Fogarty EDvance 2016 School visit
On Tuesday 6th of September, the FED Team, members of the FED Collective and a senior representative of the Macquarie Foundation, visited Phoenix Primary School as part of the school engagement offered to supporters of the EDvance program.
Margaret Pretty, Principal of Phoenix Primary, shared her experiences and growth as part of the FED program. There was also the chance to see one of Phoenix’s major improvement initiatives in action, with a visit to the early childhood centre to see the Kindergarten children developing early literacy skills.
Phoenix is a small primary school, with over 40% of students with English a second language. One of Phoenix’s key focuses as part of their 3-year school improvement has been to improve student literacy. To improve student achievement Phoenix has implemented a whole-school literacy approach, including a formal, game-based synthetic phonetics program in the Kindergarten classes, Cracking the Code.
The FED Collective and supporters were fortunate to meet Chrissy Kelly, co-author of the Cracking the Code program, who shared some insights into the significant improvements seen with the program in early years language development. Phoenix have already seen excellent improvements in the readiness of their Kindergarten children and they expect an improvement in on-entry assessments from next year. Through the broader whole-school approaches to literacy and numeracy, Phoenix are setting the conditions for improvements in all areas of NAPLAN in future years.
Research confirms synthetic phonics is an essential element of early primary literacy programs. The synthetic phonics approach has children practice ‘synthesising’ the sounds, identifying sounds and blending them together and breaking words down into their sounds. In pre-primary through to year 3, Phoenix Primary students’ continue their synthetic phonics approach through the program ‘Letters and Sounds’.
The FED Collective and supporters school visit is always a highlight in the FED calendar. The team and schools appreciate the opportunity to show supporters the impact the Fogarty EDvance Program and the improved student outcomes that the program drives towards. Our congratulations to Margaret and the team at Phoenix Primary School.