Blue Haven Public School's improvement journey

This video was originally published 6 September 2019.

Blue Haven Public School has achieved rapid and substantial improvements in student academic performance. Paul McDermott, principal of Blue Haven, shares insights into the school’s improvement journey, including Blue Haven’s focus on evidence-based practices and a strong school culture.

Principal, Paul McDermott gives a talk about Blue Haven's improvement journey

Thank You Rachel and thank you for joining us here today it has been a spectacular few days for Blue Haven has been very exciting.

We've been quite overwhelmed by the feedback equally we were overwhelmed by the feedback to this case study so I wanted to start by acknowledging Rachel, Sally and Chris for the amazing work that they did putting this together.

We're really excited to be and privileged to be chosen to do a case study and just overwhelmed by the quality of it when it came out so we're really proud of it as a community and the feedback we've had from outside has been really positive as well so they were great people to work with and the quality of the work that they produce has really helped us to drive our school improvement journey as well so I'd like to acknowledge them.

It's a reflection of 600 kids almost, 400 families and 50 over staff.

Dale and I are here today but we really do represent our whole community. Our school transformation has been very much a joint effort and a team effort I don't acknowledge that as well and we couldn't have done it without the support of everybody so our school context we are based on the Central Coast. We've got a FOEI of 139. We've got 585 students as we speak. 24 classes one of which we self-fund. We've got 94 Aboriginal students, 200 plus students identified through the NCCD.

We are a complex school we are an early action for success school and we get funded for 1.8 instructional leaders through that and we self-fund an additional 1.2 to top that up to 3. We're a bump it up school so we get the smorgasbord but we're a well funded school we get about 1.2 million dollars in RAM funding which is great and we spend that really wisely and we have undergone significant change since 2016.

I did want to make the point as well while we are well funded some people say, "oh it's easy to get change when you've got that much money". We got similar results, or we were able to achieve similar results in my previous school as well in fact better than the results we've got at Blue Haven slightly. So you can do it on a small budget as well, so it's not just about the money. But certainly, the money is something that we spent really wisely at our school and makes a significant difference.

