Varsity College enters exciting era as an independent school

21 Nov
Varsity College graduate Samantha Azzopardi is excited to see the autonomous, community-based model for the school in 2014.

Varsity College graduate Samantha Azzopardi is excited to see the autonomous, community-based model for the school in 2014.

By Nikkie Shike, Bond University Journalism Student

Varsity College is one of 54 Queensland public schools to leave the state system next year and join another 26 schools in the government’s $21 million Independent Public Schools Initiative.

Queensland Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek said in a statement that 26 Queensland schools that became independent earlier this year have already set a great precedent, achieving improved student results by pioneering creative ways to address the needs of school communities.

Executive Principal of Varsity College Jeff Davis said the offer was too good to refuse, with Varsity College using its newfound freedom to put innovative programs and increased community participation on the agenda for next year.
“I believe a school should create a community by serving a community, and this is what Varsity College aims to do,” he said.
“Varsity College has always encouraged community participation, but now parents and community members can attend meetings where they have the opportunity to debate and speak about decisions for the school.”
Varsity graduate Samantha Azzopardi said the college would benefit from input from the tight-knit Varsity Lakes community.
“I live in the area and I have found that the community is very much connected to the school,” she said.
“Families live, learn, and work in the area and even after I have graduated, I still feel connected to the school.
“If anything, I think greater community participation beyond P&C meetings would be great for the school as almost everyone in the school community is affected by school decisions.”
Mr Davis said the move towards increased autonomy has meant that Varsity College can present opportunities more freely, with new facilities and programs on the horizon for 2014.
“We are planning to open a new facility on the primary school with 14 new rooms based on modern open architecture for the 2015 school year,” he said.
“There will also be a new specialized math and science academy to for high achieving students aspiring to enter into math and science based careers.”
Among these innovations is the Microsoft Windows 8 schools program, where students from preschool to year 12 will be exposed to a ‘touch and pen’ tablet method of learning.
Mr Davis said Varsity College is always looking for ways to produce more well-rounded students, with the Microsoft program offering an individualized dimension to learning.
“Collaborative learning is what we aim to achieve here,” he said.
“We are very much in touch with technology and the students, especially in a world where technology is so important.
“If students are absent, they can access their work, and students can also work at their own pace.”
Samantha said the Windows program, which was first introduced when she was a student, ensured that she was ready for the technology-dominated world of employment and further education.
“The Windows computer program prepared me for the real world where computers and the know-how with technology is a prerequisite for basically everything,” she said.
“The Windows computer program not only let me learn at my own pace, it enhanced the quality of my education by allowing me to access more information as I learnt in class.” 

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