School Success Model

The School Success Model is our plan for driving student success. It’s how we support staff on-the-ground, prioritise action and build the resilience and success of every NSW public school.​

About the program

As a large public education system, we have the opportunity to drive real progress by partnering with our schools so that all students benefit from the very best teaching and learning public education has to offer.

The NSW Department of Education is supporting NSW public schools to improve student outcomes through the implementation of its School Success Model. The model drives a new approach to deliver essential and more targeted support for every NSW public school. Depending on the type of improvement support needed, schools can receive essential or more targeted support in areas such as reading, numeracy, Aboriginal HSC Attainment, behaviour and attendance.

The School Success Model is a whole-system, evidence-led reform program that aims to strengthen shared accountability across the system by putting in place clearer targets for school improvement, lifting capability through the design of new system support and sharing best practice across the system.

The School Success Model is our plan for driving student success. It’s how we support staff on-the-ground, prioritise action and build the resilience and success of every NSW public school.​

We’re all responsible for improving student success

The School Success Model is about taking collective action towards driving success for students. It’s about our staff – principals, teachers, and corporate teams – working together to deliver the very best education to support students in their learning and growth.

The School Success Model drives a state-wide approach for improving outcomes in priority areas for the system. The School Success Model drives partnerships with key roles and groups within the NSW Department of Education and schools to deliver educational resources and strategies tailored to their improvement needs.

Our schools have committed to ambitious student success and school improvement targets as part of their current school planning. The School Success Model delivers essential and targeted support around these focus and improvement areas so that all schools are supported to progress and achieve their targets.

Just as there are targets for schools to achieve, there are now ambitious targets for our corporate leaders. The School Success Model has established new targets for corporate leaders to drive collective action toward our shared priorities and goals. These targets are cover areas such as creating quality time for schools or delivering evidence-based support, guidance and direction to lift school and student performance.

The NSW Department of Education is delivering a new approach for partnering and supporting NSW public schools through the implementation of its School Success Model.

Targeted support for NSW public schools

The School Success Model drives a state-wide approach for delivering support to lift student outcomes in priority learning and school improvement areas. Depending on the needs of each school, three levels of support, universal, guided, or strategic, will be available to schools to address a priority improvement area.

We know that to drive improvement across our schools we need to enhance the quality of support and planning schools use in their everyday practices. The School Success Model brings together school planning data, new teaching resources and specialist staff to work with principals and school staff to drive progress and improvement in areas such as reading and numeracy, wellbeing, and attendance.

These supports are integral to our Continuous School Improvement journey in developing our 3 domains of Learning, Teaching and Leading so that every student, every teacher, every leader, and every school improves every year.

The greater the need, the greater level of support is given to schools.

All schools have access to evidence-based resources designed to lift improvement in priority areas for the system. All universal resources made available to schools are of high quality and designed to meet the needs of NSW public schools. A new quality assurance process has been established to govern and strengthen the publication of resources published on the Universal Resources Hub.

Our initial priority areas

This support approach will be delivered to schools across priority learning areas such as Aboriginal HSC Attainment, attendance, behaviour, financial management, and reading and numeracy.

Three levels of support

Type of support Description An example in practice
Universal

This level of support covers the delivery of evidence-based and quality-assured resources for all schools.

All resources published on the hub are assessed against design standards to ensure consistency, relevance, and, quality for school staff using this support.

These resources can be accessed by school staff on a self-serve basis and by using their staff login/department access.

Teachers using quality-assured resources on the department's online Universal Resources Hub

Head Teachers or Assistant Principals share examples of useful and effective resources with teaching staff on the hub.

Guided

This next level of support delivers targeted guidance and advice to a school and is led by a school’s Director, Educational Leadership (DEL), or knowledgeable other. The DEL is a strategic leadership role within the department that is responsible for driving continuous improvement in NSW public schools.

This level of support is led by the DEL in collaboration with the school principal and uses available universal resources and professional learning to target improvement in a focus area for a school.

Directors, Educational Leaders guide the implementation of specific resources on the department's Universal Resources Hub or professional learning with principals and school executive teams.

Ongoing coaching and progress monitoring sessions between Directors, Educational Leadership, Principal Education Officers, and Principals on the impact of the resources, used and embedded within a school.

Strategic This tailored and customised support delivers hands-on assistance from specialists within the department working closely with the school executive team to lift improvement for an identified focus area. A 15-week program led by the system’s Lead Specialists Literacy and Lead Specialists Numeracy, who work closely with schools to identify areas of teaching that need support and plan how to improve them, for instance improving students’ comprehension and vocabulary.

The School Success Model is our plan for driving student success. It’s how we support staff on-the-ground, prioritise action and build the resilience and success of every NSW public school.​

Delivering support where it is needed

Informed by evidence and school planning

The model uses evidence from different aspects of school performance and planning to direct and tailor support more effectively. The School Success Model review processes take into consideration a range of school and system data to identify the right level and type of support for schools.

The types of data that the model uses include:

  • school planning and self-assessment data
  • other local school data shared by the school executive team, for instance, staff surveys or formative assessments
  • system available data such as NAPLAN or check-in assessment results.

Schools where improvement outcomes are more challenging to obtain, will receive strengthened support and guidance.

