I will once again work my way through our Annual Implementation Plan (AIP) for the new parents and as a reminder for other parents. As can be seen in the AIP we have our YES Message as the banner, which I talked about earlier in the year, then what our priority areas for the children’s learning, followed by the targets for those priority areas and then the main strategies we will employ to reach those targets. As previously mentioned, the first priority area has changed to straight “Literacy & Numeracy” to fall in line with our change to literacy and numeracy goals for the children. The targets for literacy and numeracy are pretty much pre-determined by the department’s targets. They want us to aim for 100% in English and mathematics and to get every child at or above the national minimum standard (NMS) in NAPLAN. If this is not achievable for one reason or another they want us to have actions in place to support those struggling children to achieve this in the future. The percentage of children in the upper two bands (U2Bs) in NAPLAN is based on school context. The more children in the U2Bs, the better a school’s overall average score and in turn the state’s. Due to the small nature of our classes (particularly in Junior Secondary), just getting one or two children in the U2Bs will improve our overall scores, so 33% although a big ask for larger schools is a reasonable target for us to aims for. It’s not the end of the world if we don’t reach that target, but gives us an ambitious target to aim for. The number of literacy strategies we have listed are a result of the department’s push to have a narrow achievable focus. It has been identified that schools that try to do too much fail to get the improvement they want and in some cases have made no improvement at all. The other aspect of narrowing down the focus is to concentrate on what will get improvements in children’s learning and that is improved teaching (pedagogy), which you can see is reflected in our strategies for literacy and numeracy.
What can you do to help at home? Take the time to look at our targets and strategies and think about how you can help us achieve these ambitious goals for your children. As you know one of the teaching practices we have in place is literacy and numeracy groups every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. For these to be successful we need adults available to work with every group, so that their learning is focused. If you can help out weekly or even occasionally, that will not only be a great help to the teachers, but it will demonstrate your commitment to your children’s learning.