Excellence in delivering improved education results has been recognised at the annual Premier’s Awards.
Driving improvement in student outcomes and world-leading innovation in virtual learning have been rewarded at the NSW Premier’s Awards Recognising Excellence in Public Service.
Canley Vale High School was applauded for its success in developing literacy as a core skill to boost HSC results and life choices.
The school shared the team award in the category of Improving Education Results with Aurora College, which has provided ground-breaking virtual selective classes to students in regional and rural public schools.
The individual award went to Dr Brad Russell, Director Educational Leadership of the Albury principals’ network.
The Canley Vale High award recognised a turnaround since 2013 when the incoming principal, Peter Rouse, set a focus on literacy at the school where for many students English is an additional language.
With discrete literacy classes in Years 7 to 9 and increased support, outcomes have improved so that in 2017 almost half of the school’s 259 Year 9 students were in the top two bands for literacy and numeracy.
This achievement was highlighted by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority which named Canley Vale High as one of eight schools nationally to have demonstrated substantially above average gains.
Aurora College’s achievement in improving the NAPLAN results of students in the higher bands secured its award.
Since opening in 2015, Aurora College, the first virtual school in Australia, has addressed the challenges faced by students in rural and remote communities.
It delivers a selective secondary stream and academically demanding senior studies in a highly personalised, future-focused virtual learning environment.
The Aurora College model is considered highly innovative compared with other virtual schools worldwide.
In additional to virtual learning lessons, it also provides students with access to masterclasses, mentoring, career development and a broad curriculum to increase their post-school options and readiness for higher education.
For Dr Brad Russell, the Premier’s Award is his second major accolade in a month after he was made a Fellow of the Australian Council for Educational Leaders (ACEL) at the council’s 33rd annual national awards ceremony.
Dr Russell was presented with his award for his leadership in closing the rural achievement gap and retaining students in secondary education by helping school leaders increase student proficiency in reading.
The citation commended his relentless focus on improved results and fostering of teacher knowledge and understanding.
It said Dr Russell’s vision of improving the educational outcomes of students in regional areas has been so successful that it has been rolled out throughout the Wagga Wagga operational directorate, which includes the Riverina, Western NSW, Illawarra and the South East of the state.