Teaching & Learning


At Malvern Central School, we have a progressive approach to Teaching and Learning. As a state government school, it is well positioned to draw on the most current and recognised teaching and learning theories and practices. We are able to access the best available education and technological resources to support our students to enjoy holistic learning as a lifelong endeavour. Framed by the Victorian Curriculum learning areas and capabilities, Melbourne Central School is invested in taking their students thinking and learning from surface to deep level using SOLO Taxonomy as well as explicitly developing an awareness of their strengths and emotions through Positive Education. Our philosophy is to utilise both collective and individual learning approaches that challenge and nurture the children within our school. For more information: https://victoriancurriculum.vcaa.vic.edu.au/


SOLO Taxonomy

SOLO stands for the Structure of Observed Learning Outcomes. It is a framework created by educational researchers John B Biggs and Kevin Collis and describes the various levels of understanding that a student will work through as they move from surface to deep knowledge. These levels correspond with a metacognitive language, which allows teachers to develop students who can ‘think about thinking’.


Why use the SOLO Taxonomy?

There are a variety of reasons why Malvern Central School has adopted the SOLO Taxonomy:

  • It allows students to develop the ability to think about thinking and talk about their learning. Research suggests that developing these capacities will enhance student achievement.
  • Deep level understanding is an essential component of meaning making in Primary and Secondary settings. Students are given the opportunities to move from recall based questioning (Eg., identify, list) towards questions that require a deeper level of understanding (Eg., Compare and contrast, evaluate).
  • By aligning all classes to the SOLO Taxonomy ensures that the school has a common language or learning and students can develop this language as they move from class to class and from Foundation to year 6.


The study of English is central to the learning and development of all young Australians. It helps create confident communicators, imaginative thinkers and informed citizens. It is through the study of English that individuals learn to analyse, understand, communicate and build relationships with others and with the world around them. Those who will take responsibility for Australia’s future. Standards in the English domain are organised in three dimensions:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking and listening

The learning in these dimensions is interrelated. For example, Speaking and listening contribute to the development of students’ reading responses. Writing contributes to communication about texts read or viewed and to reflection and learning. To help support student progress in all three dimensions, learning contexts are diverse and include situations that are informal, formal, planned and spontaneous.


The Reading dimension involves students understanding, interpreting, critically analysing, reflecting upon, and enjoying written and visual, print and non-print texts. It encompasses reading and viewing a wide range of texts and media, including literary texts such as novels, short stories, poetry and plays as well as popular fiction and non-fiction works, newspapers and magazines, illustrations, posters and charts, film and television and the texts associated with information and communications technology. Reading involves active engagement with texts and the development of knowledge about the relationship between them and the contexts in which they are created. It also involves the development of knowledge about a range of strategies for reading.


The Writing dimension involves students in the active process of conceiving, planning, composing, editing and publishing a range of texts including writing for print and electronic media and performance. Writing involves using appropriate language for particular purposes or occasions, both formal and informal, to express and represent ideas, issues, arguments, events, experience, character, emotion and information and to reflect on such ideas. It involves the development of knowledge about strategies for writing and the conventions of Standard Australian English. Students develop a metalanguage to discuss language conventions and use.

Speaking and listening

This dimension refers to the various formal and informal ways oral language is used to convey and receive meaning. It involves the development and demonstration of knowledge about the appropriate oral language for particular audiences and occasions, including body language and voice. It also involves the development of active-listening strategies and an understanding of the conventions of different spoken texts including everyday communication, group discussion, formal presentations and speeches, storytelling and negotiating.


Science, technology, engineering and mathematics – covers a wide range of disciplines and skills, which are increasingly in demand in our rapidly changing world. STEM skills and knowledge are important for all stages of our learning, jobs and everyday lives.

STEM education and training covers the specific knowledge and skills found in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines. It also covers the interrelationship between these areas, allowing learning to be delivered in an integrated way, helping a deeper engagement in the four disciplines.

At Malvern Central School, STEM knowledge and skills are taught through the Victorian Curriculum in Mathematics, Science, Design and Technologies, and Digital Technologies from Foundation to year 6. STEM education also develops capabilities such as critical and creative thinking, collaboration and ethical decision making.


