Do you go to the same coffee shop on a regular basis? Is there something about the experience that continues to draw you in? Is it the cookie that is placed by the saucer? Is it the white china cup or the friendly smile that makes you feel special? Are you drawn to the aroma as you walk in, the plush leather sofas and the jazz music playing in the background? It is more than just the coffee…it is the unique signature experience that draws you in time and time again.

Now think about schools. Have you ever walked into a school and just thought “Wow, this is an amazing place”? Within an hour you get a sense of what the school’s priorities are and how it is uniquely different from others. Maybe the teachers are specialists in maths and science. Maybe the school is focussed on creative arts, innovation, critical thinking, literacy. In all cases, these unique experiences are what we at GSE call the “Signature School Experience.”

“Your school’s signature experience is what you do especially well; it’s the unique method, skill, event, practice or process that makes your school stand out in people’s minds.” (Greg Parry , GSE CEO)

All great schools have signature experiences that send a strong message about who they are and what they are best at. They are many and varied. Whether it is literacy or numeracy, leadership, sports or the arts. Just as other industries are represented by signature experiences, so are schools. These are often the programs celebrated across the world as “best practice” but more importantly, parents and children share stories across their networks. The signature experience concept is widely understood and used across many industries.

As experienced educators we know that these experiences are signs of greatness. “Average” schools just don’t have strong highlights to share with such vigour. We recommend that schools choose priorities wisely and focus energy in ways that they can achieve growth and improvement. Write and publish a school vision and mission that is achievable. Then, shine a bright spotlight on success that reflects this. Every school should have a unique voice and signature experiences prove that your practice reflects this.

A list of some of our favourite “signature school experiences:”

  • Children smiling in the hallways and saying hi to visitors passing by.
  • Principal is accessible, accomodating and clearly puts children/parent needs first
  • Classrooms are “messy with learning”. Walls decorated, resource rich, active and practical activities are always evident.
  • Literacy is prioritised as evidenced by extra time allocation, above average results….and everyone is talking about it.
  • “Innovation” is in the school mission but it is clearly demonstrated in all areas from classroom practice, design of physical spaces through to the way decisions are made by school leaders.
  • Children own their learning and success including very engaging and authentic student led 3 way conferences
  • “Can I help you” is something everyone says when they meet a visitor for the first time
  • Students are focussed on fun and engaging learning in contrast to dominating discipline systems that control behaviour

What is your signature school experience?


Who is Global Services in Education (GSE)

Global Services in Education is a company led by education experts. They are proven education leaders who know how to set up and manage international schools. GSE can lead any project from the initial idea to set up and full management. Kindergarten, Primary, Middle and High School, Universities and Adult Education.

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Internationally renowned for his expertise in education leadership, Greg Parry’s vast experience includes leadership of projects for edu-cation institutions throughout Australia, the Middle East, the United States, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and China. Recognised for his numerous contributions in the education arena, Greg has received the Ministers Award for Excellence in School Leadership based on improvements in school performance and a range of successful principal training and leadership development programs, as well as the School of Excellence Award for Industry/School Partnerships and the School of Excellence Award for Technology Innovation. His company GSE (Global Services in Education) has been recognised as having the Best Global Brand in International Education 2015 and 2016. Considered one of the premier experts in his profession, Greg has trained teachers and principals throughout the world in areas such as critical thinking, language development and leadership. His expertise in school start up projects, leadership and curriculum development, has made him a sought after authority in these disciplines.
Signature school experiences
Signature Experiences Represent Everlasting Reputations
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