The Introduction of Student Teams
Strathmore’s student team structure was introduced to the college from the start of 1989. The new arrangements were introduced in an article from the Principal’s bulletin of November 1988.
“Changes to Student Coordination Arrangements for 1989”
We have been reviewing the arrangements we have in place for coordination of students. As you will be aware we currently have a coordinator for each of the year levels with that person being responsible for the operation of the level. There are, however, difficulties with this arrangement. Many of the levels contain too many students for one person to provide individual contact and guidance for all the members of the level; in the past, coordinators remained at a particular year within the school so they spent the calendar year with the group then passed that group on to the next year level, just as they had their best knowledge of the students: we have also had far to many teachers operating at a particular level making it very difficult for coordinators to maintain a uniform and consistent approach to the running of the school.
For next year we are proposing changes to this scheme. We are intending to operate on smaller teams of teachers working with a particular group of students. Under this approach, a team of approximately 10 staff will provide the core subject teaching for a group of students. The coordinator of the group will then work with the staff to provide for the needs of that group. In addition, this arrangement has the advantage of staff being attached to an area of the school for a large section of their teaching time and so provides them with a clearer view of their position within the school. To advance this sense of involvement even further we are proposing the students will remain within the particular teaching group for 3 years. This has the clear advantage of both the coordinator and core staff knowing students well, being aware of their progress over time and understanding the particular needs of that student. In addition, parents will be more familiar with the people responsible for the student’s progress at the school and should therefore feel free to seek any information or to make contact wherever they consider it necessary or desirable to do so. An added bonus of this approach will be interaction of students from a variety of year levels. We will be organising various activities that will see students operating as a group and thus break down the sense of separation the year levels currently display. One of the activities the group will undertake will be a camp during the year and these camps will replace the year level camps that have previously operated. Overall I feel sure that the proposed changes to the coordination of students will greatly improve both the operation of the school and provide students with a stronger sense of place and belonging. This is a particularly important outcome for students during what are generally considered the most difficult and least well catered for years of schooling.”
Thus, our student teams were born and they have become central to the culture of the school.
At first we had four teams covering Years 8 to 10. The teams assumed names within their first year of operation. Two of the teams, Argyll and Stirling, revived names from Strathmore’s four earlier sporting houses. Chisholm, of course, was named in honour of Caroline Chisholm (1808 – 1877), Dunlop in honour of Sir Ernest Edward “Weary” Dunlop (1907 – 1993).
Some years later Year 7 was added as the teams took their current structure of Years 7 to 10. In 2005 the structure was extended to our senior school and a further team (Burnet, named in honour of Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet (1899 – 1985) introduced from Year 7 to deal with an increase in student population that had occurred since 1989.
Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet
Sir Ernest Edward "Weary" Dunlop