Cohort 9 School Visits

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.”

The EDvance Teaching Intensives provides the opportunity for teachers to develop and practice high impact instruction strategies. Since the intensives began in 2018, more than 500 teachers have benefitted from the week-long program. With a growing appetite for high impact instruction in secondary schools, 2021 was the first year secondary teachers joined the program.  The total group comprising of more than 100 early childhood, primary and secondary teachers. 

Another unique component of the Teaching Intensive is the opportunity for the teachers to develop their new skills by practising with ‘real’ students.  In 2021, over 80 Dawson Park Primary School students were keen participants and returned to the classroom during their school holidays, to assist in the professional development program.  

Georgie Wynne, Fogarty EDvance Program Director highlights the approach taken for participants to improve their teaching practice, is well supported by research where “95% of teachers transfer new skills to their teaching practice after receiving ongoing coaching, feedback and support.”

“There is also significant evidence to support the successful application of high impact instruction, particularly for students from disadvantaged communities. Many practitioners are keen to develop skills in this area as part of their ‘toolkit’ for successful teaching.”  

“The teaching intensive program provides teachers with a deeper understanding of this evidence-based approach and hands-on experience in the delivery of high impact instruction. This is supported by lesson demonstrations and individualised coaching from expert leaders in the field.” 

The Fogarty Foundation established the EDvance Teaching Intensives to encourage teachers to adopt high impact instructional practices for the improved educational outcomes of West Australian students and works in partnership with Dawson Park Primary School, Dr Lorraine Hammond Associate Professor from Edith Cowan University and Brooke Wardana, an early years literacy expert. These experts are instrumental in the program design and delivery and are supported by a group of expert teachers in the delivery of lesson demonstrations, coaching, the provision of teaching resources and individualised support.

Dr Hammond said that teachers who follow an explicit or high impact instruction approach, demonstrate and model everything; from blending sounds together to decode words, to writing a complex sentence with figurative language.

“While some students achieve success quickly, others need far more opportunities for practice,” Dr Hammond said.

“Teachers who follow an explicit instruction approach provide daily reviews of previously learned knowledge and skills so they become automatic; they can then be applied to more complex tasks such as reading or writing a short story.

“Critics of explicit instruction typically argue it is a deficit model that sees students sitting passively in rows all day engaging in rote learning. This is a misunderstanding of explicit instruction, which when done properly, is engaging, and rarely done for extended periods of time.”

Annie Fogarty, Chairperson of the Fogarty Foundation, said the Foundation was committed to identifying, supporting and developing programs that deliver educational opportunities with wide impact.

“By investing in teachers, school leaders and school principals, we hope to inspire excellence and high-quality instruction in schools and improve educational outcomes for all West Australian students,” she said.

The Fogarty EDvance mentors are regularly described as the ‘gold’ in the Fogarty EDvance School Improvement Program.  

Su Wilson has been an integral part of the mentor team for six years, working with nine schools since 2013.   We spoke with Su about becoming a Fogarty EDvance mentor and the benefits for schools who are part of the program.

How did you become involved with the Fogarty EDvance program?
To lead a school takes commitment and passion, which makes it difficult to simply walk away. When I retired late in 2013, I was fortunate to join Pauline Coghlan and Peter Holcz in designing and delivering a program to train school leaders on school improvement. Through this role and the role of an Independent Public School (IPS) Reviewer, I learned about the work of the team at Fogarty EDvance, so was delighted when I was invited to join an extremely capable and experienced group of mentors. 

Tell us about the schools you have worked with.
I have had the pleasure of mentoring leadership teams from Balga and Roseworth Primary Schools in Cohort 3; and Koorana and Orelia Primary Schools in Cohort 4. I currently work with leaders at Tom Price and North Tom Price Primary Schools in Cohort 6; and Lakelands Primary School and Endeavour Schools, encompassing Endeavour PS and Endeavour Ed Support Centre, in Cohort 7.

All schools have focussed, hard-working leadership teams who have shown total commitment to whole-school implementation of the Fogarty EDvance program in striving for improvements in practice.

Upon entering the program, each school analysed data, and  accessed program tools to gather information about their school . This meant that their planning for improvement related specifically to their own needs, with initiatives and strategies for intervention driven by evidence and current research.

High performing schools worldwide recognise that improving the effectiveness of teaching will lift student outcomes and school performance. Each school with which I have worked has focussed on ensuring there is consistent, high quality teaching in every classroom. 

The varying experience of teachers in their respective schools and the degree to which they are willing to change their teaching practice, also has implications for planning for improvement. While having low SES may impact on learning, behaviour and attendance, regional schools also have the added complexity of transient staff.

The team at Fogarty EDvance recognises that the ‘one size fits all’ approach does not work. What does work is exposing school leaders to research, tools for gathering evidence, guidance in developing a three-year plan for improvement and support in leading changes in teaching practice. 

Can you describe a highlight of your experiences with the Fogarty EDvance team.
Highlights are many, but nothing can compete with the moment when school leaders and their staff see the positive outcomes of changes implemented, particularly when they showcase improvements in student performance.

For myself, I love witnessing changes in the practice of teachers, particularly those who may have previously been adverse to changing long standing behaviours.

What do you think are the 3 most valuable things schools gain from being part of the FED program?
I’m really not sure about narrowing the list to three but if I must:

1. Exposure to high quality research, professional development and evidence-based planning using a template with proven success.

2. Access to tools to measure organisational health, gather feedback from stakeholders, intensify the impact of decision-making and foster teamwork and collaboration.

3. Ongoing support from a mentor who is committed to providing guidance and support.

Is there something you know now that you wish you had known when you were working as a school leader?
As a mentor I consciously seek out current research on school leadership and school improvement, with particular emphasis on developing a culture of collaborative practice and professional growth. 

As a school leader I worked with staff to plan for improvement and allocated my budget to resource our plan with a primary focus on the professional growth of my staff.

In retrospect, I now believe in the need to allocate funding (and time) to support my own professional growth and that of other leaders within my school.

Programs like Fogarty EDvance have a single focus, that of supporting school leaders to design and implement a whole school improvement strategy to increase their school’s overall effectiveness.

I now know that working with a team of people, whose focus is on supporting schools on their journey of improvement, would help focus resourcing decisions and ensure staff received targeted professional development and support to effect change.

What would you say to school leaders considering joining the Fogarty EDvance School Improvement Program?
The core business of every school is to provide the best possible learning opportunities for their students, therefore every school has the potential to improve. 

I believe school leaders who are hesitant about joining the program shouldn’t be weighing up their potential to lead the improvement they are seeking without support, but acknowledge their involvement with Fogarty EDvance as an opportunity to have an even greater impact, not only until the end of the three-year program, but beyond.