So Blue Haven in 2016. That's the value-added data for 3-5 students we're in the bottom 5% of the state. So 2,200 schools we're looking probably in the bottom schools so our kids were significantly underperforming on top of that we had a school with about plus suspensions we had a hugely hostile and disengaged community and staff morale was at an all-time low so we had our work cut out we had some significant challenges to face but we met them head-on and one of the key things that we worked on was their school culture we started with our vision we wanted to get everyone on the same page one of the things that we did early on in my journey and the school was ask people what the school vision was and pretty well - a number no one could say what the school vision was they didn't know what was in it they didn't know the keywords they couldn't articulate what our school was about and why we were turning up to work every day so as the leadership team we wanted to address that and have everyone understand our purpose for being at school but our drive for doing what we could do day in and day out had also evolved our parents and community so what we did was we did a survey of everyone we asked them for words about what they envisaged about our school for the future and some key words came out of that was high performing it was successful it was positive school culture came out inclusive and also wellbeing so as a team we formulated a vision that included all of those words we created word clouds that the students the staff and the parents have put together we pick the key words to drive our school vision so that vision in is evident in every single room in the school it's on the front side of the school we've got a big billboard of the gates when you walk through it's something that we come back to constantly and we're halfway through just over halfway through our school planning cycle at the moment just a few weeks ago we reviewed a school vision to see how people thought will performing against those measures well-being success inclusive etc and to see whether that's still articulated what the staff and it's wanted for our community so we're constantly evaluating that as well but that vision is absolutely the centrepiece of our change journey and more specifically we set the strategic directions of excellence in teaching and learning a positive and inclusive well-being and effective connections with our community given the underperformance of our students we realized really quickly that a year's growth four years effort wasn't going to cut it for Blue Haven kids they were still going to keep them behind the eight ball we had to be better than that so we realized we didn't have time to experiment with our kids education we had to get it right and we had to get it precisely right in order to make a difference so we worked really hard as a staff to reach out to evidence and have a look at what was making a difference a lot of the CESE work was pivotal to what we're doing so that what works document the early use reading strategies some of the research around leadership so we really did look at what works and what was going to make a big difference particularly in a low socioeconomic setting on top of that we obviously took into account our context we do have a complex community and we needed to consider the well-being needs as well so some key beliefs that we came up with one was that every child matters every day and that every day we're going to make a difference to our kids it didn't matter what we were doing that we're going to be our priority and we're going to try to make the most difference we could each day but the other thing was that all kids could be high achievers we were a school that made excuses they're just blue haven kids they're no better than you know they can't get the results well we had to change a whole mindset so we worked really hard with the staff to understand that we've got some amazing kids in our school we need to give them the opportunities to shine one of the first documents who actually looked at was the Grattan Institute on the bottom left-hand there they did a you can't see it it's kind of blocked but they did a wonderful article back in on turnaround schools so a lot of the starting-point that we looked at as far as putting measures in place in our school was based around that work from Ben Jensen from the Grattan Institute and that was before obviously the what works document and CESE stuff had come out as well so I wanted to acknowledge the great work that comes out of there as well so teaching and learning the first thing was a culture of high expectations it came down to book work it came down to engagement it came down to the approaches of our teachers but everything was done within a culture of high expectations and really emphasizing to our kids that they could be superstars you know they were worth being Superstars and they could [ __ ] they had the opportunity to show us that were superstars because a lot of our kids didn't feel comfortable showing how good they were because they were ostracized through behaviour or they didn't want to stand out culturally we implemented a signature pedagogy which is explicit instruction which is not necessarily favourable to a lot of people nowadays a lot of people are looking at other pedagogy and other ways to go but the evidence is really clear and explicit instruction the difference it can make on the screen on the top left there the McKinsey Group did a recent study of Pisa across the OECD and they analysed schools that use explicit instruction as opposed to inquiry and we do a blend of both that blue haven don't get me wrong but it was really clear by the Aqua Dots there that schools that do a majority of explicit instruction with some inquiry based methods are significantly more effective than those that focus purely on inquiry models and they talk about the sweet spot which is getting that balance right and one thing that I think we've done at Blue Haven really effectively is to hit that sweet spot in the learning for our kids and make sure that we've got a really good balance of explicit instruction but then also obviously also lots of opportunities for inquiry and project-based learning as well collective efficacy was enormously important and we had our teachers working in silos we had for example five different scope and sequences in maths when I started at the school and some people weren't even following one of those so what we needed to do was get people on the same page we needed to get a lot of professional development to support them just to get people working together instead of isolation that collaboration has been one of the real success stories of our school as we speak today we've got staged meetings happening in our school our planning days they do them every five weeks our conference room table will be set up like a ceaseless smorgasbord they're all snacking there looking at data they're reflecting they're collaborating they're sharing their success stories over the last five weeks and planning to make sure that there's some amazing opportunities for our kids for the next five weeks so that collective efficacy has been really strong at our school everyone's