Congratulations Cohort 7 school leaders!

Congratulations to the eleven Cohort 7 schools who recently completed the three-year EDvance School Improvement Program.

Despite beginning their improvement journey in 2020 with the onset of COVID-19, the cohort participated in the program through a combination of face-to-face and online learning, including via livestream. Together, these schools have managed and adapted to the challenges of the pandemic and were able to share their ‘green shoots’ for school improvement at the final workshop this term.

 We look forward to welcoming these schools to our FED Alumni Network in 2023 and publishing the Cohort 7 Impact Report next year. The full list of Cohort 7 schools who successfully completed the program can be found here.

The Grattan Institute recently published an article on curriculum planning in schools, outlining workload challenges faced by teachers in the time taken to plan curriculum to facilitate student learning experiences in their classrooms.

A lack of detailed resources and direction for teachers has led to teachers having to create lessons from scratch and searching for appropriate materials or activities online to support learning. This often leads to variability between classrooms in what is being taught, and privatised classroom practice, which leads to students in the same year groups not having equal access to grade level content. 

Of the schools surveyed, the majority did not have robust curriculum planning processes in place, with only 15% of teachers having access to common materials for their classes – with teachers working in disadvantaged schools being half as likely to have access to common materials than teachers in more advantaged schools.

Having common materials has a significantly positive effect on teachers and teaching, such as consistent learning in classrooms, increased teacher collaboration, decreased workload, and greater satisfaction with their schools’ planning process.

The report outlines what can be done to ease the workload for teachers – which equates to 20 million teacher hours per year – by education systems investing in the creation of high-quality curriculum materials made available to schools and investing in developing deeper pedagogical content knowledge for teachers to create these materials. 

We are excited that two EDvance Alumni schools, Aveley Secondary College, and Serpentine Primary School, were recognised in the article as exemplars of curriculum planning and development and were able to share how they implemented low variability curriculum across their schools, and the subsequent positive impact this had on their teachers and student outcomes.

You can read the full report here.

Congratulations to the eighteen primary and secondary schools who recently celebrated the launch of their Fogarty EDvance School Improvement Impact Report.

Cohort 6 schools commenced their journey in 2019, with 10 primary schools and 8 secondary schools – one of the largest contingents of secondary schools for the EDvance Program. The inclusion of such a large group of secondary schools enabled the EDvance Program to further develop support structures and gain critical insights into the strategic and operational challenges faced by secondary schools.

The Impact Report includes a story of impact for each school, capturing how the EDvance Program supported them to improve student outcomes by building the capacity of their leadership teams, catalysing changes in teaching practice, and developing robust strategic plans. 

“It has been a pleasure and a privilege working with Cohort 6 during the EDvance program and beyond into the EDvance Alumni program. They have bravely embraced the challenge of undertaking whole-school transformation and all that entails, for the benefit of the students in their communities,” said Georgie Wynne, Fogarty EDvance Program Director.

“Belmay Primary School staff have always been committed to providing quality education for each child. The EDvance Program has given us the skills, tools, and confidence to continue to improve the quality of that education.”
Sarah Durham, Principal at Belmay Primary School

“The Fogarty EDvance program has allowed Coodanup College to grow and achieve genuine improvement around our shared moral purpose. The guidance and support we received to lead staff through the implementation of research-based best practice was invaluable.”
Mark Utley, Principal at Coodanup College

“The Fogarty EDvance program allowed our school to develop a greater sense of direction and provided opportunities to celebrate success. This program was the most beneficial professional learning I have been part of in my 25+ years in education.”
Steve Beaton, Principal at Hampton Senior High School

“The impact of the Fogarty EDvance Program on the leadership team’s focus and solidifying the direction of the school, I believe, has directly impacted on the improved educational outcomes of the students across the school.”
– Andrew Jack, Principal at Tom Price Senior High School

You can read the Cohort 6 Impact Report here.

In 2022, EDvance celebrates 10 inspired years of working with West Australian schools in challenging communities. The program has impacted 125 schools, over 430 school leaders and more than 57,000 students. All schools have seen improvements in student outcomes, including behaviour and attendance data; with over 50 percent of schools achieving significant improvements in student academic outcomes. 

Established by the Fogarty Foundation in 2012, in a unique partnership with the Department of Education and Catholic Education WA, the goal of EDvance is simple yet bold – to improve student outcomes and bridge the inequality gap in education.

Annie Fogarty AM, is delighted that Fogarty EDvance has seen all 125 participating schools achieve improvement, and over half of these, realise significant improvements for their students. 

“Fogarty EDvance believes that with strong leadership, a whole school improvement strategy can be successfully implemented, transforming schools, and improving educational outcomes for students,” Annie Fogarty explained.

“We looked around the world for best practise in education and we gathered a diverse group of highly qualified and committed people to discuss how we could improve outcomes in challenging communities,” Ms Fogarty explained.

“We brought together wisdom, ideas and different approaches, and using this knowledge, we created and have continued to refine what is now the Fogarty EDvance program,” she said.