All schools have access to evidence-based resources designed to lift improvement in priority areas for the system. All universal resources made available to schools are of high quality and designed to meet the needs of NSW public schools. A new quality assurance process has been established to govern and strengthen the publication of resources published on the Universal Resources Hub.

The School Success Model is our plan for driving student success. It’s how we support staff on-the-ground, prioritise action and build the resilience and success of every NSW public school.​

Targets for school and system improvement

The School Success Model details a range of ambitious targets for school planning.

In May 2022, the Minister for Education and Early Learning Sarah Mitchell announced changes to the School Excellence cycle to give schools extra time to get back on track after two and a half years of pandemic disruption.

Changes include:

  • Strategic Improvement Plans – each school’s Strategic Improvement Plan (SIP) will be extended by one year
  • Targets – NAPLAN Top 2 Bands targets for reading and numeracy will remain for 2022 consistent with the Premier’s Priorities and will not be extended to 2023, however HSC, attendance and wellbeing targets that previously matured in 2022 will be moved to 2023. The introduction of phonics and pathways targets will also be delayed.
  • External validation – pause External Validation (EV) for scheduled schools until after 31 Dec 2022. Cohort B schools will not undertake external validation in 2022.

This will provide schools with more opportunities to benefit from support offerings under the School Success Model and the COVID Intensive Learning Support Program.

In addition to the targets outlined here, all Year 1 students will be required to undergo a compulsory Phonics Screening Check from 2021. Student wellbeing targets will be baselined in 2021.

Target area Department targets School targets

NAPLAN

Increase public school students in top two NAPLAN bands for literacy and numeracy by 15%. (Premier’s Priority 2023)

Individual school targets in place from 2020.

Aboriginal Education

Increase Aboriginal students attaining the HSC while maintaining their cultural identity by 50%.
(Premier’s Priority 2023)

Individual school network targets in place from 2020 (percentage uplift). Individual school student uplift in place that underpins the network target.

HSC

Proportion of students’ HSC results in the top two achievement bands from 34.6% (2018) to 35.7% (2023).

Individual school targets in place from 2021.

Attendance

Public school students attending school at least 90% of the time from 79.4% (2018) to 82% (2023) Primary and 64.5% (2018) to 70% (2023) Secondary.

Individual school targets in place from 2021.

Student growth (equity)

Public school students achieving expected growth in reading and numeracy from 62.3% (2018) to 66.4% (2023).

Individual school targets in place from 2021.

Pathways

Recent school leavers participating in higher education, training or work from 89.6% (2018) to 91.6% (2023) and 93.6% (2028).

Students continuing to Year 12 from 73.9% (2018)
to 76.7%
(2023).

A measure will be selected with a baseline established for each high school in 2022, and with targets set for every high school from 2023.

The School Success Model is our plan for driving student success. It’s how we support staff on-the-ground, prioritise action and build the resilience and success of every NSW public school.​

Learning from our most effective public schools

The School Success Model features an innovative pilot program that seeks to share and scale best practice from the most successful schools across the breadth and depth of the system. The School Success Model provides schools with tools to ensure that every student benefits from the very best teaching methods.

The School Success Model is our plan for driving student success. It’s how we support staff on-the-ground, prioritise action and build the resilience and success of every NSW public school.​

Ambassador schools

We've identified high-performing public schools in NSW and are working with them to research and share effective practices to benefit public schools across the state.

A key initiative in the School Success Model, the Ambassador Schools program is one way we are supporting improved student performance.

The program is building a strong evidence base from diverse, high-performing schools. University researchers in partnership with our schools are researching their effective practices so we can scale them across other NSW public schools to improve student learning outcomes.

Our Ambassador Schools

Ambassador Schools were selected for their strong performance compared with like schools across a range of measures, including reading, numeracy, attendance and HSC results. Our 10 Ambassador Schools represent a cross section of NSW public schools and include primary, secondary, metropolitan, regional and schools from a range of socio-economic contexts.

The department announced the first three Ambassador Schools in February 2021. Three more schools joined the Ambassador Schools program in Term 3, 2021, with the final four schools announced in Term 1, 2022.

The 10 Ambassador Schools are:

Students at Auburn North Public School Students at Auburn North Public School

Auburn North Public School is a large, metropolitan, K-6 primary school located in the western Sydney suburb of Auburn on Dharug land. It currently has 635 students and is located in one of the state’s most multicultural suburbs, with 98% of students from language backgrounds other than English including refugee backgrounds.

The Ambassador Schools research will identify the effective practices at Auburn North Public School that are having the greatest impact on student achievement in its unique context.

“Two years ago, our community followed a collaborative path to develop our new school vision. What this means is if our students are going to be successful today, tomorrow and in the future, they need to develop outstanding literacy and numeracy skills, outstanding 21st century skills such as critical thinking and outstanding technology skills" - Mark Harris, Principal, Auburn North Public School.

Learn more about Auburn North Public School:

Auburn North Public School

Mark:
My name is Mark Harris and I'm the principal of Auburn North Public School. This is my 23rd year at Auburn North. The reason I stay at Auburn North is because I'm surrounded every single day by the most beautiful children, the most supportive and respectful parents and the most dynamic, talented and hardworking staff I've ever seen assembled in any one school.