on the same page and really heading towards a very common direction which is great the other thing that we do and we focus really heavily on was differentiation it's probably one of the negative aspects that people see in explicit instruction that doesn't cater for the top kids our differentiation is extensive we release responsibility back to the kids as soon as we possibly can to make sure that they're given the chance to independently explore and show what they can do but that differentiation happens in a range of levels throughout our school our intervention program is based on the RTI model so our staff work really closely with the stages for example the stage meetings happening today they reflect on the data every five weeks and that determines which children go into a next level or a next program of intervention so we intervene early we spend about a hundred and fifty thousand dollars a year on intervention predominately for our kindergarten students on speech and occupational therapy so every kindergarten student is screened in the first five weeks of school on speech and OT we analyse that data and meet with our speech and OT therapists immediately we work out which kids need ongoing therapy and then for the remainder of that year they get that ongoing therapy so that's been a wonderful partnership that we've got with Newcastle uni and all their areas speech pathology and it's one that's really making a difference so that interventions been really important and on top of that in the mornings at o'clock we run an early Birds intervention program as well so any kids that are in intervention as well as any other kids that would like to come along we run a half hour session in the morning where there's lots of activities around phonics and mathematics and reading and comprehension and all of those different important elements and we are calculated last year almost an hours worth of additional learning took place in our school just because of early birds we average about kids a day which is phenomenal the kids get badges for every visits so then we've covered nearly every bird in the universe by the time we've gone through every we're struggling now to find new bird and we have to bring some extinct ones back like the dodo and things like that just for the sake of early birds but we've got some kids that are around visits we've implemented that it was only just over months ago so that's been a really successful program once one that's making enormous difference to our kids obviously Hattie's research is something that we work really closely with as well so when we're talking collective efficacy the RTI model of intervention we've done it a homework around those and the impact and the effect that they have and that's why we've selected those our instructional coaches are amazing at Blue Haven we have three of them they have developed the most amazing relational trust with our staff they are in classes constantly it's almost an explicit teaching model for teachers so they're in the classrooms demonstrating for new teachers for teachers that might be on a new stage new teachers new to the profession supporting them showing them what great teaching looks like then it becomes a team teaching arrangement and then eventually it becomes a coaching and mentoring arrangement so shoulder-to-shoulder side-by-side separated from the PDP process so that that trust is there and that that support is there but they have made an amazing difference to our school as well and work really closely and our teachers are booking our I else to come into their rooms weeks in advance to make sure that they're getting the support they can to make them the best they can be in front of their kids our data is extensive we analyse our data very regularly five weekly as I said we've got big data walls and impact walls down our corridor and our admin block and it's very rewarding to see the movement of our kids but tracking our kids and we look at different groups of kids so we target our Aboriginal students to make sure that we're seeing the growth out of them that we need to in any not from an English-speaking backgrounds so we do a lot of work in making sure that our data is analysed so we don't just collect data for data sake we make sure that all of the data that we collect is used if we're not using it we don't use it we don't we don't collect it so that's been a really positive impact and probably a big change for the staff since as well one of the great success stories about what we do in teaching and learning is the warm-ups that we do in literacy and numeracy they're very closely linked to cognitive load theory it's about reducing that impact on working memory we revise previously taught content at a fast pace regularly so that it gets embedded in long-term memory what that does is free up the children's working memory to then tackle higher-order thinking skills and creative activities as well so that has meant that if teachers are teaching a complex process or skill the prerequisite skill for that will have been taught previously covered through the warm-up so it won't be a matter of their working memory being drained having to remember what for example that timetables are formulas are all of those sorts of things so we covered the blooms stuff really well at Blue Haven but what we identified really early as well as the Maslow stuff was having a really big impact on our kids so one of the things that we focused very heavily on is well-being at the centrepiece of that is we make our school a fun place to be we want it to be safe for some of our kids school is the only safe place they know so we make sure that our school is a warm place an inviting place and it's a fun place you can see by the photo there I'm out on the street every morning opening car doors high-fiving kids as they come in but a couple of times a term we tuck our silly suits on and have a bit of fun with the kids and the parents love it the kids love and it just creates a great vibe and a great culture in our school so that comes back to it every child matters every day which is our mantra but also every student being now on valuating careful for as well so that sense of fun I think is something that really makes our school a special place that it is we also self under deputy principal well-being so we needed to make sure Dale and I when we started we're up in the office and most of our time was spent managing behaviour and well-being so it was really taking our opportunity to drive the improvement and the direction of the school away so we realized that we needed someone to support the well-being of our students so we self under deputy principal wellbeing a lot of that initially was reactive in its role in managing behaviour and going collecting kids from class getting kids into class but really happy to say now a lot of its proactive there's a lot of social skills happening a lot of opportunities for our kids to receive counselling and support so that role has been incredibly successful and pivotal to our turnaround success similarly social-emotional learning has a great impact as well so we run a number of social and emotional learning programs in our school that are directed towards the needs of that