Text version - Newcastle High School passion project

Journey summary

Passion Projects was developed with the aim of increasing student and staff engagement through positive relationships with teachers having the opportunity to teach something they are passionate about in Years 7 and 8.

Journey focus area

  • Student engagement
  • Shift in pedagogical practice
  • Parent engagement

Timeline and milestones

2015 and 2016 milestones Project team participated in the department's Schools of the Future initiative
2016 milestones
  • Project team developed a case for change and presented to all staff
  • Over 30 staff submitted and express an intered to teach a passion project in 2017.
2017 milestones Passion Projects implemented in the Year 7 curriculum.
3 exhibitions held across the year with high levels of engagement from students and parents.
2017 and 2018 milestones 28 different teachers have taught a passion project and taught over 47 different passion projects.
2018 milestones Passion Projects implemented in the Year 7 and Year 8 curriculum.

Positive impact

  • Improved attendance
  • TTFM data indicates improvement in student engagement with the school and an improvement in student and teacher relations.
  • Reduced suspensions
  • Upward growth trend in NAPLAN
  • A number of community connections established
  • Change in teacher practice across all KLAs.
  • More students ‘leaving to learn’, through learning experiences in the community linked to experts from outside the school


  • Fear of trying something different
  • Excitement
  • Celebration
  • Reflection on broader teacher practice

Main challenge and solutions

Change in school culture
Shift in pedagogical practice – safe entry point into trying something different but also using a framework of the 5A’s.

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