Hafsa:
We have a very special community at Auburn North. We have people from a variety of cultural background. We have Pakistanis, Indians, Chinese, Lebanese. You just name it. Auburn North has a very warm and welcoming environment, regardless of a cultural background or religion. Everyone works sincerely with each other and we work together to make our children successful learners.

Shafay:
I think the school is very wonderful because of the wonderful students, the kind, fantastic teachers, our lessons and our extracurricular programs.

Caitlin:

Hadia and I have worked together at Auburn North in Stage Three for three years now.

Hadia:
Leaders and teachers work shoulder to shoulder. Caitlin often comes into our classrooms and gives us feedback on things that we can do better. We often have the privilege of watching Caitlin teach as well. This is a great teaching opportunity for us as well as the students.

Caitlin:
Something else that we believe we do really well is the way in which we meet together as teachers and leaders to analyse class or grade based data which allows us to inform our future intervention for students or differentiation within the classroom.

Mark:
Two years ago, our community followed a collaborative path to develop our new school vision. What this means is that if our students are gonna be successful today, tomorrow and in the future, they need to develop outstanding literacy and numeracy skills, outstanding 21st century skills such as critical thinking and outstanding technology skills.

Hafsa:
I think parental engagement makes all the difference. At Auburn North, it's highly valued. We have morning assemblies where parents are always welcomed by the teachers with smiling faces.

Mark:
Our Harmony House programs have had a profound impact on facilitating parent involvement in our school. It's a program that offers educational programs, wellbeing classes and also recreational classes such as excursions.

Hafsa:
Since I was new to Australia, I just wanted my children to feel comfortable and have a home away from home. And that's what I found at Auburn North.

Shafay:
The learning here has supported me in becoming a confident speaker and better person.

Mark:
Our boys and girls, our staff and our parents all believe our students are capable of achieving anything and everything and moving on to become very successful young adults.

[End of transcript]

Students at Bonnyrigg Heights Public School Students at Bonnyrigg Heights Public School

Bonnyrigg Heights Public School is a large, metropolitan, K-6 primary school located in South Western Sydney on Darug land. The school has 959 students and is very culturally diverse, with 91% of students from language backgrounds other than English. It has five support unit classes to cater for students with intellectual and physical needs.

The Ambassador Schools research will identify the effective practices at Bonnyrigg Heights Public School that are having the greatest impact on student achievement in its unique context.

“We do this through quality leadership and building capacity of all teachers through quality professional learning and high expectations” – Daryl McKay, Principal, Bonnyrigg Heights Public School.

Learn more about Bonnyrigg Heights Public School:

Bonnyrigg Heights Public School

Daryl:
Our community, our parents, love the school because of what we do for the kids.

Samir:
Well, they help us learn. Out of 1 to 10, it’s 10,000.

Daryl:
Community are outstanding in terms of the fact that they trust us. And of course, we open up to the community. They’re able to ask the questions they want to know.

Kim:
I see that the teachers recognise the importance of a partnership between both the parents and the students. I love how they use apps where they share what is happening in the class. As parents, it’s really cool to be able to see that and to be able to talk to our children about what they did that day.

Jemma:
We are so collaborative. Everything we do is done together in little professional learning communities whether it’s our grade team, as an exec team, as a committee. It makes you feel confident in that you are implementing best practice and that you are really impacting kids.

Janet:
The whole observation process and the peer observation, the demonstration lessons that happen. There’s always a whole culture of let’s do this together.

Daniela:
Being able to walk into a classroom and have your lesson observed if it’s best practice and showing one another how to help one another. I think that’s a massive strength in our school and that’s why we get the results that we do.

Sharon:
We really created a culture of high trust with our staff but we really made sure that we supported people very well.   

Samer:
So I’ve had a student come to me this year. His parents are illiterate in English. In collaboration with everybody, even his school teacher from last year, we were able to form some goals and put in some strategies in place to help him achieve those goals. One piece of work that he’s written, I had laminated it and it’s displayed in the school and he’s so happy and proud of it.

Jemma:
When you see a kid excel and they’re excited about it, that makes you excited and it makes you want to show up every day because you’re actually making a difference.

Kim:
We know that she wants to be a teacher. And for someone to, that’s a huge compliment to this school because obviously Haley here is watching her teachers, seeing it as a cool job and wants to take it on herself. 

[End of transcript]

Teacher and students at Cabramatta High School Teacher and students at Cabramatta High School

Cabramatta High School is a large secondary school located in South Western Sydney on Cabrogal land. The school has 1451 students and is very culturally diverse, with 96% of students from language backgrounds other than English. It has an Intensive English Centre and four support unit classes.

The Ambassador Schools research will identify the effective practices at Cabramatta High School that are having the greatest impact on student achievement in its unique context.

Our outstanding staff enhance quality teaching and learning through collaborative practice, data-informed decision making and innovative professional learning - Lachlan Erskine, Principal, Cabramatta High School.

Learn more about Cabramatta High School:

Cabramatta High School

Lachlan:
I've been here at Cabramatta High School for 24 years. It's a great place to teach and for students, it's a great place to learn. For many teachers here, there's a wonderful connection with students. Students want to be able to learn, their families, have high expectations for them here at the school. And the students have high expectations for themselves.