The Science curriculum provides opportunities for students to develop an understanding of important scientific concepts and processes, the practices used to develop scientific knowledge, the contribution of science to our culture and society, and its applications in our lives. The curriculum has two interrelated strands: Science Understanding and Science Inquiry Skills. Together, the two strands of the science curriculum provide students with understanding, knowledge and skills through which they can develop a scientific view of the world.

At Malvern Central School the study of Science is not a stand-alone subject, but integrated into the Units of Inquiry. All year levels, from Foundation to Year 6 enjoy the opportunity to experience one session of Science per week in a fully functioning ‘lab’; a legacy from our years as a Central school accommodating secondary students. Students study a wide range of topics including life cycles, states of matter, energy, natural resources and sustainability.


The use of a large range of learning technologies supports all programs enjoyed by the students at Malvern Central School. With the inclusion of the Digital Technologies domain of the Victorian Curriculum, students are encouraged to make decisions about the development and use of technologies, consider the impacts of technological change and how technologies may contribute to a sustainable future. Malvern Central School is committed to implementing the Digital Technologies Curriculum with our ICT resources by:

  • Access to iPads and laptop computers in Foundation to Grade 2
  • Subscriptions to programs including Mathletics, Study Ladder, Reading Eggs and Scratch
  • Access to laptops in Grade 3 to 6
  • Interactive Whiteboards or HD Screens in every learning space
  • Use of coding tools such as Arduino boards
  • Lunchtime Coding Club from Foundation – Year 6
  • Robotics

Having access to readily available devices and when used effectively, students are able to personalise and transform their learning and equip them with the technical competencies and cybersafety skills to be smart, safe and responsible cyber-citizens.



The Mathematics curriculum at Malvern Central School focuses on developing increasingly sophisticated and refined mathematical understanding, fluency, reasoning, modelling and problem-solving. These capabilities enable students to respond to familiar and unfamiliar situations by employing mathematics to make informed decisions and solve problems efficiently.

The curriculum ensures that the links between the various components of mathematics, as well as the relationship between mathematics and other disciplines, are made clear. Mathematics is composed of multiple but interrelated and interdependent concepts and structures which students apply beyond the mathematics classroom. For example, in Science, understanding sources of error and their impact on the confidence of conclusions is vital; in Geography, interpretation of data underpins the study of human populations and their physical environments; in History, students need to be able to imagine timelines and time frames to reconcile related events; and in English, deriving quantitative, logical and spatial information is an important aspect of making meaning of texts

Maths Active School Accreditation

Malvern Central School is proud to be accredited by the Maths Association of Victoria as a Maths Active School. The accreditation is a way to recognise and support schools who demonstrate effective learning and teaching practices in mathematics.
For more information about the accreditation please see – https://www.mav.vic.edu.au/what-does-a-maths-active-school-look-like.html

Specialist Classes

Physical Education

Physical Education sessions aim to develop students’ general fitness and game skills to allow a broad range of physical development. A major component of these sessions is to develop students’ ability to work in teams and their understanding of good sportsmanship.

Our intention is to get as many students active and engaged in sport as possible. The aim of the program is for less emphasis on winning and results, and more emphasis on having a go and having fun. MCS provides students with the opportunity to participate in school sporting carnivals throughout the school year.

a. F-6 Cross Country in Malvern Gardens

b. 3-6 Swimming Carnival

c. F-6 Athletics Carnival

d. 5-6 Interschool Sports

This gives our students the opportunity to showcase their skills in a supportive and engaging atmosphere.

Interschool Sports is for students to learn about new sports, develop relationships and teamwork skills, develop and display good sportsmanship and most importantly to have fun

Throughout the year, students will be given opportunities to carry out self and peer assessments.

LOTE | Japanese

Japanese has been the LOTE subject of Malvern Central School since 1989. All students F-6 at Malvern Central School attend a 50 minute Japanese session once a week. The lessons take place in the beautiful Japanese room. Our Japanese program promotes student engagement in language learning and cultural awareness along with songs, stories, games, arts and crafts. The Japanese program is linked where possible, with classroom themes, through whole class and small group activities. Students also participate in a whole school cultural day once every two years.

The Arts

The Arts are unique, expressive, creative and communicative forms of expression that engage students in critical and creative thinking and help them understand themselves and the world.

Visual Arts

Using a variety of techniques, materials and media, students in the Visual Art classroom create a range of works that allow them to explore culture, humanity and the world around them. With inspiration taken from a number of influential artists (past and present), students also develop an ability to appreciate a broad range of art styles and forms.

