School Success Model

The School Success Model is our plan for improving schools together. It’s how we support staff on-the-ground, prioritise clear action and build resilience and success in a time of change and recovery.​

About the program

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

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.

There are three key objectives:

  • developing quality-assured, evidence-led support around the needs of each school and their students to lift attendance, achievement and wellbeing
  • sharing accountability for student improvement by putting in place clearer targets, lifting capability and sharing what works best
  • freeing up more time for teachers, principals and school staff to spend on activities that improve student outcomes around teaching, learning and leading.

The School Success Model is our plan for improving schools together. It’s how we support staff on-the-ground, prioritise clear action and build resilience and success in a time of change and recovery.​

Delivering support where it is needed

The model will use evidence from different aspects of school performance to direct and customise support more effectively. All schools will have access to evidence-based guidance. Schools, where improvement outcomes are more challenging to obtain, will receive strengthened support and direction.

The School Success Model is our plan for improving schools together. It’s how we support staff on-the-ground, prioritise clear action and build resilience and success in a time of change and recovery.​

We’re all responsible

The School Success Model is clear that everyone in Education is responsible for improving student outcomes – school leaders, teachers, support staff and the system more broadly.

Our schools are responsible for improving student outcomes and have signed up for ambitious student performance targets. The School Success Model outlines support for schools to achieve their targets, as well as the responsibilities of everyone across our system.

Just as there are targets for schools to achieve, there will be ambitious targets for the system to achieve to reduce administrative burden and ensure it provides evidence-based support, guidance and direction to lift school and student performance.

For example, student attendance is one area where there is room for improvement at both the school and system levels. Attendance is fundamental to ensuring students develop important social connections and maximise learning opportunities.

The department has set a target to increase the proportion of our students attending school more than 90 percent of the time.

The School Success Model will direct support to schools more effectively based on their needs and context. Three types of support are available to schools through the School Support Success Model. These include universal, guided or strategic support.

Three types of support for schools

One of the core objectives of the School Success Model is to support all schools with quality tools and targeted advice they need to help every student achieve their potential. We are committed to supporting our staff, despite the challenges we may face as we continue to deliver education to NSW public school students in a period of change and recovery.

We know that to drive improvement across our schools we need to enhance the quality of support and planning schools utilise in their everyday practices. This year we are bringing together school data, new teaching resources and specialist staff to work with principals 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 - Learning, Teaching and Leading so that every student, every teacher, every leader and every school improve every year.

The types of support will range from access to system-designed and quality assured universal resources available to all schools to more targeted and strategic approaches to lift results in schools facing greater learning challenges. Guided and strategic support is characterised by evidence-based and customised support for schools that is delivered by specialists in collaboration with the school’s leadership team and DELs.

The new approach to supporting schools is based on the school’s current results and their level of need to achieve progress. The greater the need, the greater level of support is given to schools.

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


Type of support Description of support Example in practice

Universal support

A self-service support type delivered through one central digital hub, currently the Universal Resource Hub, or professional learning.

Curated and quality assured evidence-based resources available to schools.

Teachers using quality assured resources on the system’s Universal Resources Hub

Head Teachers or Assistant Principals sharing examples of useful and effective resources with teaching staff on the Hub

Guided support

Targeted guidance by DELs and/or specialists to identify, discuss and support the implementation of appropriate universal resources. Guidance provided for specific area(s) identified by the system and/or schools such as reading or numeracy.

Directors, Educational Leaders directing specific resources on the system’s Universal Resources Hub for use in a particular learning area, for instance reading, in their planning sessions with principals

Regular consultations and ongoing coaching between Directors, Educational Leadership, Principal Education Officers and Principals on suitable universal resources

Strategic support

Intensive and customised support delivered by dedicated specialists in collaboration with the school’s leadership and DELs Support provided for specific area(s) identified by the system and/or schools.

A 10-week program led by the system’s Teacher Quality Advisors (TQAs), 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 skills.

The School Success Model is our plan for improving schools together. It’s how we support staff on-the-ground, prioritise clear action and build resilience and success in a time of change and recovery.​

Learning from the best

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 will provide schools with tools to ensure that every student benefits from the very best teaching methods.

The NSW Department of Education’s new School Success Model replaces Local Schools, Local Decisions. The new model complements other school improvement work currently under way such as the curriculum review reforms and will help ensure that every student, teacher, leader and school improves every year.

Ambassador schools

We're identifying high-performing public schools in NSW and working with them to share their effective practices with other schools across the state and beyond.

A key initiative in the School Success Model, the Ambassador Schools program is one way we are lifting performance across NSW public schools.

The Ambassador Schools program will build a strong evidence-base of effective practices from a diverse range of schools across the state. This involves identifying high-performing schools and researching their effective practices. We will then scale and implement these practices in other NSW public schools in order to improve learning outcomes for all students.

