Midday.

  • Dept of Ed – Vic – looking at a 4 day week.
  • 1100 schools in middle America doing 4 longer days (has been running for 6 years).

Glossary

Learner Agency

Knowing what to learn, how to learn it and who to learn it from.

Self-Regulated Learning

Encouraging students to take charge of their learning process, setting goals, managing their time, and monitoring their progress.

Flipped Learning

Where students engage with ‘pre-class’, ‘surface level’ content and arrive to class ready for deeper learning activities. Flipped learning is one strategy which encourages self-regulated learning.

Flipped Learning micro-credential

A credential course developed by Chevalier College that will assess the skills of self-regulation, persistence, reflection, communication and quality thinking. This foundational Course (Bronze) is the first of a series of micro-credentialled courses to attain broader recognition of self-regulation for all learners at Chevalier. Subsequent courses, which are invitational, and aptly named Silver and Gold, increase in complexity as the student progresses.

Interest Elective

Chevalier Interest Electives are courses designed by the College using our facilities, teachers and occasional ‘experts in residence’ to allow students to explore areas of interest. Examples running in Year 9 2024 include: Investment and Wealth (combined with Commerce) and Virtual Reality Architecture.

Passion Project

Passion Projects allow students to explore their passions framed within the Stage 6 Design and Technology Syllabus guidelines. Through hands-on experiences and creative exploration, students will embark on individual journeys to discover what inspires them. Utilising the design process, they will turn their passions into tangible projects while learning valuable skills. This course is not just about learning design and technology.

Face to Face Learning

Students are engaged in the classroom for deeper level learning face to face with a teacher.

Learner Passport

An online platform for secondary students which showcases their strengths, articulates their purpose and sets goals for their future. The Learner Passport contains evidence which supports their growth and development of knowledge domains, technical skills, capabilities and dispositions required for a rapidly changing world.