The aim is to create an atmosphere in which students are able to develop self-esteem to gain enjoyment and satisfaction in the production of their art work. Individuality is encouraged and students are given opportunities to explore a variety of media and develop skills.

The Arts at MCS

The Arts are unique, expressive, creative and communicative forms of expression that engage students in critical and creative thinking and help them understand themselves and the world.

Visual Arts

Using a variety of techniques, materials and media, students in the Visual Art classroom create a range of works that allow them to explore culture, humanity and the world around them. With inspiration taken from a number of influential artists (past and present), students also develop an ability to appreciate a broad range of art styles and forms.

The aim is to create an atmosphere in which students are able to develop self-esteem to gain enjoyment and satisfaction in the production of their art work. Individuality is encouraged and students are given opportunities to explore a variety of media and develop skills.

Performing Arts

In Performing Arts we aim to give our students experiences that will make them comfortable performing in front of their peers and the wider community. Through Drama, Music and Dance students have the opportunity to explore their own creativity and express their ideas in an accepting and supportive environment. Our students are encouraged to work collaboratively in groups to create various performances to present to their peers and at assemblies. Students are supported to critically explore and reflect on their own work and that of their peers to enhance their performances. All students are given the opportunity to be involved in school productions, instrumental classes, dance classes, performances at our school fair, performances at our end of year concert and our school choir. At MCS we believe imagination and creativity, pivotal to the Arts, are essential for the development of our students.


Malvern Central School has a comprehensive assessment schedule to ensure effective monitoring of student learning. Students are assessed against the learning outcomes of the Victorian Curriculum. Semester progress reports are delivered in June and December via Compass. In addition, students showcase their learning through mini-exhibitions to which the school community are invited. Students also reflect on their learning through their portfolios and their three way conferences where students share selected work samples from their portfolio, outlining successes and future learning goals.

Flexible Learning Spaces

Our mission to create independent, collaborative and contemporary thinkers with a passion for learning who make positive contributions as global citizens in an ever changing world, is what underpins everything we do at Malvern Central School. We are here to instruct, encourage, engage and inspire your children in a teaching and learning environment that is dynamic and meets the individual needs of your children. We understand you have many questions about the space and how it will benefit your child’s education. We hope this information will help to alleviate any concerns and give clarity about the way the space is used and why.

Why do we have flexible learning spaces at MCS?

Our students work in contemporary flexible learning spaces that are newly refurbished with the aid of the National Building – Economic Stimulus Plan which committed $3.2 million through the Building the Education Revolution (BER) program at Malvern Central School.

As educators our aim is to prepare students for the world in which they will live, learn and grow and in order to do this we can no longer teach in a 19th century way. The flexible learning spaces reflects current Department of Education and Training research and knowledge on 21st century teaching and learning practices which helps to prepare students for the skills they will need in the future such as collaboration, communication, critical thinking, problem solving, character, citizenship and creativity. We are able to differentiate, target and extend the learning of all students through collaboration and common goals. Students are able to work in their home room or as part of a larger cohort which provides them the opportunity to increase their choice of learning partners as well as increasing their friendship possibilities. The overall aim and purpose is to improve student learning outcomes.

How do students learn in a flexible learning space?

It is empowering for students to understand themselves as learners and have control and responsibility over where they learn. In a flexible environment students build independent learning behaviours and develop a strong understanding of themselves as learners. Our students have the option to move around, work at tables, on the floor, in small groups, on stools as well as standing. Teachers continuously work with students in an ongoing capacity to help them build their skills in independence and understanding of themselves as learners and how they learn best.


Wellbeing Mission

At Malvern Central School we believe:

  • Each child has the right to be valued and treated with respect.
  • Each child has the right to participate in a kind, healthy and safe environment.
  • Each child has the right to develop in a positive learning space.
  • Each child has the right to be valued as an individual, to be cared for, trusted and encouraged to express themselves in a supportive school environment.

For the full version of the MCS Wellbeing Strategy presentation, please visit the link below:

The Resilience Project

2019 will see the implementation of The Resilience Project to support the Wellbeing of our students. It involves the delivery of emotionally engaging programs to schools, providing evidence -based, practical strategies to build resilience and happiness. The lessons in the resilience project primary Curriculum are focuses on four key strategies.

