This term I have written and spoken many times about the joys of being back together physically after so many months of remote learning last year. I have focussed in particular on the activities and events that we have been able to enjoy together, the importance of re-establishing cross-age programs and the benefits of seeing parents and caregivers face to face once again. The main aspect of 2021 that I have reflected on this week, however, has been how wonderful it has been to be back on-site for classroom learning. The educational research of John Hattie and Robert Marzano, informs us that student learning outcomes improve when they can discuss concepts with their peers and when they have positive relationships with their teachers. Both these things were facilitated last year via the various platforms employed in remote learning, but they can happen in much richer ways when the girls and staff are present together in the room!

Last year, teaching staff developed their practice in unprecedented ways to ensure they could deliver a program to girls at home. They gained new knowledge and skills and integrated these into what they already understood about teaching and learning. This year, our teachers have focussed on re-establishing practices that were not possible last year and have honed their skills in face to face classrooms to ensure that girls have an optimal learning experience. We are so fortunate to have such a capable group of practitioners here at Lowther Hall: They are not only highly skilled in their craft, but each of them has a passion and a commitment to keep developing their practice. During Term 1 they have undertaken voluntary professional learning, participated in team meetings to compare their approaches and this week, they have each commenced an action research project that will allow them to further refine a specific area of their teaching throughout the next 2 terms. I am incredibly proud of our teachers and I know that our girls’ learning is in excellent hands.

Ms Elisabeth Rhodes