Three schools join Ambassador program

Three schools with an 'X factor' that drives student success will share their practices with similar schools to help drive improvement.

Image: Seeing the potential: A class at new Ambassador School, Huntingdon Public School.

To mark the end of Education Week, three more schools have been announced as part of the Ambassador Schools program, a league of the best schools in NSW.

The program, which is unique in Australia, uses the School Success Model to identify schools achieving academic performance above and beyond similar schools.

Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning Sarah Mitchell said the Ambassador Schools had the X-factor, and the principal, teachers, staff and school community were working together to achieve incredible results.

"Our three new Ambassador Schools - Huntingdon Public School, Macarthur Girls High School and Bonnyrigg Heights Public School, - all bring teaching approaches that have cut through in terms of lifting results for their students," Ms Mitchell said.

"As part of our School Success Model, the Ambassador Schools will help lift school performance by scaling best practice to similar schools to support ongoing improvement."

There are now six Ambassador Schools in the early phases of a pilot program that will gather and share evidence of the high-impact practices utilised by each school.

Ms Mitchell said that compared with similar schools, the Ambassador Schools all demonstrated stronger outcomes on a range of targets measured through the School Success Model, such as literacy, numeracy and HSC performance.

"These three schools come from very different parts of the state, a remote bush school, a south western Sydney school and a large Sydney girl's high school, but what they all have in common is the excellent results their students are achieving - we want to capture and share this success," the Minister said.

Ms Mitchell said planning was under way on a research program that would partner universities with Ambassador Schools to identify what made these schools great and translate that information to be shared with other schools.

"The selection of Huntingdon Public School, a small but innovative rural school, is an outstanding achievement and will offer practical insights to educators in our rural and regional communities,” Ms Mitchell said.

"Macarthur Girls High School - an all-girls school near Parramatta – and Bonnyrigg Heights Public School in south western Sydney will yield valuable insights for larger schools to improve teaching, leading and learning.

"The Ambassador Schools program is an Australian first and is crucial to driving reforms under our new School Success Model. The model is how NSW is building the best evidence-based education system for our students."

Macarthur Girls High School principal Gail Cluff said the school was delighted to be selected as an Ambassador School.

“Our focus has always been around developing a collaborative and shared commitment across the school to ensure that every student and teacher improves and grows each year,” she said.

“Our commitment is framed around two key priority areas. The first one is knowing every student, and the second one is knowing how to teach your students.

“At Macarthur Girls High School, we use evidence to tell us exactly what each student can achieve, and then further develop each teacher’s knowledge and strategies to provide learning opportunities to enable those students to move to their next level of achievement.”

Daryl McKay, principal at Bonnyrigg Heights Public School, said his philosophy was to make sure every student was supported and recognised and provided with quality education.

“We do this through quality leadership and building capacity of all teachers through quality professional learning and high expectations,” Mr McKay said.

“In response to Covid-19, we make sure our continual practices around teaching and learning are maintained. Our teachers are monitoring and supporting students using a number of digital platforms.

“We also have an amazing group of outstanding quality teachers who work in a support role with other teachers, they work side by side in our digital classrooms.”

Huntingdon Public School principal Peta Harris said her school’s educational approach was to see the potential in every student, and bring out their personal best results through point-of-need teaching.

“We are always reflecting on the effectiveness of our practice and refining our craft to support the needs of each individual student, and set an appropriate level of educational challenge to find the right formula for their personal learning success,” she said.

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