Condell Park Public School

Instructional leadership in 'Talk for writing'

Instructional leadership was used to implement ‘Talk for Writing’, an evidence-based writing pedagogy, initially for students from EAL/D backgrounds. The pedagogy provides students of all language backgrounds with a systematic modelled, guided and independent approach to writing based on pre-assessment of student needs.

School context



School type Primary
School subtype K - 6
Current student enrolment 516 - 700 students
FOEI range 101 - 150
Aboriginal background enrolment 0 - 10%
EAL/D enrolment 61 - 70%
IEC No
Support class(es) No
School demographic information

Instructional leadership was used to implement ‘Talk for Writing’, an evidence-based writing pedagogy, initially for students from EAL/D backgrounds. The pedagogy provides students of all language backgrounds with a systematic modelled, guided and independent approach to writing based on pre-assessment of student needs.

Initiative purpose

NAPLAN data, formative assessment, work sample moderation and teacher observations were used to identify writing as an area requiring growth. Students had difficulty forming ideas, structuring texts appropriately for purpose and utilising language features to impact the reader. All these areas have a specific focus in the initiative.

Each stage implements pre-assessment at the start of each teaching cycle with the data used to determine the needs of students at stage, class and individual level. Lessons are differentiated to support students at point of need, with ongoing formative assessment and a post-test writing assessment used to determine student success.

Teachers initially had varying degrees of knowledge in the elements of author intent and the use of language features to enhance the impact on the reader. The instructional leadership approach enabled specific and targeted professional learning, delivered in small groups and individually in the classroom through modelling and shoulder to shoulder teaching.

Instructional leadership was used to implement ‘Talk for Writing’, an evidence-based writing pedagogy, initially for students from EAL/D backgrounds. The pedagogy provides students of all language backgrounds with a systematic modelled, guided and independent approach to writing based on pre-assessment of student needs.

Implementation timeframe and activities

The initiative was delivered (and continues to be enhanced) over a timeframe of 3 years.

Writing was identified as an area of focus for the school and the initiative began with a small focus group of teachers and classes. After an initial pilot period, the initiative was then successfully scaled to provide whole school professional learning and K – 6 implementation over a 2-year period.

Whole school professional learning was delivered by external experts in the initiative's early stages. This was followed by the implementation and strategic delivery of differentiated professional learning by instructional leaders.

Time was provided in the school timetable for ‘Teaching as Partners’ (TAP) which enabled teachers to be released from face to face to work in small groups, or individually, with instructional leaders to examine data, determine class and teacher needs and plan effective sequences of learning which targeted identified student needs.

Time was allocated for shoulder to shoulder teaching in which instructional leaders modelled exemplary teaching practice. Explicit lessons were delivered and observational notes taken about where to next. Programs were reviewed and adjustments for improvement made based on goal reflection and assessment data.

Progress was monitored over time through the moderation of pre and post student work samples, reflection on teacher practice and confidence and the use of a beginning and end of year assessment where effect size was used to calculate growth.

Instructional leadership was used to implement ‘Talk for Writing’, an evidence-based writing pedagogy, initially for students from EAL/D backgrounds. The pedagogy provides students of all language backgrounds with a systematic modelled, guided and independent approach to writing based on pre-assessment of student needs.

Resources and funding sources

  • Instructional leadership funded through Early Action for Success at a cost of $172,000.
  • Two teachers were employed through equity funding to enable teacher release from class to work with instructional leaders at a cost of $224,000.
  • The principal support funding and equity funding was used to enable the principal to act in an instructional leader role through the employment of a part-time business manager at a cost of $68,000.
  • Training was provided for the whole staff and ongoing training provided for new staff members at a cost of $10,000 from professional learning funds.
  • Quality texts for use by students and teachers were purchased to support the initiative at a cost of $5,000 from literacy and numeracy initiative funds.

Total cost - approximately $479,000 per year

Funding sources used
Socio-economic background
Professional learning
Literacy and numeracy initiative
Early Action for Success (EAfS)
School support allocation (Principal support)

Instructional leadership was used to implement ‘Talk for Writing’, an evidence-based writing pedagogy, initially for students from EAL/D backgrounds. The pedagogy provides students of all language backgrounds with a systematic modelled, guided and independent approach to writing based on pre-assessment of student needs.

Evidence of impact


Effect size data indicated whole school growth of between 0.56 and 1.3 over the 3 years of implementation.

NAPLAN data indicated an average increase of 28.5 points in year 5 writing and 25.7 points increase in year 3 over the same period of time.

There was a 4.5% increase in the number of students in the top 2 bands in year 5 and a 7.3% increase in year 3. The average scaled growth in writing was 65.8% which equates to 19.5% above State and 23.4 % above statistically similar school groups.

Teachers are comfortable planning the learning sequence and have a greater knowledge of the authorial aspects of the writing process.

Students have knowledge of how to structure their writing and to enhance the enjoyment of the reader through specific language features.

Instructional leadership was used to implement ‘Talk for Writing’, an evidence-based writing pedagogy, initially for students from EAL/D backgrounds. The pedagogy provides students of all language backgrounds with a systematic modelled, guided and independent approach to writing based on pre-assessment of student needs.

Next steps

The initiative is continuing to evolve and improve with the addition of 'Talk for reading', which draws together comprehension, reading and writing.

New teachers are trained by outside experts and supported in school through instructional leaders and an interventionist who focus on one stage per term.

The school aims to continue to build the expertise of staff and have a greater number of teachers who are willing and able to provide training and support to teachers across the school.

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