Established in 1981, SOTE is an Independent, co-educational school situated in the picturesque town of Warwick, which neighbours Toowoomba and the Granite Belt and is only 2 hours drive from Brisbane.
SOTE features small class sizes, regular parenting programs and a vibrant, extended community of care.
The focus of the School of Total Education is on nurturing each child’s character, while instilling a love for learning and solid academic skills.
The size of the School also makes this sense of community possible. There are around 120 students from Prep to Year 12, with one class at each level and a maximum class size of 13 students. There are 15 full-time teachers and 80–100 families involved in the school.
So both class size and school size are small enough that nobody is overlooked, everybody is included and each individual is needed for the School of Total Education to fulfil its purpose.
At The School of Total Education, students are encouraged to see their academic achievement relative to their own progress, rather than in comparison with others.
School reports give parents feedback on a child’s effort in their academic work, and their achievement relative to expectations for their grade level.
At primary level, the School of Total Education parents have agreed not to participate in national “A–E” or relative achievement reporting, as this system encourages simplistic comparisons at a stage when developmental differences are greatest. This applies especially to areas such as Physical Education and the Arts.
This non-competitive approach frees children to pursue excellence in their academic learning without external expectations.
In Queensland terms, almost 100% of SOTE Year 12 students consistently achieve an Overall Position (OP) of 1–15. We attribute this achievement to dedicated teachers, small classes and an ethos of excellence.
The School of Total Education offers a holistic education, nurturing the whole person.
All students from Prep to Year 12 participate in a 15-minute Daily Physical Education Program. The daily program is supplemented by a weekly sport program. Together these total over two hours per week of physical education.
All classes at The School of Total Education spend several sessions each year at the School’s Outdoor Education Centre which is set in picturesque bush land at Upper Freestone in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range.
Quiet Time is for primary children and emphasises the value of spending time settling and finding a sense of quietude. Yoga classes are offered to secondary students from Year 9 onwards.
Teachers and students eat meals together every day in the School Dining Room. Twice a week The School of Total Education provides a cooked lunch. This creates a positive family atmosphere and encourages habits of healthy eating. Students look after the School Vegetable Garden which produces fresh vegetables for the School Kitchen.
Film and Television is offered at Years 10, 11 and 12. In an increasingly screen-dominated world, this subject enables students to deconstruct what they are viewing on television, video, film and the internet by becoming more discriminating viewers.
As well as the standard academic curriculum, the School of Total Education offers a comprehensive creative arts, music and drama program.
They say it takes a village to raise a child.
The School of Total Education invites parents, teachers and children to be part of a living and evolving community in which they all play a vital role.
Building such a community starts with the recognition that the school is not just an arbitrary collection of people — of students, teachers and parents. A community requires a level of cohesion, a sense of shared values, open communication and a level of positive interdependence. The School of Total Education aims to build this kind of community for the benefit of not only the children but the teachers and parents as well.