For everyone From the Ground Up: How a community with a vision and a principal with a purpose created a thriving state school

  • By Louise Swinn
  • This article was published more than 8 months ago.
  • 29 Jul 2023

Secondary school leader of four decades, principal and AEU PCA member Steven Cook has written his account of the work that took place between the forced closing of Albert Park College in 2006, the reopening in 2011, to ten years later in 2021 when it was voted Australian School of the Year.

This book is more than that story though – from the perspective of an educator who knows what it takes to make a successful public school, this is an examination of the way schools are run with proposals for improvements, large and small. It is also a call to arms from someone who has been hard at work on the ground.

“We have a major problem: our education policy-makers concentrate energy on the wrong things. Their sights are set too low,” he argues. 

When Cook took on the job, the school was literally just a hole in the ground. Never mind that it had no website – it had no buildings! Cook rented an apartment above a Flight Centre on the local shopping strip and got to work.

The blank slate brought with it the opportunity to start from scratch, and this is also the story of parents who stepped up and a community that rallied in support.

Cook writes with authority about leadership and other life skills, about the importance of having a philosophy and living by it, and of teaching for the future.

“Creativity will take a school a long way,” he writes in this inspiring read

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