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Ten secrets of success across high-performing NSW schools

Lead researcher Kim Beswick, head of the School of Education at UNSW, said the 10 practices identified were: explicit teaching, high expectations, use of data, creating orderly classrooms, wellbeing, instructional support, whole-school vision, positive relationships between students and teachers, student agency and focus on learning, rather than competition and performance.

“The expectation that every student could – and would – achieve was conveyed through appropriately challenging work and systematic encouragement and support for students and their families,” the report said.

Mark Harris has overseen the implementation of multiple programs at Auburn North Public School.Credit: Rhett Wyman

Beswick emphasised that while there were 10 practices identified in the report, it was “important to remember there isn’t only one way to implement them”.

“Auburn North runs like a clock. Academic success is expected of every child, and their focus on explicit teaching is super strong. A common thread across all the school was this combined focus on high academic expectations and wellbeing.”

Harris said one of the reasons Auburn North was so enthusiastic about participating in the program was to learn from other NSW public schools.

Along with the parent engagement sessions, Harris said there are myriad other programs at the school including Harmony House, a community-based initiative where parents join free sport, English, maths, cooking and computer classes each week.

“We are also very strong in terms of explicit instruction, the use of data, and high expectations. I believe you must have strong routines which underpins classroom management,” he said.

Students at the school achieve well above average results in reading, writing, spelling, grammar and numeracy in year 3 NAPLAN, when compared with students with a similar background. Year 3 to year 5 growth has frequently been in the top two per cent of state for all areas of literacy and in numeracy.

The school also has fortnightly leadership development programs, while assistant principals spend time in class, demonstrating and working with small groups of children, he said.

But Harris said one of the most important drivers for improvement at Auburn North has been engaging external consultants every two years to examine how the school is performing.


“We’ve had at least seven external reviews, each with a particular focus, whether that is school leadership, level of challenge in maths or quality of instruction.”

Beswick said one area for future research would be examining how the ambassador schools “got to where they are, including how they changed and established the culture they have that has allowed the practices to flourish.”

Some of the other ambassador schools included Fairvale and Macarthur Girls’ High Schools, and Bonnyrigg Heights and Huntington Public Schools.

https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/ten-secrets-of-success-across-high-performing-nsw-schools-20231114-p5ejrt.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_national_nsw Ten secrets of success across high-performing NSW schools

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