We hope you enjoy this blog post by our vice-president and conference convenor – TIna Photakis who has been lucky enough to spend some time visiting Silverton Primary School and its principal, Tony Bryant. Tony is one of the fantastic keynote speakers who you will be able to hear speak at the upcoming CEGSA state conference.

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of visiting the inspirational Tony Bryant, principal of Silverton primary school and one of our keynotes for the CEGSA2012 State conference. A colleague of mine, Jillian and I went along to the school for the most amazing tour by Tony himself and we were both very impressed with what we saw, starting with the friendly office staff and information television screens in the front office . We were free to ask questions and to interact with both students and staff and we had some great conversations.

Silverton primary school is a dynamic school where all students are engaged and passionate about their learning. All areas of the curriculum are covered, with a strong Arts focus that included instrumental music, dance and visual arts programs.

An obvious presence was the innovative use of ICT to support the students’ learning, especially in the media centre where we saw the state of the art television and recording studios and an FM radio station. There was a teacher working with one group of students in front of a full sized green screen and camera, and the other students were doing an excellent job of managing their learning and staying focussed on their radio broadcasting and music recording. It was a hub of activity and each student was learning in a stimulating, collaborative environment.

Silverton 2We also spent time in the junior school area and I was especially interested in the inquiry based learning that was happening with the younger students. They were all researching a topic of their choice and there was a strong presence of personalised learning. The flexible learning spaces afforded many different types of learning opportunities, including student choice of learning areas and tools, with the diverse use of technology. Once again, any student we spoke to was able to confidently state what they were learning and were clearly engaged. Within such a busy and productive learning environment there is a strong element of trust and the students showed great responsibility.

The teachers we spoke to were enthusiastic and clearly enjoyed their work, students and school environment. I asked Tony about his staff and if anyone ever transferred out and he answered that if staff do leave they go onto leadership positions, the way it should be.

Silverton 1I have visited many schools during my career but I must say that Jillian and I left Silverton primary school with excellent impressions of how a 12 year collaborative vision can produce an amazing learning environment bringing students into the real world and supporting them to be lifelong learners.

If you ever get the chance to visit Silverton primary school, I highly recommend that you do it. If not you have a great chance to hear and work with Tony at the 2012 CEGSA State conference.