Georgie Wynne, Fogarty EDvance Program Director, explained that the program improves academic outcomes for students in challenging communities by enhancing the leadership skills of principals and their leadership teams.

“The program has a two-track agenda – school improvement and leadership development. It brings together the best tools from education, business and philanthropy, shares these tools and practices with school leaders, and supports them as they translate these practices into their schools and classrooms,” Georgie Wynne said.

“We work within each school’s context, mentoring and supporting schools for the entire three-year program. We focus heavily on the school’s organisational health and use data to inform ongoing strategic planning – with the ultimate objective of improving student outcomes.  Unlike other ‘off the shelf’ development programs, we also hold school leaders accountable for measuring and reporting their progress at the end,” she said.

“One of the main reasons why EDvance has been so successful, is because it has been brought together and supported by an exceptional group of people from within education and across the business and community sectors – all who bring knowledge and expertise from a wide range of sectors. They are involved because they all believe in the importance of quality education for all and the benefits this brings to our whole society,” Ms Fogarty said.

Cohort 9 school leadership teams had the opportunity to attend school visits to Aveley Secondary College, Coodanup College, Serpentine Primary School and Woodland Grove Primary School to see high-impact instruction and a whole-school behaviour framework in action.  

School visits are an important element of our School Improvement Program, allowing leadership teams to see high-impact instruction practices, as well as evidence-based literacy and numeracy programs, implemented consistently throughout classrooms across the school.

Participants had the opportunity to speak with host school leaders about their school improvement journeys, including how they encouraged staff to explore the benefits of high-impact instruction strategies, and how long it took to implement these practices in the classroom. 

Many thanks to everyone involved, especially those teachers who welcomed the leadership teams into their classrooms.

Year 1 students in public primary schools in Western Australia will commence a phonics screening test from the beginning of 2023 – which is already mandated in NSW and South Australian schools.

Education Minister Sue Ellery and Premier Mark McGowan committed to the screening tests, following a push from education and business leaders.

The test will involve students reading a list of words to assess whether they can identify and blend sounds. This follows the evidence-based research that spelling or decoding skills are derived from phonemic awareness, including a knowledge of the alphabet, phonic sounds and sight words. The test will consist of 40 words, some nonsense and some real, and be used to identify students who need extra help, by assessing their specific phonic knowledge skills.

“One in six students in Australia start high school with poor reading skills which inhibits their ability to fully access the curriculum – if we can identify struggling readers much earlier, this could ultimately reduce the time it takes for children to move from learning to read, to reading to learn.  The phonics screening checks will help schools to intervene much earlier and provide students with the extra help they need to read fluently.”   

Georgie Wynne, EDvance Program Director

“Many schools throughout Western Australia are already following an evidence-based phonics program, including a large number of Fogarty EDvance primary schools. We’re excited that now all schools will get access to the six evidence-based phonics programs that they can use to assist their teaching,” Georgie explained.

“This initiative will ensure that all schools will be encouraged to adopt this highly regarded and effective model of teaching, which will improve the educational outcomes of all West Australian children.” 

The Science Of Learning Accelerator aims to engage enthusiastic teachers and middle leaders from across Australia and build their knowledge and skills in making and sustaining evidence-based change. Over two days, participants will be guided through workshops on evidence-based models for change in both Primary and Secondary contexts, and every participant will be supported to develop their own action plan to implement in their school.

The event will be facilitated by Ollie Lovell and Annie Fogarty AM will be speaking during the panel discussion. Keynote addresses and workshop sessions will be presented by Dr Jenny Donovan, Dr Lorraine Hammond, Dr Pamela Snow, Toni Hatten Roberts, Ross Fox and Elena Douglas.

Day 1 will consist of keynote addresses and presentations on alternate models for change in streamed sessions. There will also be an Educators Dinner for participants to network with like-minded colleagues.

Day 2 will provide participants with facilitated small-group sessions to plan how to lead a change in their schools.

Participants are selected for the program after a rigorous application process including presenting a school-specific plan or initiative in line with evidence based practice. Once selected, participants will complete assigned readings and an online unit to ensure that everyone comes to the SOL Accelerator with a shared language and understanding. Scholarships are available to encourage application from low socioeconomic schools.

Find out more here.

If you need help accessing the materials, please contact our team at info@fogartyedvance.org.au.

Content Outline

Pre-Work

Workshops

Workshop 1a

Workshop 1b

Workshop 2a

Workshop 2b

Workshop 3

Workshop 4

Other Resources

Video Resources

The quality of student learning is intrinsically linked to the ability of schools to translate the mandated curriculum into an actionable scope and sequence, to best meet students’ needs. As a result, the proposed new Australian National School Curriculum has met with a lot of discussion and feedback. 

In our opinion, the proposed curriculum does not prioritise evidence-based learning, nor does it set aspirational and achievable standards for schools to drive towards improved student outcomes. You can read our submission to ACARA, with attachments from other regarded educationalists below.