Our Ambassador Schools

Ambassador Schools have been selected for their strong performance compared with contextually-similar schools across a range of measures, including reading, numeracy, attendance and HSC performance. A total of 10 Ambassador Schools will take part, representing a range of NSW public schools including primary and secondary, metropolitan and regional, and schools across 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.

The final four schools, announced in Term 1, 2022, are:

  • Cabramatta High School
  • Charlestown South Public School
  • Mathoura Public School
  • Winmalee Public School

Video: Charlestown South Public School

Duration – 03:13

Charlestown South Public School

Video: Cabramatta High School

Duration – 02.56

Cabramatta High School

Mathoura Public School

Image: Mathoura Public School

Winmalee Public School

Image: Winmalee Public School

They join six other Ambassador Schools in the program:

  • Auburn North Public School
  • Bonnyrigg Heights Public School
  • Fairvale High School
  • Huntingdon Public School
  • Macarthur Girls High School
  • Millthorpe Public School

Video: Millthorpe Public School

Duration – 03:05

Milthorpe Public School Student Success

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 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]

Video: Bonnyrigg Heights Public School

Duration – 02:23
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]

Huntingdon Public School

Macarthur Girls High School

Researching and scaling effective practice

The Ambassador Schools Research Centre has been 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 Research Centre will work across both metropolitan and regional areas to identify what our Ambassador Schools are doing that is having the greatest impact on student achievement in their unique context and scale these evidence-based practices across schools.

The Research Centre will strengthen our knowledge on ways to maximise student academic achievement while reducing educational disadvantage in NSW public schools.

The university consortium will begin co-designing the research approach with the department and Ambassador Schools from early 2022. Research will continue until 2024.

Get in touch

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

The School Success Model is our plan for improving schools together. It’s how we support staff on-the-ground, prioritise clear action and build resilience and success in a time of change and recovery.​

Targets for school and system improvement

The School Success Model details a range of ambitious targets for schools and the system, which build upon the NSW Premier’s Priorities in education and reflect our shared commitment to improvement.

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.

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 opportunties to benefit from support initiatives under the School Success Model and the COVID Intensive Learning Support Program

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 NSW Department of Education’s Universal Resources Hub provides a central place for teaching and school-based staff to access quality assured teaching, learning and school improvement resources. Resources available in the Universal Resources Hub are developed by the department's experts and are assessed through a new standardised quality assurance process.

Universal Resources Hub

Overview of Universal Resources Hub

We are committed to supporting our staff as we continue to deliver education to NSW public school students in a period of change and recovery. A major goal of the School Success Model is to support all schools with quality tools, resources, and targeted advice they need to help every student achieve their potential.

The Universal Resources Hub provides a central location for school staff to access quality-assured teaching, learning and school improvement resources.

The benefits of the Universal Resources Hub for school staff are:

  • all resources are quality assured through a standardised quality assurance process to ensure they have relevance, impact and meet specific quality standards
  • the quality assured resources available are mapped to either the Teaching and Learning cycle or the School Improvement cycle to help teachers, school leaders and school-based staff with their daily teaching and school practices
  • quality assured resources will be developed continuously and uploaded regularly throughout the year.

The Quality Assurance Process is undertaken by the department’s experts to ensure the resources are designed and developed to improve student outcomes or school planning.

The number of resources found within the Universal Resources Hub will increase over time. More resources will be developed on a needs basis for staff and refined based on our evaluation of what we know is working.

How to access

The Universal Resources Hub was launched in March 2022.

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. Staff can add the Universal Resources Hub tile to their My Essentials list.

For staff working in the NSW Department of Education here is a link to the Universal Resource Hub. You will be prompted to login using your staff portal details.

Further support

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

A new quality assurance process has been created to lift the standards for all universal resources for schools. The process ensures that universal resources are high quality and meet the needs of schools.

Quality assurance process for universal support resources

The Quality Assurance (QA) process for universal support resources is a new approach created for improving existing and future support resources for schools. It's a process that ensures all universal resources provided to schools are relevant, of high quality, and underpinned by evidence-based practice.

The process is a core part of improving school support, which is one of the School Success Model objectives.

Priority support areas for this work cover:

  • Attendance
  • Reading and numeracy
  • Aboriginal HSC attainment
  • Financial management
  • STEM.T4L
  • Curriculum
  • Wellbeing
  • Inclusive, engaging and respectful schools
  • School Excellence in Action

The NSW Department of Education’s new School Success Model replaces Local Schools, Local Decisions. The new model complements other school improvement work currently under way such as the curriculum review reforms and will help ensure that every student, teacher, leader and school improves every year.

Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

1. What evidence base was used to inform the 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.

2. How can strengthened accountability drive system improvement?

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.

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 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.

3. How will the department evaluate the impact of the program?

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 for schools that receive guided or strategic support 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 Statistic 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 towards student outcome targets.

Download the School Success Model

More information

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