Marsha:
I would describe my approach to teaching as a realisation that I'm still a learner and starting from that point, it reminds me that I'm not always the expert in the room. I'm lucky enough to work within a faculty in a school that has teaching staff with a range of experience. Within that dynamic, I realise that I'm sort of always adapting and needing to be flexible with my lessons, with my planning. And I take that into the classroom with me.

Jessica:
It's been a mix of everything that has allowed me to be successful today. All the teachers are all always very innovative with their learning styles and how they teach us and they change it all the time.

Lachlan:
Data-informed practice is really fundamental to what we do. We take external and internal data and have a look at that. And that really informs our practice, it informs our programs, it informs the evaluation assessment and the where to next.

Marsha:
A huge part of my collaboration is knowing that we do have a lot of data on our students so everything from their NAPLAN and PAT testing and check-in assessments, to the information we get from our primary schools. We have such a great community of schools and they give us a lot of information before they've even started.

Jessica:
I feel like the school community here is very inclusive and very diverse. Everyone feels as if they have a place here, they're very well heard and they can, represent themselves the way they feel most comfortable. 

Marsha:
I feel really lucky to work in such a diverse school. In Cabramatta High School we have over 50 languages spoken by our students. And I knew it was somewhere unique to work, when I spoke to a student who'd started at school and I said, "How long have you been in the country?" And they said, "A couple of hours, Miss. My plane landed this morning."

Lachlan:
So when we engage the parents within the school, we use our Community Liaison Officers. So, I think it benefits the students, in engaging parents as parents have a better understanding of the school, they have a better understanding of supporting their own child and their child's learning. 

Marsha:
I think a big part of what we do is embedding skills of resilience and hard work  and that ethic in our students each day. Whatever they wanna do when they leave this school, we give them the tools and the skills that we can to help them achieve that. 

Jessica:
I think in the future, I'll definitely take all the skills that I've learned, especially during times where I feel like it may be challenging or tough because life changes now outside of high school. So I'll definitely be bringing those with me.

[End of transcript]

Teacher and students at Charlestown Public School Teacher and students at Charlestown Public School

Charlestown South Public School is a K-6 primary school located in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie region on Awabakal land. It currently has 258 students.

The Ambassador Schools research will identify the effective practices at Charlestown South Public School that are having the greatest impact on student achievement in its unique context.

“High expectations, quality relationships and a drive and passion for student wellbeing and engagement is the foundation upon which everything is built [at our school]” – Colin Johnson, Principal, Charlestown South Public School.

Learn more about Charlestown South Public School:

Charlestown South Public School

Colin:
I think it's everyone's philosophy at Charlestown South that every child matters.  And we also believe very strongly that every child can be a successful learner.  That's that's key for us. Our foundation is relationship. We have an amazing staff at Charlestown South that just works so much as a team. And we're very passionate and have one single vision. And always we run everything through a filter, whenever we do anything here. And that's certainly what difference does it make for our kids.

Louisa:
Teaching for me and how I operate within my classroom at the heart of it is really about the relationships I have with my students. That underpins everything and all of the effectiveness of any teaching instruction within my classroom. I use data to drive and inform my practice. Differentiating the curriculum to meet students at their individual point of need.

Niamh:
The teachers, they really help you flourish when they see that you're particularly skillful in a specific topic. And also with the subjects that you're not as confident with they will help you develop more knowledge in that subject.

Amy:
Well, the school treats every child here as an individual and although they have a collective vision of how they want to build the classroom cultures and transition children throughout the years, every child's learning is individualised. And every child knows that they can go to their teacher to meet their individual needs and ask questions.

Colin:
Yeah, our journey over the last couple of years has been a very interesting one for us. A bit of an adventure in many ways. I suppose it all began back in 2014, was our real change where we figured we need to change what we do. We jumped into the explicit instruction pedagogy and that's what we want for children to be able to pull that information and skill out and transfer it to their everyday life. 

Louisa:
Immediately I think, we saw a huge difference in our student engagement. Students were more eager to engage in all of our classroom learning and that just compounded into student confidence. And then of course we saw it in our student results as well.

Colin:
In terms of professional development, we've developed very much a system at  Charlestown South where, every classroom teacher is in each other's classrooms a lot.  So they're very used to having a number of teachers in the back of their classroom, observing their practice, learning from them, providing feedback. And that all helps I guess, in developing a teacher to be better every year.

Amy:
Well, the community at Charlestown South is a hugely supportive one. And it's the sort of school where you walk through as a parent and teachers who've never had your child in their class, greet you by name. And you know that every teacher knows your child.

Colin:
The wellbeing of kids is paramount for us. If they're happy, content, bound through the gate every day with a smile on their face, want to learn,  then we'll find success. You marry that up with an incredibly passionate staff that work as a team and then put pedagogy that works, really research based pedagogy, match that up with your data. And right there you've got a massive keep for success in student growth.

[End of transcript]

Students at Fairvale High School Students at Fairvale High School

Fairvale High School is a large, co-educational secondary school located in Fairfield West on Cabrogal and Dharug land. It currently has 1455 students and is very culturally diverse, with 93% of students from language backgrounds other than English.

The Ambassador Schools research will identify the effective practices at Fairvale High School that are having the greatest impact on student achievement in its unique context.

