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The purpose of this study is to report the impact of the pedagogical processes and organisational changes made as a result of professional learning strategies that have been adopted and developed by the Wagga Wagga Catholic Schools Office (CSO) primary schools. Since 1994, more than 95% of primary school teachers of the twenty seven primary schools in the Wagga Wagga CSO system of schools have participated in a targeted and intensive professional learning program called an "Institute". Within each Institute, participant teachers were encouraged to adapt and implement learning community philosophies and strategies under the direction of external consultants. From these activities, a CSO core document, 'Today's Children, Tomorrow's Adults' was developed, which defined the principles and practices for effective learning and teaching to be adopted within all CSO schools. This study investigates how the Learning Communities Institute became a means of effecting educational change. A combination of qualitative and quantitative methodologies was employed to collect data for this research. Teachers, students and parents were provided with an opportunity to reflect, dialogue and comment on their experiences of effective learning and teaching strategies identified in 'Today's Children, Tomorrow's Adults'. The data collected for this investigation indicated that varying degrees of success were observed in pockets across CSO primary schools. Where the Institute experience was followed by spaced, on-site follow-up and professional dialogue with the external consultants over a period of time, teachers became confident and prepared to take risks by embedding the learning and teaching principles and practices of 'Today's Children, Tomorrow's Adults' into their classroom structure and planning. It was also observed that these pockets of success were found in schools where the principal was leading and supporting the school's learning community journey. Additionally it was found that attending an Institute alone does not guarantee educational change. This experience, however, gave participants strong professional support. This was seen in the context of the study to promote collaborative leadership practices which have in time led to substantive educational change within the Wagga Wagga system of Catholic Schools. Change becomes a reality when there was a whole school approach to learning and teaching supported by collaborative leadership practices, structures and encouragement, while at the same time accompanied by system leadership, financial and policy support.


School of Education

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Open Access

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Master of Philosophy (MPhil)


Faculty of Education

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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