Inspiration leads to ideas but what moves ideas to innovation?

Ideas and innovation are often seen as one in the same, when in actuality these are different. Innovation is about how to make the idea viable and measurable to attain particular outcomes. [1]

Innovation can be applied to any system, process, structure etc It is driven by a clear vision along with an implementation framework and activities that transition the idea into something tangible.

For Blue Haven Public School the road to transformation through innovation was made over years. In 2016, Blue Haven performed below the state average on all NAPLAN domains and in comparison to government schools with value-added data for Year 3 to 5. From 2018 it was performing above the state average in six out of 10 domains and was in the top 10% in terms of value-add.

How did they get there?

The principal, Paul McDermott identified that transformation would need to be done incrementally and collaboratively.

Paul began to seek out evidence-based literature on leading, teaching and learning in schools and made contact with leaders of high-performing schools locally and interstate for advice and ideas.

When it came to applying his learnings he started at the top. He redesigned his leadership model into a tiered model. Each role has an instructional focus and the teachers are all responsible for promoting a positive school culture and leading teaching and learning, professional development and wellbeing.

He knew that change couldn't be done single handedly and worked hard to bring his leadership team and teachers on the journey with him. The whole school was engaged and worked collaboratively along the way.

The collaboration didn't stop at the school's doors, it spread to the community. It included asking local businesses and service providers what were their hopes and aspirations for the schools in the future. They came together and created a vision for the school that everyone could stand by. Now when they see Blue Haven's school results, there is pride within the school and the community.

By making partnering with parents and community a focus they've rebuilt and strengthened the connections between staff, parents and the local community.

In the school they use their signature pedagogy of explicit instruction - an approach that is characterised by carefully planned and sequenced lessons; clear and detailed instructions and modelling; and frequent and systematic monitoring of student progress and feedback to students.

This is a school where they are greater than the sum of their parts. Together they are thinking innovatively and finding ways within their school to improve the experience for everyone.

To learn more about what they believe has made the biggest impact check out the full case study here. This has been prepared by our colleagues in CESE (the NSW Department of Education's Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation).


Return to top of page Back to top