This is what we believe:
The most worthwhile journey of life is the one from ignorance to awareness, or understanding, or wisdom.
The journey from ignorance to knowledge is also a worthwhile journey, but a wasted one if the knowledge is of no significance.
A school should reinvent itself every day. A school should have a sense of humour. A school should be full of surprises.
Relationships are at the heart of any meaningful learning experience.
A school should be open to the world, with daily traffic between the two. A school should seek to enrich the world, and to be enriched by it.
A school should be a community where adults and adolescents and children coexist in an affectionate atmosphere of mutual respect. The dominant culture should not be one where inexperienced young people determine the values and attitudes of each other, but one in which mature, thoughtful and creative adults set high standards and model appropriate behaviour.
Schools should nurture the spiritual, emotional, mental and physical health of students. Students should feel safe in school, but at the same time schools should be adventurous. “Take care, take risks” expresses the idea of adventure without recklessness, looking after oneself and others without timidity.
We honour learning. We promote rigour in the classroom, high levels of academic and intellectual work and discussion, and the development of self disciplined study. At the same time we recognise that everyone has different abilities and that few things are more degrading to the human spirit than constant failure. We are committed to the success of our students.
We value the desire of every young person to become a successful adult, and the drive for growth that is in all young people. We accept our responsibility to nurture them and to support and encourage that drive. We value the experiences, attitudes, thoughts and feelings that are unique to children, and we accept our responsibility to provide space, both in a literal and metaphorical sense, for these to flourish.
We honour the aesthetic. We look for powerful creative self-expression, recognising that beauty may not always be comfortable, and that the dark and troubling can have their own beauty.
All the members of a school are responsible for it. This responsibility includes the health of all who pass through the school gates, as well as the physical fabric of the school.
Contact with the earth is of itself good. It’s okay to get muddy or dirty.
Food is important. Good food is better than bad food. The preparation and serving of food is important, and it’s appropriate to have rituals for these parts of our lives.
We unapologetically recognise Christmas as a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, and we acknowledge that Easter is the time when the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are honoured by Christians. We are non-denominational. We respect the belief systems of Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Hindu, and we aim to give students a good understanding of world religions.
We recognise the importance of ritually acknowledging the growth of young people through childhood and adolescence, and in particular acknowledge students who have achieved prescribed levels, learned specific skills, and reached an appropriate level of maturity, so that they become senior members of the school community.
We are responsible for conducting the school and caring for students in such a way that they can move from this school into, or back into, other schools, with skills that will enable them to succeed socially and academically; indeed we expect that the strength of character, academic standards, generosity of spirit, and self-discipline of our students will enable them to be more-than-usually successful in their further studies and their lives. We teach the standard Victorian curriculum, leading to the award of the VCE at the end of year 12. And then some.
We try to do everything well. Competitive sport is part of the school’s program. When we play sport with other schools one of our many objectives is to win our matches. Losing all the time is not good for human beings.
We expect this school to have particular interest for the following students:
- Those who have a highly developed interest in writing, drama, and reading.
- Those who have a strong creative drive.
- Those who are bored or under-stimulated by other schools.
- Those who think they would enjoy an active outdoors-style education.
- Those who would like their teachers to be approachable, knowledgeable, committed and positive.
WHAT WE ARE NOT
We are not a school without rules, a free school, a hippie school. We expect students to be on time for lessons, with the right equipment, and ready to learn.
We are not a new age school. We don’t read tea-leaves, and ouija boards are not on the curriculum.
We have no affiliation to religious cults, strange sects, fundamentalist organisations or political parties. We are closer to the Simpsons than to the Mormons.
We are not a democracy. We have a clear understanding of what we want and how to get there. Suggestions for change and improvements will be received with interest, unless we have had a bad day, in which case they may be received with a certain lack of grace.
“Fun” is not a word that we use very often. People looking for fun might be better advised to consult the Yellow Pages under the heading “Clowns”. On the other hand, we know how powerfully motivation affects learning. Enjoyment of an activity can of course significantly improve learning capacity, but other motivations can be powerful too. For example, understanding that an activity is important can be highly motivating. Recognising that there is a greater purpose to an activity can be highly motivating.
The motto of Melbourne High School, `Honor the Work’, is one that we too respect and acknowledge.