From time to time, in various forums within our community, we have sought to come up with a quick answer – an ‘elevator pitch’, or ‘barbecue statement’ – to the question, “Why should people choose Preshil over other schools?” Because:
“Preshil provides a progressive and compelling alternative to the outdated
conformity of mainstream schooling.”
We are well positioned in the contemporary educational landscape to respond to the global reimagining of schooling, never having been locked into the factory model approach of many other schools.
Our School culture is not based on a model of standardised industrial training, it is not based on a military establishment of authoritarian discipline or on the traditions of socially elite English boys’ schools.
Preshil was borne out of the Progressive Movement of Europe, England and America at the turn of the twentieth century, emphasising individuality, creative and critical thinking, social inclusion and democratic ideals – all strongly represented in our School today – and by leading contemporary educational thinkers, such as Sir Kenneth Robinson.
We can do what so many other schools can only claim to do, but are prevented from doing by their fixed mind-sets – their unyielding adherence to rigid traditions, authoritarian systems of control, discipline, competition and curriculum locked into the outdated delivery of subject-specific content, dominated by preparation for the VCE
Preshil Is A Truly Independent And Secular School:
We have a mandate to be progressive and have a long-term commitment to a project-based, enquiry approach to learning, with a strong central focus on engaging and accommodating every student as an individual.
- At the Primary School this approach has always been at the core of the program.
- At the Secondary School the adoption of the IB Middle Years Program leading to the IB Diploma builds on this early approach positioning them as collaborative, creative and critical thinkers well able to engage with contemporary global ideas and skills.
At Preshil, wellbeing and a confident sense of self-worth are integral to the idea of success. Academic achievement is not at the expense of health and wellbeing. The School has long been known as a centre for creativity and for a strong artistic tradition in the visual and performing arts. Our students are supported to challenge ideas, question conventional wisdom and set their own goals, qualities which are fundamental to a growth-mindset and problem solving.
Our Parents are not afraid to question mainstream schooling. They have made decisions based on strong educational ideals for their children. They are astute, well-informed people who want their children to achieve at the highest levels and they know that this should not be at the expense of their wellbeing.
Our parents do not confuse excellence in education with social status, impressive buildings or glossy marketing. They are not prepared to subject their children to a ‘whatever it takes’ approach to a high ATAR score and are not seeking the safety of ‘the old school tie’ as a pathway to a social milieu of privilege.
Our Teachers – We attract vibrant individuals who are excited to be at a school where they can really engage with their students. They want to get to know their students and help them to flourish as learners and to earn the respect of they need to be effective teachers. They set out to gain the trust and confidence students need if they are to ask for help, take up challenges and know they are acknowledged as successful learners.
The IB programmes require rigorous and ongoing professional development; our teachers engage in a global network of educators, sharing extraordinary resources and opportunities for international collaboration.
Our Students expect to be treated with respect for their individual differences. They are able to pursue their own passions in learning within a challenging and engaging curriculum. Our students formulate their own ideas, they are encouraged to question, to take risks and to make and learn from their mistakes.
They tell us that they are able to be themselves at Preshil. They have a strong sense of stewardship for the School facilities and are not prevented from ‘making themselves at home’!
What We Don’t Do At Preshil
- We do not uphold discriminatory practices based on religious belief; we can genuinely welcome all spiritual faiths and backgrounds and support inclusive social practices.
- We do not require our students to address teachers as ‘Sir’ or any other titles which denote superior rank or deference.
- We don’t require our teachers to punish poor learning or non-conformity or to police petty rules. We are not stuck with systems of oppressive gender stereotyping represented by male and female uniforms.
- We don’t require, or want, all our students to look the same. We don’t expect 18 year old young men to remain in regulation shorts and long socks or 5 year olds to be constrained in oversized uniforms which make them look like quaint mascots, miniature replicas of old people.
- We don’t confuse learning with discipline.
- We don’t rank our students into hierarchies of winners and losers, in their learning, their abilities or in their personalities.
- We don’t anoint leaders, privilege giftedness or outstanding sporting ability. We don’t prevent students from having a go in case their poor performance somehow tarnishes the School’s reputation.
- We are not stuck with facilities which lock classes into conventional factory-model structures.
- We do not measure the success of our School, students or teachers by discredited league tables and superficial standardised tests.
- We don’t believe obedience and compliance are more important than individual wellbeing, engagement and self-expression.
While Preshil may have changed dramatically during its 85 year history to reflect the changing society around it, at its heart it is still committed to the core elements that set it apart since its inception.
To find out more about this highly regarded and much-loved school, please read our Key Aspects