1. Gratitude – Appreciating what you have, not focusing on what you don’t have.

2. Empathy (Kindness) – The capacity to understand and feel what another person is feeling and needs.

3. Mindfulness -The ability to be calm, present and choosing what you focus on.

4. Emotional Literacy -The ability to label out emotions as we are experiencing them..

The Resilience Project curriculum has been designed by teachers for teachers and aligned with the Victorian and Australian Curriculum standards and frameworks. The Resilience Project curriculum addresses aspects of achievement standards in the Personal and Social Capabilities learning area and the Health and Physical education learning area.

Circle Time for Emotional Literacy

To support building emotional literacy in our students and working in conjunction with The Resilience Project, teachers will also be including sessions of ‘circle time’ twice a week. As Sue Roffey explains,

“It is a structured framework for group interaction, one that enables students to ‘think reflectively and creatively; talk together about important issues, grow to have understanding about themselves and others and over time to develop knowledge and skills they can put into practice”

Each session is carefully planned around a specific theme or issue that may have arisen in class. By giving students agency, helps to change an ‘external locus of control’, where a person believes that everything just happens to them (good things happen by chance and bad things are someone else’s fault) to an ‘internal locus of control’, which is a belief that a person’s own actions and efforts can effect change. 

Positive Education

Positive Education is an approach to teaching the Personal and Social Capability of the Victorian Curriculum and is essential in enabling students to understand themselves and others, and manage their relationships, lives, work and learning more effectively. Positive Education brings together Positive Psychology with best practice teaching to encourage and support individuals, schools and communities to flourish.

In 2011, staff, students and parents at Malvern Central School began the Positive Psychology journey in order to improve wellbeing across the school, following the school’s two Assistant Principals engaging with this area of psychology through their Masters’ studies in Educational Leadership. Since this time Malvern Central has developed a comprehensive and successful wellbeing program across each learning area.

Foundation to Year 2 is a pivotal age of development during which students need to be supported to be equipped to identify and understand their emotions and learn to respond appropriately. The Kimochis are a Social and Emotional Learning tool that help students “identify, understand and manage their feelings in a fun and comfortable way. They give students the opportunity to express themselves as they learn about appropriate feelings-driven behaviours and how to manage these.” (Kimochis, 2011).

With Foundation to Year 2 students being immersed in Kimochis and embedding their understanding of emotions, the natural progression has been to support students to begin to understand Character Strengths and the role they play in developing them as learners.

Character Strengths
Through the introduction of Character Strengths the Year 3 and 4 students have been engaged in learning experiences to develop their knowledge of what strengths are and why knowledge of them are important. Once this understanding has been built, the students have then focused on developmentally appropriate Character Strengths as identified by the VIA (Values In Action) conducted research.

The Year 5 and 6 students start their journey each year by completing the ‘VIA Inventory of Strengths for Youth” (See link below). This is a self-report survey that provides a comprehensive assessment of the 24 Character Strengths among youth ages 10 to 17 years. Once the Survey has been completed students identify their Character Strengths including their signature strengths (top 5 strengths). Students reflect on what this information means to them and give examples of how they display these strengths.


Deep Learning for our Future

Malvern Central was selected in 2014 to part of a global project involving 100 schools in Victoria and 1000 around the world to implement deep learning goals that are enable by new ways of teaching (new pedagogies) and accelerated by technology. The project is lead by renowned leader Michael Fullan in partnership with The Department of Education and Training (Australia).

Why you ask? The world is becoming more complex with the need for all students to be equipped with skills to be creative problem solver who can collaborate effectively within and across teams and who can pursue leadership for action in a sustainable context. Students are increasingly wanting to take action, make a positive impact and grasp opportunities that will afford success in career and life. The project will focus on designing learning experiences that are mapped to students learning strengths and needs, that create new knowledge full of real-life, relevant problem solving and that helps students identify their talents and find purpose and passion in what they do.

The Deep Learning Competencies, better known as the 6 C’s, are the skill sets each and every student needs to achieve and excel in, in order to flourish in today’s complex world. They are: Collaboration, Communication, Citizenship, Creativity, Critical thinking and Character.


“The world economy no longer pays you for what you know, it pays you for what you can do with what you know.”Andreas Schieiche

Deep Learning – Authentic engagement in real world challenges. It is the ability to master and leverage existing content knowledge, making links to reinterpret and create new meaning. – Learning for life, work and play

For more information – https://npdl.global