age group and they've had a big impact and help kids build skills like resilience and persistence all of those sorts of things as well we do have extensive interagency support I spoke about the speech and OT support that we have but we also have a number of programs that run in the school like seasons for growth the iris program that support the wellbeing of our school so it's not all academic as well one thing that we do really well is our staff well-being we look after our staff we support our staff and we make sure that our staff feel comfortable coming to school we take every opportunity we can to celebrate the successes that we have as a school we've been fortunate as you know to pick up a couple of awards recently and we've been recognized over the last twelve months for the improvement that we've had academically so we make sure our teachers know that that they're doing an amazing job they do work incredibly hard we set up our staff room as a bit of an oasis we've got nice bright comfortable chairs we've got bar tables - the beverages that normally go with them but we have bar tables set up so that there's a range of different places for our staff to sit and relax we've got you know positive affirmation walls and things like that and we put all-new cabinetry and things like that it sounds like a small thing but our staff need to feel comfortable and feel that they're looked after as well so we have spent quite a bit of money on staff well-being every term we have a staff well-being session so we have been a fun we let our hair down we do a trivia day in turn four we always do it at Melbourne Cup time and I make up a mock race with all the teachers in it and we have a bit of a laugh and a bit of fun as well so that sense of fun certainly happens with the staff and we certainly keep our finger on the pulse to make sure that we're doing everything we can to support them to do the great work that they're doing on a daily basis our community I had the opportunity to go to Harvard last year and we did a wonderful session with Karen Mapp on community engagement which totally changed my perceptions of how we engage the community and you know getting your community in and talking to them at a you know presentation in the hall really isn't community engagement so what is community engagement is getting parents in D classrooms and seeing what they're doing and doing the learning with the kids so we take as many opportunities as we can to do that we've got Book Week parade tomorrow we had Education Week recently as well so we take those opportunities to celebrate and have an assembly but then get our parents into the classroom we've had nearly parents a couple of weeks ago in our rooms celebrating taking part in lessons seeing what the teachers were doing and that's reflective of that problem that we had back in as well whether the community was quite hostile so we thought let's call the wagons let's get them in let's show them that we're treating their kids really well in here and that they're doing amazing things and what we've seen is an amazing turnaround in the perceptions of our community their willingness to come in we held bridging blue haven Expo last year that had over community members that came through and linked with interagency support we put a sausage sizzle on we had the NRL there we had the soccer there we had some fun activities for the kids to entice them to come in but the number of connections that those inter agencies made with parents have been long-lasting and will really help our kids to seek out that support in the future this year it's our anniversary so we ran another event and we think we cracked well over a thousand this year so it was amazing so we did a great job of obviously tying in and getting some previous students and previous staff coming in but to have a thousand people in our school and we had food trucks and all sorts of things and the feedback that we had from the community was just amazing through that as well so what we've become as a school now is pretty well hub for the community it's a place that I started that our community is proud of it's a place that our community feel comfortable coming into if they've got problems even if they're outside of school but we're really proud of the fact that our community now see our school as a centrepiece of the Blue Haven subway we also run a lot of parent PD so for example our speech and occupational therapist they run sessions for our parents to show them what they're doing with their kids but also to help them support them at home they're always well attended the first time I ran a session in when I first started I had I think four parents and one of those was a staff member now we regularly hit parents coming into those sessions which has been really rewarding for us as well we have vignettes on our website because our pedagogy is a little bit different we have vignettes there to show parents how we do self-talk for example how we run early birds in the mornings all of those sorts of things because a lot of our parents aren't highly literate so we run those sessions on the website so that our parents can access and get a better understanding of what their kids do when they come to early Birds or how they're learning spelling in the classroom so that's really improved that community engagement as well and on top of that we have some really good cultural stuff in place as well ninety-four Aboriginal kids and we look to cater for them as best we can to make sure that they have a connection to our school so all of our three boys receive a didgeridoo when they get to year three they decorate it they paint it up they keep it they learn to play it and then at year six when they graduate they receive that as a gift from the school to take home and to keep forever so that's been a really positive move and the girl to receive Bill Maher so they do the same thing with those as well so those cultural connections are a real priority for us and have helped to improve the engagement of our Aboriginal community as well our professional development at Blue Haven because our staff had program fatigue back in and really we're seeking professional development is something that we've really focused heavily on we have a tiered leadership model we have really clear roles and responsibilities we lead by example as well as a leader as a principal I seek the best professional that I can in I did the professional certificate for instructional leadership through Melbourne University to try and improve my leadership I applied for Harvard scholarship and was lucky enough to receive that and had the chance to travel to Boston and work with principals around the world which had a big impact on my views on lots of things around leadership but the chance to network with principals from around the world was really rewarding as well and last year as well my senior exactly myself did a self-funded study tour to America where we looked at explicit instruction and got some professional development around how we can make most impact out of that in our school so I guess that shows to the rest of the staff that importance of lifelong learning and the commitments of learning that we have we constantly encourage