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Lucy Gowdie

Lucy Gowdie

Peninsula Grammar, VIC

Learn. Grow. Flourish! Targeting growth in the middle years

‘Quod Bonum Tenete: Hold fast to that which is good’ is the enduring motto of Peninsula Grammar. It sits at the nucleus of our evolutionary approach to 21st-century teaching and learning. The school aims to meet the challenges of the present, in order to best prepare its students for the future. The creation of a middle-years teaching and learning framework focused on growth, through targeting the individual learner and challenging traditional notions of best classroom practice.

Change was driven by key questions:

  • How do we cater purposefully to this generation of free-thinking, technological learners?
  • How do we engage them in meaningful learning when all of the answers are but a mouse click away?
  • How do we construct critical, creative thinkers when they buy into popular perspectives without query or question?

By removing the shackles of tradition, challenging the status quo and pushing the envelope in all different directions, we empowered not only our students, but our educators to learn, grow and flourish.

This presentation is focused on the design, implementation and assessment of this framework, which has at its core, the growth and success of every learner. Research centered on growth mindsets, the importance of measuring teacher impact and investigations into learning continuums and developmental taxonomies. From this research, an informed, evidence-based process of teaching, assessing and reporting was developed. The design fundamentally shifted approaches to teaching and learning: from a culture of isolation to one of constructive collaboration; from a one-size-fits-all model to a targeted focus on teaching at the point of need. The framework recalibrated the role of teacher and learner over the course of the year and highlighted the urgency of meaningful change.

The framework was implemented in 2016, and targeted the Year 5 cohort. The school measured the the students' learning against criterion for targeted areas of growth, to ensure the new curriculum processes and procedures were effective at the specific point of need.

The outcomes were as significant for the educators as they were for the students. All students exhibited growth across the learning continuum, some as many as two levels (within the Victorian Curriculum) in one academic year. The educators adopted a broader perspective of who they needed to be in their classroom and learnt the importance of evaluating their impact with a more collegial, confident and critical lens. Through shared successes – and more importantly, failures – the team was unified in its purpose and desire to see the framework succeed. ‘Hold fast to that which is good’ has taken on new meaning in the hallways and classrooms of Peninsula Grammar.

Professional practice
Whole school (F–12)


Lucy Gowdie is the Deputy Head of Middle Years: Learning and Curriculum, at Peninsula Grammar on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria. Lucy has more than 15 years’ experience in both Australian and international settings. She is a passionate advocate for the empowerment of every educator. She believes the educator's role is to champion the capacity of every student to grow and experience success throughout the learning journey. Her current focus is redesigning curriculum for a contemporary context, through targeting areas of growth within a data-driven, skills-based evolutionary learning design.  

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