“The way we’ve been able to achieve quality learning outcomes is the relationships our teachers have with the students… We try and form really good relationships between teachers and students and be very inclusive in all that we do” – Kathleen Seto, Principal, Fairvale High School.

Learn more about Fairvale High School:

Fairvale High School

Kathleen:
I'm Kathleen Seto. I'm the principal of Fairvale High. I've been here 15 years now. I love the school. It's multicultural, comprehensive, co-educational, and truly reflects society.

Imeelya:
The really cool thing about this school that makes it different from all the other ones is the amount of different cultures we have here, and the different amount of people. Everybody has their own little thing. And so that's what makes it really special, 'cause there's different qualities in every single person. Each person excels in something different, and it really makes you see the world as a bigger picture.

Kathleen:
The way that we've been able to achieve really good quality learning outcomes is the relationship that our teachers have with the students. We try and focus on our values of FAIR, which is Focused, Aspiring, Inclusive, Respectful, and we try and form really good relationships between teachers and students and be very inclusive in all that we do.

Lauren:
To engage students in my classes, the first thing I would look at is building a rapport with those students, getting to know those students and their interests. And then that helps in designing the lessons that we give for those students.

Kareem:
What I enjoy most about my lessons is that the teachers engage with students, and they relate topics and ideas to real life situations.

Kathleen:
Our students need a lot of help with their literacy and their numeracy. For a number of years, we've had really explicit teaching, which have been research-informed, and we've been able to get really good results.

Lauren:
One of the great joys of working at our school, is working with our refugee students who are learning English as an additional language or dialect. They first come to our school with very little English, and it's great to celebrate their graduating at the end, writing essays, completing their HSC exams.

Kathleen:
There are a couple of factors that make the school unique. Number one is the stability of our leadership. The fact that we have a very comprehensive, professional learning program. We have a head teacher mentor where we look after our early career teachers.

Krystal:
They go over what's working in the classroom, what isn't working in the classroom, different ways of delivering similar content depending on the ability of students.

Imeelya:
Well, it's not really about what's inside the classroom, it's about who is inside it. It is the students and the teachers, and the amount of support they give you to excel in the areas you love and the areas you really wanna be in. It makes you enjoy education, and it makes you see education as something that is not just boring that you have to do.

Kathleen:
My vision for the future would be to keep on bringin' in early career teachers, and building up their expertise, also to have a really good rapport with the community, good relationships with students so they can be very successful, and one day they may want to come back at Fairvale and teach in public education.

[End of transcript]

Students in the garden at Huntingdon Public School Students in the garden at Huntingdon Public School

Huntingdon Public School is a small, rural school located in bushland seven kilometres west of Wauchope on Bunyah land. It currently has 35 students.

The Ambassador Schools research will identify the effective practices at Huntingdon Public School that are having the greatest impact on student achievement in its unique context.

“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” – Peta Harris, Principal, Huntingdon Public School.

Learn more about Huntingdon Public School:

Huntingdon Public School

Peta:
I'm Peta Harris. I'm the principal at Huntingdon Public School. We're a small rural school. We're nestled in bushland. So I guess that probably sets the scene for what our community is. I feel like we're a very caring culture. We've worked really hard to build very strong relationships with our parents, with our students, with our teachers.

Alyson:
Describing the culture of the school, I would say as far as students go, is engaged, inclusive. I feel like from kindergarten to year six, they don't really mind who they're playing with, who they're learning with. They just include each other.

Layla:
Some big schools, there would be people you don't know. But here, we all know each other and play with each other. We're like one big family.

Mon:
I think because Huntingdon School's such a small school, teachers can get more involved with one-on-one learning in the classrooms, and I think they really value the students.

Layla:
What I like about my teachers is that they help us when we need it. And when we make a mistake, they help us solve them. And they really care about us.

Alyson:
I set students up for success every day through routine and structure. They know what's going on in the classroom. We have a visual timetable so they can check in with that. We have morning meetings, so they know what's going on in the day. We have independent learning going on plus learning in small groups.

Peta:
My teachers are passionate. They're highly skilled. They're self-reflective. They have very high expectations of their students. They're very determined to know every single student and their needs. If you walk into our classrooms, you will see students doing different activities. It's not one-size-fits-all. So our big philosophy for teaching and learning is to tailor it to every single student's need. And it changes based on what they show us they're doing today as to what we will teach them tomorrow.

Mon:
I think it's really important that we be involved in the students' learning and be present here. And I think Huntingdon do an amazing job at keeping us in the loop of everything that's going on. I love our morning chats, and just checking in, and seeing where the kids are at, and what they're learning, and what they're doing for the day.

Alyson:
We always tell our parents that knowledge is power. So tell us whatever you need to so that we can help your kids learn and be part of our school. So it's a very unique place.

Layla:
So we not crowded and there's lots of bush and stuff, and we have some chickens, gardens, and we go like potatoes, beans, and we have some bees.

Mon:
I love that we're a small community, but they have the biggest heart and it's just welcoming. And I love being involved here and I love the unique things that they get to do here.

Peta:
So our big vision is to continue on this journey and not rest on our laurels. I think sometimes, you think we've made it, we're there, but I don't think we'll ever be there. I think we can always be better today than what we were yesterday, and that's a big motto we actually share with our students, and it's a motto that we stick by as teachers and support staff in our school.