our staff to professionally read as well and develop we do professional reading every week on Monday at our exact meetings for example an all staff are invited to come along to that so a great example that was we did the recent literature review on gifted and talented education we got a lot out of that and realized there were lots of marks that we weren't hitting with our gifted and talented kids so a couple of weeks after that we got better north to come down and work with us we invited our LMG schools to come along we had about of us in the staff room it's been a great day with better learning more about gifted and talented and from that now we've got a network within our local area where we'll continue to drive gifted and talented and high potential programs throughout the Central Coast all of our PD is whole school it's something that I spoke to someone from CC just recently we don't see k was one focused in three to six is another focus because there year to teacher could be a year six teacher next year and a year five teacher could be a year one teacher so everything that we do is cater six and that was really deliberate to try and avoid those silos that we have in that focus that there seems to be a really high focus in some schools in cater to with literacy and then it drops off as they move through the other years everything that we do pedagogy wise well-being wise is consistent throughout the school and that's really helped our staff to build capacity but to work together as well the other thing that we do focus on very heavily is upskilling our staff there wasn't a lot of leadership density in our school so Darla and I have pretty much a co-principal arrangement there's nothing that I do that I don't involve him in and have great trust in the work that he does is a future leader of our system we build the capacity of our other deputies in ApS as well but even staff so we have seven aspiring exact this year and they take terms to attend our exact meetings and to immerse themselves in what leadership is like and they also take on roles in our professional learning communities so top left there you will see an example of our professional reading whenever anyone does professional reading they do a two-page summary and share that at our exact meeting it just means it's a bite-sized piece of reading rather than or pages to give people a taster and then they can go and read further if they'd like to and then the green one we actually run scenarios with our staff so we'll have a scenario one day maybe on an attendance issue our suspension we've done one on community use of facilities before where we talked through a scenario with the staff and how you'd address it but then we have links to policies and things like that so that people get an understanding of that link between actually policy and practice in the school and they've been really well received as well so it's three years and a week and a half I think of being at Blue Haven now and we're really excited to share the impact that our strategies have had so in I showed you the graph before about where we sat value added in the state we were in the top % in the state we're really proud of that we're super proud of that by no means do we think we're at the finish line we want to be better than that we will be better than that but that's basically two years of off growth so our staff cried when they saw that last year when it came out even the big six-foot sports guy he had a tear in his eye as well so as a leader there's nothing more rewarding than seeing the absolute pleasure in your staffs face that they are turning up every day making a difference and the impact that that graph has had on our staff has been enormous the first graph in we didn't throw any blame out we didn't blame anyone for it we said circumstances haven't been great but our kids are better than that you're better than that so we're going to be better than that we worked really hard to improve and obviously that graph shows the enormous improvement I guess our challenge from here is to stay at least there and keep driving that improvement further the other thing that's been really rewarding as well as our bump it up so we were traditionally a school of about twenty one percent in the top two bands of reading in maths in that plan last year we were thirty seven and a half percent which is an enormous improvement as well and that's one of the negatives that people see about explicit instruction sometimes is that it doesn't cater for the top kids if you're doing it right it does it absolutely does so thank you everyone I'm really proud to present our little school improvement journey to you and happy to answer any questions if you've got any what calm questions versus other how you sleep like where do you sleep it's question really about how you manage yourself how you manage to yep do so much and the other question if I really just fit in what you were saying about how you've employed a deputy principal is that exclusively for well-being work excuse me is that one first it is exclusively for well-being that I don't have a teaching load so they're up in the office with Dale and I am and the oils I think so as I said initially back in into a bit of we struggle to get kids into class the kids would you know refusing thank you and when they were in class they were causing mayhem in affecting the learning of other kids as well so the deputy initially was doing a lot of reactive stuff so going and getting kids out of class having a chat getting them back in as soon as they could unfortunately as you saw we did have a number of suspensions mostly for violence so we his role was to analyse where our issues were put some professional development in for example we did a lot of I talked about our instructional coaches in the room but our behaviour management coach was in the room as well which is their deputy well-being so we aligned with a system called micro skills for teaching so it's a behaviour management program so what we developed our own self-analysis for teachers so the teachers would self-analyse their own behaviour management in the classroom then the deputy would go in and do an observation and then they'd reflect and compare the results between the two and then look at strategies to move forward so lots of that shoulder-to-shoulder stuff as well the relational trust once again but lots of professional development as well so we sent hordes of staff off to do professional development in groups to come back then and up school the rest of us as well so it was it was a big journey and our deputy wellbeing has had as big an impact as anyone in our school so that that roles been absolutely pivotal that's where the RAM funding comes in we've been fortunate enough to have enough to do it and I guess that's why schools like us get more money because the behaviours are such that we need it to cater for things like that there's been a number of schools in our area that have now I guess replicated that role in their own schools and we actually had our first Network meeting last term where we got all of them together and talked about the strategy so that we could try and align those strategies across so that we're not all reinventing