Australian support for effective instruction
Does a New South Wales program help?
In the Sydney Morning Herald, Daniella White reported about one school’s excitement with the improvement in its students reading outcomes. Under the headline, “Through the roof’: How one school turned reading and writing results around,” Ms. White explained the school staff (and, espcially, the principal’s) efforts to alter its approach to reading instruction.
The story of Minchinbury Public School and Rebecca Webster, the principal who facilitated changes, provides opportunities for those of us who champion effective reading instruction to have good feelings. The school made systematic changes, switching to more phonics-based methods for young children and then adding vocabulary and more for the upper grades. It’s not clear how anyone knows that those changes were the active ingredients in better student outcomes nor the data that allow them to presume there were improvements, but that’s a topic for a subsequent paragraph.
The article is chock-a-block with people telling their impressions, video elaborations, and lots of other features that readers of SET may find interesting and informative. However, one particular paragraph caught my attention:
Last year, the school was offered strategic support as part of the Education Department’s School Success Model.
So, thinking that the New South Wales’s “School Success Model” might be an important player in implementing effective educational practices, I went exploring. Here’s what I found. The School Success Model (no author, no date) has three main objectives:
developing quality-assured, evidence-led support around the needs of each school and their students to lift attendance, achievement and wellbeing
sharing accountability for student improvement by putting in place clearer targets, lifting capability and sharing what works best
freeing up more time for teachers, principals and school staff to spend on activities that improve student outcomes around teaching, learning and leading.
So, here’s a concern: Does the School Success Model promote evidence-based practice? I didn’t see statements to indicate that it does. Does it support just about any applicant, regardless of the applicant’s employment of evidence-based practice?
I’m very glad that the principal and school cited in Ms. White’s article got support from the Australian “School Success Model.” What’s the track record for reforms, schools, activities supported by the School Success Model? Is it routinely picking winners? And, especially, are those activities that it supports consistently employing evidence-based practices?
Please, readers, help me learn what’s happening on the ground in this situation. What does it take to go “through the roof?”
White, D. (2022, 13 March). Through the roof’: How one school turned reading and writing results around. https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/through-the-roof-how-one-school-turned-reading-and-writing-results-around-20220308-p5a2t6.html
No Author. (2022). School Success Model (SSM) reform program. Retrieved from https://education.nsw.gov.au/public-schools/school-success-model/school-success-model-explained#landing