Literacy and Numeracy Week

​Little school a big NAPLAN star - in anyone’s language

‘I hope our work provides an overview of how purposeful change can transform a school and the lives of the young people in it far greater than we could ever imagine.’

At Thomastown East Primary School, 78 per cent of the 168 students come from non-English speaking backgrounds.

Understanding how literacy and numeracy underpins a young person’s ability to thrive, the school embarked on a dedicated strategy to become a rising NAPLAN star.

Principal Jeremy Blaney says staff had to explore new approaches on how they could best meet the unique needs of their multicultural student population.

After four years of reviews, staff collectively designed a best-practice teaching approach to address the school’s ongoing academic shortfalls. The solution was three-pronged: divert or exclude non-essential tasks from the teacher workload, create a positive climate for learning, and - most importantly - focus only on the 'non-negotiable' core business of reading, writing and mathematics.

Soaring success

Mr Blaney says since the strategy was implemented, students are producing work 'far superior to anything they had done before'.

'From 2012 onwards, NAPLAN results have skyrocketed and students actively engage themselves in all areas of the curriculum,' Mr Blaney says of the school’s current above-average ranking.

'The children’s limited vocabularies significantly stymied their progress in reading expression and reading comprehension.

'Writing was bland, basic and repetitive and did not reflect the children’s innate curiosities and imaginations because of an inability to express themselves in a rich and full manner.

'The students are truly motivated and imbued with an imperative to achieve their personal best.

'Staff are supremely confident in their ability to teach writing and to transfer these skills and knowledge across all teaching experiences.'

Mr Blaney says he is proud to lead Thomastown East Primary School.

'I hope our work provides an overview of how purposeful change can transform a school and the lives of the young people in it far greater than we could ever imagine.'

Focusing on results

Transcript
 

Related stories

 

Victoria’s new Literacy and Numeracy Strategy

A strong foundation in literacy and numeracy is vital for every child and young person - the skills underpin their ability to reach their potential.

The Department’s Literacy and Numeracy Strategy provides schools with the latest evidence-based teaching and learning resources and gives teachers the support they need to help all students excel.

The strategy will help schools reach Education State targets of more students reaching the highest levels in reading and mathematics and breaking the link between disadvantage and education outcomes.

For more information on the strategy and to access the Victorian Literacy Portal and Victorian Numeracy Portal, see: Supporting Literacy and Numeracy