Closing the gap: case studies

These case studies were originally published 15 November 2017.

These case studies illustrate how five NSW primary schools have achieved high learning growth for their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. This work supports the 'Closing the Gap' strategy, a Council of Australian Governments commitment.

Purpose of resource

The Closing the gap case studies illustrate effective strategies and practices used by 5 NSW primary schools to achieve high learning growth for their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. This work supports the ‘Closing the Gap’ strategy.

When and how to use

The resource is set of case studies. School leaders and teachers can read, reflect on, discuss and implement themes and strategies highlighted in the case studies as part of school-developed High Impact Professional Learning (HIPL).

The appropriate time to use this resource may differ for each school, leader and teacher.

School leaders can:

  • unpack the case studies as part of whole-school professional development and/or stage or grade team meetings – you may wish to refer to the Strong strides together and Supporting Aboriginal students to attain the HSC publications
  • encourage teachers to share key findings during professional development
  • reflect on strategies, policies or practices currently in place to lift Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student outcomes
  • lead discussions with staff about areas to improve across the school – you may wish to refer to the Aboriginal education resources on the department website, and the Connecting to Country professional development program
  • support staff to find connections between What works best, the School Excellence Framework and the strategies contained in the case studies.

Teachers can:

  • read the case studies and reflect on how the themes and examples may be relevant to their specific setting
  • unpack the case studies in a group setting.


Email feedback about this resource to using subject line ‘Re: Closing the gap case studies’. You can also subscribe to the CESE newsletter and connect with us on Yammer.

Alignment to system priorities and/or needs: NSW Department of Education Strategic Plan 2018-2023 – Equity outcomes:

  • ‘Reduced gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students in literacy and numeracy, as well as sense of belonging, expectations for success and advocacy at school’
  • ‘Increased proportion of Aboriginal students attaining the HSC, while maintaining their cultural identity’

Alignment to School Excellence Framework: Learning domain – wellbeing, learning culture; Teaching domain – effective classroom practice, data skills and use; Leading domain – educational leadership

Alignment with existing frameworks: What works best – high expectations, explicit teaching, collaboration, use of data, wellbeing

Australian Professional Standards for Teachers – Standards 1.4, 2.4

Closing the Gap targets:

  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students achieve their full learning potential
  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children thrive in their early years

Reviewed by: Aboriginal Education directorate (now Aboriginal Outcomes and Partnerships directorate)

Created/last updated: Originally published 15 November 2017

To be reviewed: CESE publications are prepared through a rigorous process. Resources are reviewed periodically as part of an ongoing evaluation plan

Read online

  • Aldavilla Public School - focus on high expectations, literacy and numeracy, and engaging Aboriginal students, parents and community.
  • Ashmont Public School - focus on high expectations and engaging students in learning, literacy and numeracy, using data to inform practice, and recognising and celebrating Aboriginal culture in the school.
  • Batemans Bay Public School - focus on creation of a learning culture, parent and community participation, and celebrating Aboriginal culture.
  • Doonside Public School - focus on high expectations, using data to inform practice, and community engagement.
  • Westport Public School - focus on continuously improving teaching practice, student wellbeing, and acknowledging Aboriginal culture.


  • Case study
  • Closing the gap

Business Unit:

  • Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation
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