Formative assessment practices need to be a focus though some teachers are using this intermittently to inform their teaching. We need to work with school services to build understanding of how to do this successfully. There is a need to ensure every teacher has a deep understanding of how to use data to inform planning and thereby differentiate at the point of instructional need. Head teachers including the HT Teaching and Learning will lead much of this work and it will be essential to ensure this is done in a collaborative and highly supportive manner.
Clear and accurate monitoring and analysis of student achievement data will help teachers to differentiate learning in each class. At a leadership level, it will inform resource allocation for maximum impact and improvement. Structures need to be put in place to identify students who need intervention within and beyond the classroom. Identifying students not showing growth at all ability levels will be key to achieving our targets. LaST support will be redirected to drive intensive learning programs (PLSPs) and our work with individual students will be closely monitored, through pre and post assessments, to determine student growth and assess our impact at a whole school level.
Our summative assessment practices need to be more consistent from 7 to 12 and a review of our current practices will be required. Using the Aboriginal Learning Centre more effectively and improving teacher understanding of NESA and assessment task completion requirements will be needed. We will set up partnerships with ‘experts’ (senior HSC markers and experienced staff from other schools) to assist our work in this area.
Priority and time need to be given for teachers to better engage with the syllabus and deepen their understanding, skills and expertise in how to authentically embed Aboriginal perspectives and contextually relevant learning into all areas of curriculum. Professional learning will need to focus on building cultural awareness and strengthening understanding of how to teach through Aboriginal culture. ‘8 Ways of Learning’ will be used to assist. Much time will be needed to adjust programs and this will need to be done collaboratively in stages and faculty groups. The learning community will be utilised if possible and involvement of the whole school community in this process will be essential.
Setting up partnerships with University of New England and Charles Sturt University will also benefit our school and community. Organising visits for students from Year 5 and above from partner primary schools to the University and attracting practicum teachers to our school will be highly beneficial. These strategies are based on the Aboriginal Education Policy and the Turning Policy into Action document looking at the three guiding elements of relationships, engagement and on-going learning.
Of particular concern is the level of disengagement and the TTFM results showing so many of our students not feeling a connection between school and culture. Significant work needs to be done to strengthen the relationship with our community and build an authentic partnership with the School Advisory Council. We need to engage the community with the school and improve parent and student trust. Our relationships with local businesses is a strength but this needs to be better communicated with students and their families so they see a pathway beyond school. Consideration could be given to introducing Clontarf to try to better engage boys and we should research programs to see what would best support girls, including Girls Academy.
Our work in wellbeing has not had the impact we were hoping. With suspensions and behaviour incidences not improving to any significant degree, we will review our processes and work with our community to put in place fair and consistent practices to ensure that not only every student feels known, valued and cared for, but our whole community feels a true sense of belonging.