The Fogarty EDvance response to the National Curriculum review

The Fogarty Foundation is a social purpose organisation, providing educational opportunities in Western Australia.  I write to you with our 21 years of experience in education and particularly, through our 10 years of delivering Fogarty EDvance, a three-year school improvement program for school leaders in challenging communities. 

Through Fogarty EDvance, we are working with over 100 low socio-economic schools (both primary and secondary schools) throughout Western Australia.  We know that there is a high proportion of students who have difficulties with literacy, predominantly in their ability to read.  Thirty-five percent of students in Year 7 in these schools (this equates to approximately 17% of Year 7 students nationally) are reading at a Year 3 level and below, which means they are not independent readers or able to read with fluency. At this level, these students are not able to access information in their books or on their screens in their classes. They lack confidence and no longer identify as a ‘learner’ in their school. As a direct result, many students disengage with education and for some, finish 13 years of school, illiterate and innumerate.

Many of the schools with which we work as part of the Fogarty EDvance School Improvement Program, set out on a journey to make significant improvements in the educational outcomes of their students – starting with reading. These schools set out to use evidence-based teaching and learning approaches to the teaching of reading. This typically involves using high-impact instructional strategies (such as explicit instruction) across the school with a strong focus on effective reading instruction in the early years. Effective reading instruction requires students during the early years of school to master the alphabetic code via systematic, explicit, and intensive instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, reading fluency, vocabulary, and reading comprehension strategies (Department of Education, Science and Training 2005, p.25). 

The schools strategically plan to implement effective reading instruction as part of their school improvement work and in doing so, know that the evidence that supports this type of instruction is solid. However, many of their teachers do not have the necessary skillsets to be able to teach reading in this way. As a response to this, the Fogarty Foundation established a teaching intensive in 2019, for schools to send teachers (both new graduates and experienced teachers) to receive a week of intensive coaching and demonstrations in explicit instruction. This included a focus on effective reading instruction in the early years. The teaching intensive was carried out during school holidays, with students at the low socio economic primary school giving up a week of their holidays to take part in the intensive. Demand was so great that we ran two intensives the following year, three in 2021 and are planning four for 2022.  Again, there is no shortage of school students and teachers who want to be part of this program. In total, 250 teachers have been trained through our EDvance Teaching Intensives (using 200 students, 15 expert teachers/coaches and 2 program leads, Dr Lorraine Hammond and Brooke Wardana). 

The demand for these skills is great, but the supply is low: skills which are not being taught in most Initial Teaching Education university courses. A previous EDvance staff member has now established a business to help address this need.

Given our work with school leaders over the past ten years and more recently, our work with teachers, our strong submission is that only evidence-based teaching approaches should be included in the proposed curriculum. The inclusion of whole language in the revised Australian 

Curriculum is out of step with research and is failing our children. We concur with the submission made to ACARA by Emeritus Professor Max Coltheart on behalf of the members of the Developmental Disorders of Language and Literacy (DDoLL) network dated 7 May 2021, including the attachment of the article written by Dr Jennifer Buckingham that was published in The Australian on April 30, 2021. 

We draw your attention to our website and in particular, the Report Card for Cohort 4 which can be located here. What school leaders and teachers need to improve reading for their students is clear guidance from the Australian Curriculum on effective reading instruction. It is our strong belief that with evidence-based approaches to teaching and learning, all schools can improve academic (and ultimately, life) outcomes for their students.

You can read additional feedback at the following links:

Curriculum takes backward step on the path to literacy – Five From Five

Open letter to Mr. David de Carvalho, CEO of ACARA, and the ACARA Board

High-Impact Instruction in a Primary Context

Teachers from our EDvance schools had the opportunity to take part in some inspiring optional sessions this term. Brooke Wardana and Anthony Chiappalone facilitated an engaging workshop about High Impact Instruction in the primary context. Fifty-nine teachers from 15 schools across Cohort 3 to 7 attended the workshop. Brooke and Anthony worked with participants on developing a firm understanding of the evidence base for high impact instruction and demonstrated daily reviews using high impact instruction lesson delivery and design strategies. Participant feedback was extremely positive:

“Participating in the hands on lesson demonstrations was useful to consolidate the research and strategies at the beginning of the session.”

“The objectives were met with lots of examples for teachers to go on and implement in their class no matter what level they are teaching.”

Explicit Instruction in a Secondary Context

Dr Lorraine Hammond presented the evidence-base for Explicit Instruction as an instructional approach to teaching and learning in a secondary context. Thirty-five participants across 11 schools and from Cohorts 4 to 7 attending the workshop. Dr Hammond took a deep dive into the Principles of Instruction and explained how including daily reviews as part of a lesson reduces cognitive load and allows information to be committed into the long-term memory. She also unpacked the elements of daily reviews by providing examples, and opportunities for participants to view videos of daily reviews in practice.  Feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive:

“I thought it was fantastic!  I was able to see EI presented from the start – which helped as I had previously been taught about it in small chunks – whilst I was still a little confused.  Now 2.5 years later I was able to consolidate what I know and clear up misconceptions.”

“it is interesting to observe teachers using best practice and this helped me to consolidate my understanding of exemplar teaching.”