[End of transcript]

Teacher and students at Macarthur Girls High School Teacher and students at Macarthur Girls High School

Macarthur Girls High School is a large, all-girls secondary school located near the Parramatta River on Darug land. It currently has 1098 students and is very culturally diverse, with 93% of students from language backgrounds other than English.

The Ambassador Schools research will identify the effective practices at Macarthur Girls High School that are having the greatest impact on student achievement in its unique context.

“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” – Gail Cluff, Principal, Macarthur Girls High School.

Learn more about Macarthur Girls High School:

Macarthur Girls High School

Luke:
Macarthur Girls has just under 1100 students. We are really proud of the fact that we have 94% of our students from language backgrounds other than English, and our students and their families speak over 50 languages. And we are very proud of the diversity and what that richness brings to school. And also, it's impact on student learning.

Melissa:
The most rewarding thing about being a teacher at Macarthur Girls High School is the learning that takes place. I feel like the diversity of our school means that we are constantly being challenged by our students, learning new things about them, and in turn challenging them. So I feel like it's created a dynamic sort of ethos, a dynamic culture of innovation and learning, and which I think is something that's quite special to our school.

Siri:
I think the thing about our lessons that keeps me interested is how knowledgeable the teachers are. They're always giving us new information, new facts that we've never known before, and it's like so interesting. And the fact that they know so much is kind of encouragement for us to learn more as well. And they're always taking into mind how we want to learn or how we need to learn.

Melissa:
So I really believe in knowing my students and how they learn, and facilitating their learning and their skill development. I feel that if they like learning, they're interested in learning, they are going to achieve more to their potential.

Luke:
We use a whole range of data, internal, external, and our knowledge of the students to make sure that when we are designing teaching and learning activities for them, that we can then modify, differentiate, so that we are meeting the individual needs of students across the full range of abilities, and also from different backgrounds and different experiences too.

Melissa:
In terms of our school's diversity, it's not just the student body, which is quite multicultural, it is also the diversity within our teaching staff. There's a lot of team teaching that goes on in our school, a lot of collaboration. And this has seen teachers who've been teaching for a number of years, working with early career teachers, and they themselves are also learning.

Luke:
The staff here are very, very good in terms of a commitment to their ongoing professional development. And one thing that's in place to support that is really effective professional learning that targets the areas where teachers need to improve, but also embeds the needs of their students.

Siri:
In the future, I'm not entirely sure exactly what I'd like to do as career, but it's really reassuring knowing that I've been equipped with all the skills that I need to do whatever I need to do.

[End of transcript]

Students Mathoura Public School Students Mathoura Public School

Mathoura Public School is a small, regional, K-6 primary school, located in the Southern Riverina between Deniliquin and Moama on Yorta Yorta land. It currently has 49 students from a community population of about 700 people.

The Ambassador Schools research will identify the effective practices at Mathoura Public School that are having the greatest impact on student achievement in its unique context.

“All students have individual learning goals and students can articulate what they are currently working towards achieving. They receive quality feedback based on their progress towards their learning goals” – Janice Eddy, Principal, Mathoura Public School.

Learn more about Mathoura Public School:

Mathoura Public School

Janice:
Mathoura is a small country town surrounded by the largest red gum forest in the world. The town Mathoura has around 700 people. So we're a small community. Our school plays a vital role within Mathoura. We're surrounded by farming families. We have a very strong connection with our parents, our families, as well as the community. So we're like the centre of our community.

Chelsea:
Living rural means that everyone knows everyone. Your principal is your neighbour. Your teachers live just down the road. They know if you need extra support, they know if there's something happening, exciting in the community, and the community gets together and helps.

Elka:
My name is Elka Pearl, and... I'm in Year 1 in Mathoura public school. I like this school because whenever you need something, they're there for you. And they're really nice. Ms. Park, especially, is really nice 'cause she helps me whenever I need help with my homework.

Janice:
Our approach to teaching and learning is using data to inform our teaching practice. We do a lot of explicit teaching. We have many small groups in each of the classrooms.

Rachael:
I would describe my approach to teaching as inclusive. I think that my role is to guide my students to be independent, critical thinkers who are lifelong learners, and I help them develop those skills by giving them differentiated learning and targeted learning goals. I think that it's really important to teach across the curriculum. And I believe that by integrating the key learning areas into a unit of inquiry you can allow deep learning to occur.

Janice:
Our students are provided with many extracurricular activities. They're given many educational experiences. Everything we do is in the interest of a child and we try to provide them with as many experiences as we possibly can.

Chelsea:
The school offers support to everyone. There are kids that might need that extra support throughout class. And I find that they set up learning specifically to each and every student. No one's left behind. No one's without. It's wonderful.

Rachael:
I set my students up for success by providing them with a safe and structured learning environment. I make sure that students understand what's expected of them at all times. In everyday learning, that looks like setting up clear learning intentions and success criteria and providing students with effective feedback based around their individual learning goals. In assessment tasks, that looks like providing them with a rubric that I've created based on the syllabus outcomes, as well as the progressions to make sure that students know exactly how to succeed in that assessment task.

Janice:
Our vision for the future is to continue to excel in all different areas. To excel in teaching, providing that quality teaching for our students. For our students to be happy, and for our students to become their best version of themselves.

