What is a good school?

The Treehorn Express

Treehorn? http://primaryschooling.net/?page_id=1924

Theme song:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQj-6F7yPM8


Treehorn Express is dedicated to the cessation of Kleinist NAPLAN testing in Australian.   Kleinism is a New York version of fear-driven schooling which  uses the blanket testing ‘wmd’ called NAPLAN to destroy the reputation of  public schooling.      This weapon was introduced to schools in Australia in 2009. It disrespects children, devalues teachers’ professionalism and threatens the developmental future of Australia.     Ideologically, NAPLAN is immoral, politically driven, curriculum destructive, extremely costly, unprofessional, interruptive and very divisive. It is clearly aimed in a malicious manner  at public schooling and its teachers.  It also strives for mandated, standardised mediocre achievements in only a very few aspects of a full school curriculum in all schools.  It will survive until enough good people say, “Stop it.”

Click on the Naplan site for more details : http://www.nap.edu.au/information/FAQs/index.html


What is a good school?


Two very tall giants of effective schooling in recent times have been John Goodlad [Listed amongst the ‘Fifty Modern Teachers in Education’] of the Washington Univcersity. and Sir Alec Clegg [former CEO of the West Riding of Yorkshire]. Author of over 30 books, his most recent is In Praise of Education. His most famous is an award winner: A Place Called School. There is more detail  and one other view, if you click the site indicated just above.

John Goodlad, in “The School I’d Like To See” says…

*teach the processes of thinking ….”learning to think would be the prime focus of the entire school”.”

*arranged in phases, not grades or year levels

*multi-aged…to give each child to be amongst the oldest and youngest in a group

*phases would be guided by teams led by experienced, qualified teachers

*literacy of learning would transcend any other form of literacy

*different adult models available

*great deal of self-selection of activities

*no marks, scores or grades; no stylised report cards; no external rewards

The school would be concerned with the processes of personal realisation and fulfilment of individual identity, of individuals able to participate in all the richness that could lie ahead.


Sir Alec Clegg discusses “Some School Matters” and present his views of a good school.

*a place of orderliness,involvement and courtesy

*minimal anger; constant sharing and mutual help

*surroundings that add interest and stimulus

*where work is a joy; full opportunities for conversation

*and emphasis on play, with physical skill available to all, but not ruined by excessive competition

The school will be a haven from fear, where honesty prevails; a place to be shared where thought, reason and logic will be pursued in the desire to discover; this desire to be shared by teachers who have a similar liveliness of curiosity. Standards of excellence will be pursued by all.


Where are some examples of good schools?  There are so many of them, despite  political efforts to standardise them and curb their search for excellence. More are refusing to pursue the imposed fear-driven tactics; and their search for excellence is unimpeded.  Many better ones have had to adjust for national blanket testing and their search is curbed. This is the great shame of the 21st century.


Re-form  Compulsory  Schooling.

Start at the classroom.


Re-form   – NOT reform [meaning ‘change’].

RE-FORM. Start the system again. Design it from the knowledge of how children learn in school-room settings. What goes on in each classroom is the only thing that matters. For goodness sake, all you politicians….set things up so that expert classroom operators can consider their task and work on how to do better than we are presently doing. Don’t make decisions on what you think goes on.

Compulsory – The starting age for compulsory attendance needs to be determined by examining the accumulated knowledge of the learning habits of children and how they develop their idiosyncratic learning styles.  Special effort is required for setting the age to start undertaking institutionalised, regular, organised learning habits.  Should there be a completion age?

Schooling – The word ‘education’ is a nondescript word that says nothing important. A child’s education happens all the time during waking hours. A child’s schooling is special, especially when it is forced on you..

Classroom – The place where we force children to spend time so they can learn things and develop their unique styles of learning. To have each classroom work efficiently and effectively is why society appoints Ministers of Education and Secretaries.  The effect of their decisions on what happens in school classrooms is surely their main job. To have classrooms work well is why Principals, Senior Education officials and advisers have a job, also.  Their curriculum [guiding learners through certain learnings] leadership is their main role. This last group needs to know as much about each classroom within their care as possible and to be in them as often as possible. They need to read widely and know more than most about schooling.

The home rooms themselves need to be of a size and shape, and contain sufficient learning material that allows for the full range of teaching strategies. Can you describe an ideal classroom for various age groups and various school activities?


Like to check the recent ‘Treehorns’ ?   Click Recent Posts and Archives links in the sidebar.

Phil Cullen

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point

Australia 2486

07 5524 6443



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s