Calamvale Community College – a first generation Independent Public School

The Independent Public Schools Initiative is currently under review, with the possibility of any review being that the initiative might cease. Below is an overview of what this initiative has meant to our College.

The Independent Public Schools (IPS) initiative was the Queensland Government’s response to this statement, and it has positioned us at the forefront of the innovative reshaping of education practice and policy. IP Schools are high-potential schools that are selected on the basis of their growth, performance, and demonstrated ability to innovate and share good practice across the state education system. Once selected, these schools are proffered greater autonomy and operational flexibility, whilst maintaining the same core values as other state schools.

Calamvale Community College has been a first generation Independent Public School (IPS) since this Queensland Government initiative began in 2013. From this time, the College has taken many opportunities to maximise the learning outcomes, wellbeing and success of its 2100 students.

The College Council is a demonstration of the enhanced local governance and autonomy which enabled the restructure of the three phases of learning to enable staff expertise to be applied in a 7-12 timetable. This has directly improved student outcomes, comprehensive preparation across Years 7 to 12, and increased opportunities for Junior School students to gain specialist tuition in the Arts and STEAM subjects.

The financial and operational flexibility has allowed the College to seek out and employ staff whose skills match the needs of students, new programs, and the College as a whole. This includes the employment of experts in STEAM subjects, as well as English Language tuition to support students from multicultural and non-English speaking backgrounds. Invoking increased flexibility has always been tempered as per the IPS Framework. The College is guided as always by an adherence to transparency and accountability structures, and as such has worked collaboratively with both the School Council and the Local Consultative Committee.

The ability to shape its own strategic direction has seen the College moulding globalised, future-minded students by trialling of innovative practices and programs. In 2016, we introduced Immersion Mandarin from Prep to Year 2, which exposes our youngest, most enthusiastic learners to a new language and fosters their linguistic and cultural interests. Similarly, the College now possesses an enhanced capacity to engage with the global community, and this has led to the substantial growth of its International Student Program. The College’s international base has grown from 5 students in 2015, to now 75 long-term students in 2018. The College continues to develop the international mindedness and cultural sensitivity of its students with study tours, live classroom collaborations with international schools, and professional visits from teachers, principals, and educational boards from across the globe.

Greater flexibility and autonomy to tailor curriculums has allowed us to cater to the needs of our students, and anticipate and apply innovative trends in education. The Playgroup – a new preparatory program – nurtures the language and social skills of the College’s youngest students, and allows them to fully engage with their learning from a young age. Pending successful authorisation,the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years and Diploma Programmes will also provide interested and capable students with comprehensive, internationally recognised qualifications that will allow them to pursue study and career options both at home and abroad. From second language acquisition through to community service projects, the sheer breadth of the IB program is conducive to fostering the international sensitivity, mobility, and cultural awareness of all candidates. The IB endorses a student-focused perspective of inquiry and learning, through which all candidates emerge as future leaders.

Schools like Calamvale Community College are also supported by the IPS Alliance – a collaborative initiative of principals from Queensland’s 250 IP Schools, governed by an elected Executive Group. The Alliance seeks to complement the independence of its respective schools with empowered leadership and meaningful collaboration. It also provides IP Schools with the capacity to both individually and collectively improve student learning, equity, and wellbeing. By harnessing their collective capacity to influence state-wide change, the Alliance seeks to share good practice across the state school system.

Through IPS we feel that both Calamvale Community College and Education Queensland have been the beneficiaries of our involvement in the initiative. We urge you as our community to support the Independent Public Schools program in whatever way you are able to do so.

Lisa Starmer
College Principal