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Our motto, "People Before Things", sums up the spirit of Fitzroy Community School.
FCS is an independent, alternative primary school. It has its own unique style of operation. Our school has a relaxed atmosphere and good outcomes at the same time. Children are keen on learning and keen on coming to school. The most common comment that visitors make is that it feels like an extended family.
At FCS the roll is kept to about 65. This is deliberate. Everybody knows everybody, and the individual feels valued. It's not just another institution.
FCS aims for three outcomes in terms of its students and graduates: happiness, viability and academic excellence. We feel that these qualities offer the best chance of a happy, fulfilling and engaging life. The culture of the school supports the achievement of these qualities, and we are overjoyed that our students and graduates demonstrate them. A big part of this is our emphasis on confidence and effective communication skills. These are not so much taught as learned through the daily lifestyle of the school.
FCS was founded in 1976 by Philip O'Carroll and Faye Berryman in their home at 597 Brunswick Street, North Fitzroy and still operates there, and is blessed to still have their commitment and experience four decades later.
Faye Berryman started her teaching career as a secondary teacher in regional Victoria and saw how disadvantaged secondary school students were if primary literacy and numeracy were not established. The loss of self-esteem was often disguised by acting out. Faye went on to do a degree in social work and is a member of AASW. Faye then met Philip O’Carroll; they eventually blended families. The two looked for a progressive style of schooling, but found that alternative schools in the 70s were dogged by internal conflict. Faye and Philip decided to start their own school, Fitzroy Community School. Faye is the founding principal. In this book, she writes her own account of the first 39 years.
Philip O’Carroll began his teaching experience as a lecturer in Logic and Ethics at the University of Western Australia. He found himself reflecting on the effects of mainstream education on the population and has written a number of articles and letters for a variety of newspapers over 40 years. When the decision was made to start Fitzroy Community School, Philip became the administrator (for want of a better title). One of his roles was protecting the innovative school from the dead-hand of state education bureaucracy. Philip’s section of this book analyses the Australian school industry and argues for many reforms, including the right of parents to choose the educator for their child.
For more from Philip, visit his website at philipocarroll.com
ABOUT the FUTURE of SCHOOLING in AUSTRALIA
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