the wheel in all of our individual schools back to your first question I presented at the principals induction a couple of weeks ago and I shared how I look after my well-being and try to and it is a challenge at times it does get you down it's a rewarding job wouldn't give it up for all in the world but you do have some tough days so I have a Harley so I told the new principles that this Fat Boy jumps on his Fat Boy and goes for a ride so I try and do that as often as I can not as often as I do but the beach is my nirvana yeah so I just try and do that as much as I can but yeah we do work out we do work incredibly hard but some yeah we try to have as much fun as we can one thing that we do really well at our school is we treat our Jack kids really well but then we debrief as a team really well we've had some kids that have had some fairly serious behaviours in the past and you know we'll sit down and have a good debrief and their chat so we do support each other really well I mentioned dolls and my co-principal role that even the deputy well being if there are a number of incidents happening at the one-time doll and I'll jump in and you know we work together and similarly del jumped in and does some of my stuff sometimes if I've got other things happening as well so it's a really good team effort in our school doll just mentioned a great one as well a lot of our behaviour issues were happening in the playground so we had clusters of kids or games or whatever you want to call and that would walk around the school with nothing to do so they'd cause trouble so one of the things that we put in place was a structured play initiative so we have teachers we've changed our whole setup around how to our duties and we have teachers that are just running games and activities so we have some indoor games for the kids that don't like being outside in the library computer time we'll have indoor quiet play then that we other teachers outside doing dodgeball and indoor soccer or you know kicking or forty around things like that playing netball so that's been really successful it's not compulsory that the kids go to there but what it's done is any kids that whose behaviours aren't reflective of what we'd expect we have playground plans for those kids to help guide them and make good choices as to which activities they'd like to go to and that's reduced the incidence of poor behaviour in the playground significantly our suspensions have reduced by almost % in the last two years as well so that data is equally impressive with their academic stuff that's a great question I think I hit the jackpot there our teachers had so much frustration with the changes over a four or five year period with the revolving door of principals and deputies through relieving roles that they wanted something that they could hang their hat on and stick to one of the first commitments I said to the staff was I live minutes down the road I'm not going anywhere I'm going to be here for the long haul so they knew that I wasn't going to take off on them in six months or twelve months like most of the others had and it wasn't their fault it's no reflection on anyone that came before each of the relieving was only there for a short period so they really couldn't impact any change so I said look I'm going to be here for the long haul but the other thing that we that we said to them is we're going to do our research about what works because they were upset about that value-added stuff we're going to choose something that is going to be proven to make a difference and we're not going to throw it out after twelve months so you can promise I could promise you can put your heart and soul into it do the best that you can and it's going to stick for a while and we're going to make sure that we see it through to the finish line to make an impact so the staff knew that other thing that said is I've got your back you know we're going to support you so if you're feeling stressed you let me know we're going to find extra time for you and I have extra planning meetings whatever we need to do is to support you will do so we've done that and we've done that really well we keep our finger on the pulse with stress levels of our staff and if we need an additional planning time or collaborative get-togethers we make sure we do that if we need to drop a staff meeting and have another well-being session just to let the foot off the gas a bit we do that our staff worked really hard but they work brilliantly together and they have coped with change far better than I could ever have imagined we've been really careful in the pacing of it we've probably moved quicker through the change process than most would recommend but what we've done is support our staff all the way so they've coped with it really well and our staff tell us now they'd never go back to what they were doing three years ago I would agree with that % yeah they asked my staff know our staff know that we have got their back and we will do everything we can to protect them and support them whether it be tricky parents or people that want to challenge their pedagogy all of those sorts of things we're sampling the progressions like most of the schools elements of the progression so yeah we're building our knowledge around that one so there's a range we one of the key elements we used early on in the journey because our reading data was really poor we used the UK phonics screener which is controversial and people say it's high stakes it's none of that we used that across the school because we saw that there was a problem with reading we wanted to identify it so we actually ran that you on Phonics green across the whole school the data we got back was at % of our Kinder's failed at % of a year threes failed and a quarter of our stage three year five and six kids fail that so really clearly that told us that our kids didn't know how to decode words and didn't know how to break words apart and that was a key element to them being able to read so that then drove the change with our pedagogy around early use reading we embedded all of the strategies that are in the CC early use reading document to make sure that what we're doing was evidence-based and covering those gaps that we'd identified other data that we use we use the centre in maths for example we do running records we track our reading we do a probe which is a comprehension assessment that does running records beyond level because that seems to be an area that once kids get to people forget about them and just think they can read and let them go so we really did refine what we did with data we made sure that we were only collecting information that we were going to use our teachers in maths for example do a pre assessment two weeks before they teach the content so they know if the kids already know it they can revise it and move on so we use a lot of pre and post-test data as well so that's been really effective it's probably too much to all go through in one session now but there's a whole range of reading comprehension we do a lot of writing analysis spelling phonics as I mentioned and the mat style has been pivotal to our improvement in maths as well.


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