[End of transcript]

Student at Millthorpe Public School Student at Millthorpe Public School

Millthorpe Public School is a small, regional, K-6 primary school located in the NSW Central Tablelands on Wiradjuri land. It currently has 270 students .

The Ambassador Schools research will identify the effective practices at Millthorpe Public School that are having the greatest impact on student achievement in its unique context.

“It is exciting to think the excellent practice and collective efficacy from our staff can now span beyond our immediate community of schools to help others in the continuous cycle of school improvement” – Penny Granger, Principal, Millthorpe Public School.

Learn more about Millthorpe Public School:

Millthorpe Public School

Penny:
I started at Millthorpe as a prac student in 2002. My relationship with Millthorpe has been as a teacher and Assistant Principal and now the pre school.

Parent:
Penny's a wonderful principal. She's just the most loving and warm and approachable person. The kids just absolutely love her.

Student:
It's just got a lovely community It's just got a lovely community feel and all the teachers just are so good and their ways of learning are just so different.

Penny:
We have a really strong strategy around literacy and numeracy, and that's then enveloped within a well being strategy. With teachers having the greatest impact obviously on learning outcomes, we have made a decision to invest in our teachers professional knowledge and learning.

Tom:
I have 29 different students with 29 different ability levels. You've got to tailor fit each of your lessons to each of them to try and get the best out of them.

Penny:
The teachers are constantly improving their practice. Each year they improve so the students can improve and the school can improve.

Tom:
The teacher will know their students best and they will be working day to day to try and get the best out of their children. But Penny and the exec would be looking over the data that's coming through and kind of analysing it to see if there's any students that are at need, that maybe we might not have identified and possibly looking into different programs that we could offer to support those children.

Student:
I feel that my writings improved a lot. Mr Mason, he explained everything so well and he made all these new ways to write and I've never forgotten them. They understand if you're having trouble and they like, say, stuff like it's not all about the grades, it's about trying.

Penny:
They other kids that are the first to hug you and say thank you.

You know there are the children who I don't know, will always have a pretty special place in your heart and we we always say that they're are Millthorpe kids.

They're really focused on the individual relationship with each student and helping them learn at their best in the way that is best for them.

That individual sort of attention to the kids learning needs has been evident across across the board with my kids.

School success is based on context and it's based on the students that sit in front of you and the community that envelopes you. And it's having the ability to meet the needs of your students, your community and the staff that can really make the school hum. As we like to say here, we like to make our good kids great.

[End of transcript]

Students at Winmalee Public School Students at Winmalee Public School

Winmalee Public School is a K-6 primary school located in the Blue Mountains on Dharug and Gundungurra land. It currently has 346 students.

The Ambassador Schools research will identify the effective practices at Winmalee Public School that are having the greatest impact on student achievement in its unique context.

“Teachers at Winmalee Public School have a strong focus on enhancing practice and also a strong and relentless focus on student improvement” – Kate Ford, Principal, Winmalee Public School.

Learn more about Winmalee Public School:

Winmalee Public School

Kate:
I'm Kate Ford, I have been the principal of Winmalee Public School since 2018, and I absolutely love where I work. Everyone is so accepting. Everyone knows that we're all here together and that we're a team and that the community really trust us.

Belinda:
We're a really close community here in Winmalee. It's really important for everybody to come close as a community. We really care about what happens in our school.

Morgan:
My teachers support me very well in many ways. When something's very hard that I can't do, they give me lots of support and encouragement, which I really like.

Nathan:
The most rewarding thing about being a teacher at Winmalee Public School is the fact that I can be a really positive influence. I'm able to impart my passion towards not only their academics but also their social and emotional development. I set my students up for success by using a lot of data-driven practice and also collaboration throughout the Stage One team. We're able to look at data to then project where our students should go and then help them get there as well.

Kate:
I would describe the teachers as a really close-knit, supportive staff that really are collaborative in nature. And we really work together for the benefit of our students. We use really strong evidence-based practices to then implement different ways and approaches of how to engage our students.

Nathan:
My approach to teaching is very evidence based. It's also very problem based. So instead of going "Here's a concept that we're going to explore today," I'm gonna go, "Here's the answer, I want you to tell me everything you know about it." So it's very student driven in the sense that they get to guide their own learning process.

Belinda:
Parental engagement is really, really important here at Winmalee. The teachers allow us to communicate in different ways. We can either volunteer at the school or we can use the different socials.

Kate:
Our school vision is really about collaboration and that involves bringing the families in so that they have a clear understanding of the school's intent. The students have a clear understanding of the school's intent about their education, and the staff have a clear knowledge about where we want to be.

Morgan:
Well, what I want to be when I grow up I want to study aeronautical engineering because science is really cool and I like science.

Kate:
We're all here for a common goal and that is for student success. It's that strong sense of a family And I think that is really unique for Winmalee Public School, and it allows us to really support each other and know our context so well.

[End of transcript]

Students at Charlestown South Public School Students at Charlestown South Public School
Image: Students at Charlestown South Public School

Researching and scaling effective practice

The Ambassador Schools Research Centre (ASRC) was established with university partners to research, identify and understand effective practices in Ambassador Schools, following a competitive grant process.

Led by the University of New South Wales in collaboration with the University of Canberra and Charles Sturt University, the ASRC is working to identify what Ambassador Schools are doing that is having the greatest impact on student achievement in their unique context. This work will deepen the evidence base about ways to maximise student academic achievement.

