Catholic schools and colleges across the state have proven their place as providers of excellent quality education again in 2015, with Principals attributing their success to a focus on individual learning needs, use of data to improve teaching and strengthening teamwork among staff.
Updated school data released last week via the My School website showed that on top of strong NAPLAN performance system wide, a number of Catholic Education Western Australia (CEWA) schools had recorded improved results, 10 of those for the second year in a row.
Kolbe Catholic College in Rockingham was one of those that recorded NAPLAN improvements for consecutive years.
Principal Robyn Miller attributed the College’s academic success to a range of factors, with the introduction of the Students at the Centre Strategic Plan playing a major role by helping all members of the College community, parents included, on personalised learning for all students.
This focus on the learning needs of each individual student has been complemented by an intentional emphasis on collaborative learning for staff, creating a positive learning culture College-wide.
'Staff have embraced this philosophy of learning from and supporting each other to ensure the most engaging opportunities for our students. This has been done in partnership with parents, with greater communication about assessments and homework being a key driver of our Strategic Plan,' Principal Miller said.
A similar value placed on staff teamwork has seen consistent literacy and numeracy improvements for students at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Bunbury, according to Principal Riley Horrocks.
'We have done a large amount of work to improve the School’s social capital. Staff have been encouraged to de-privatise their classrooms, and have been working closely with peer teachers, developing common approaches to forward planning and appropriate strategies for students facing challenges and requiring extra support,' Principal Horrocks said.
Effective literacy and numeracy initiatives and intervention programs for individuals and small groups have benefited from the schools use of a data wall recording the learning progress of each student at St Joseph’s.
St Pius X Catholic Primary School in Manning is one school that recorded NAPLAN improvements for both literacy and numeracy in 2015.
Principal Daine Burnett said that a strong emphasis on school-wide consistency, solid blocks of teaching time, and a high value placed on the skills and responsibilities of staff had seen the school achieve its positive results.
'We have support and mentoring for teachers in place facilitated through our Assistant Principals, and support for staff is making a real difference for student learning outcomes,' he said.
The school also allows students to concentrate on essential literacy and numeracy skills in regular class times by focusing on areas including Art, Science, Music and Italian as specialist subjects taught by dedicated teachers.
Gabrielle Doyle, CEWA’s Director of Teaching and Learning, said that Catholic schools were sustaining improved student outcomes through establishing cultures where every staff member was responsible for the success of each child.
'Improvement in student outcomes is driven by a belief that each child or young adult is a unique individual that staff can learn from, as well as teach. Shared beliefs about learning, literacy, numeracy and appropriate pedagogy is the starting point for excellent teaching,' she said.
'Teachers working within and across schools to collaborate on analysis of data and strategies to facilitate truly engaging learning for students is one of the hallmark of our Catholic education system, along with our pastoral care and unique understanding of the God-given dignity of each child.'
Students at St Pius X Catholic Primary School
in Manning, which recorded improved NAPLAN results in both literacy and
numeracy for 2015.