The ASRC co-designed the research methodology with Ambassador Schools and data collection commenced in Term 3, 2022. Research will continue until 2024.

Get in touch

For more information about the Ambassador Schools program, contact: AmbassadorSchools@det.nsw.edu.au

Students at Cabramatta High School Students at Cabramatta High School
Image: Students at Cabramatta High School

The School Success Model is our plan for driving student success. It’s how we support staff on-the-ground, prioritise action and build the resilience and success of every NSW public school.​

Universal Resources Hub

Universal Resources Hub - delivering quality support resources for NSW public schools

The Universal Resources Hub is a central feature of the School Success Model. The hub provides school staff with a central place to access quality-assured teaching, learning and, school improvement resources to use and share.

It is an essential support offering available to NSW public schools. All resources on the hub have been assessed against design standards introduced by the School Success Model review processes to ensure consistency, relevance and quality of resources.

The benefits of the Universal Resources Hub are:

  • resources are quality-assured through a new process introduced by the School Success Model review processes to ensure they are designed with the needs of schools in mind and backed by evidence of what we know works to improve student and school outcomes
  • resources are mapped to the teaching and learning cycle or the school improvement cycle
  • resources are delivered in line with the department's priority areas.

Resources are reviewed and published based on the needs of schools and evaluation of what we know is working.

How to access

The Universal Resources Hub was launched in March 2022 and hosts over 790 resources for staff to use.

Please note, that the Universal Resources Hub can only be accessed by staff working in the NSW Department of Education. Staff will be prompted to login to the Universal Hub using their staff portal details.

Further support

For any questions about the Universal Resources Hub, please get in touch at: schoolsuccess@det.nsw.edu.au

The School Success Model is our plan for driving student success. It’s how we support staff on-the-ground, prioritise action and build the resilience and success of every NSW public school.​

Frequently asked questions

1. What evidence is being used to inform the School Success Model?

The development of the School Success Model considered a range of primary and secondary research into best-practice educational governance, strategies to drive system-wide improvement to student outcomes, and effective methods of school reform design and evaluation.

This summary outlines the three main research questions considered during the policy development of the School Success Model. Additional primary evidence included the Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation’s Local Schools, Local Decisions (LSLD) evaluation interim report, final report, and the NSW Auditor General’s performance audit, Local Schools, Local Decisions: needs-based equity funding.

We're also refining what we are delivering based on the experience, co-construction, and evaluation of support being delivered in schools (through universal, guided or strategic support processes). Where possible this feedback will directly embed this research in the current implementation of the School Success Model or inform future strategic priorities for the department.

2. How does shared accountability drive system improvement?

The NSW Government's review of Local Schools Local Decisions was undertaken to ensure the right balance between autonomy, accountability, and support for schools.

The development of the School Success Model included consideration of system improvement programs in New Zealand and Ontario, Canada. While the differences between each system are considerable, both Ontario and New Zealand serve cohorts with demographic similarities to New South Wales and have developed promising programs that target support resources to schools according to performance and need.

One feature the two systems share is the use of student outcome data to target and inform support to underperforming schools and disadvantaged student cohorts. The Ontario Focused Intervention Partnership program, for example, provides support to schools that underperform in comparison to contextually comparable schools, where this support is tailored according to need. In New Zealand, research has indicated the effectiveness of data-targeted support in addressing the needs of disadvantaged cohorts, with particular success in improving educational outcomes for Māori and Pasifika student cohorts in a variety of outcome areas, including literacy, numeracy, and participation in tertiary education.

To effectively and equitably drive performance improvement, performance accountability frameworks must be appropriately calibrated. This requires the reform program to:

  1. determine a range of nuanced performance targets, avoiding the creation of perverse incentives
  2. select corresponding accountability measures, and evaluate performance against these measures with consideration of school and student context
  3. develop school support mechanisms that are fit-for-purpose, provided in a timely manner, and evaluated regularly.

OECD research provides evidence of a relationship between school autonomy and accountability and improved student outcomes, in instances where autonomy and accountability are ‘intelligently combined’ (OECD 2010, as cited by NSW Department of Education and Communities 2012, p. 26).

In its LSLD final evaluation report, CESE recommended that schools should be subject to appropriate scrutiny and accountability around the decisions they make to target school and student outcomes, while the department should take a greater role in providing support to schools to make these local decisions.

3. How will the department evaluate the impact of the School Success Model?

The School Support Model includes overarching governance, ongoing evaluation and reporting on the efficacy of supports, and setting, monitoring, and reporting of system-level performance targets. For example, evaluation practices are embedded within the process of identifying, developing and deploying support (universal, guided or strategic) in priority learning areas. As part of this support process, corporate teams work alongside principals and school leaders as well as Directors, Educational Leadership, to gather feedback before implementation of support and to review progress to ensure intended outcomes are achieved.

Additionally, the Department’s Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation (CESE) is leading an independent program-wide evaluation of the School Success Model. The evaluation will seek to understand if SSM program activities are being implemented as intended and to monitor the extent to which program activities are achieving intended goals and making progress toward student outcome targets.

More information

For more information, email SchoolSuccess@det.nsw.edu.au.
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