How personal learning plans can help disadvantaged students beat the odds
- Prize Category: Overcoming Adversity
- Format: Panel discussion
- Country: Australia
- Languages: Streamed live in English with automated captions in Arabic, English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese, Filipino, Malay, Serbian and Hindi.
- Learn more about the Top Ten Shortlisted Schools in the Overcoming Adversity category on the World’s Best School Prizes website.
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About the school
St Edward’s Primary School, a private Catholic institution in Tamworth, Australia – where 67% of its students hail from disadvantaged backgrounds, 16% are Indigenous, and the neighbourhood faces challenges from crime and poor health – has defied low expectations to significantly boost attainment.
St Edward’s has a focus on developing the whole child. It provides its students with a range of cultural opportunities, in particular for its Indigenous students, who are encouraged to share and celebrate their culture with the support of its Aboriginal Education Assistants.
The school became concerned by its low ICSEA score, which measures socioeconomic advantage and came up with extensive and highly detailed Personal Learning Plans (PLPs). The PLPs armed teachers with the data to track and support student progress, providing tailored instruction for their students and monitoring their growth. Over time, teachers were able to push students closer to achieving their educational goals. During COVID, the school continued with the model with a few tweaks by checking in on its students through phone calls and by monitoring them online.
Each teacher also has a professional growth plan that pushes them to become a better educator than they were yesterday. They also take a range of professional learning activities including reviewing professional journals, trying out new practices in the classroom and joining professional organisations. All that effort has paid off as not only did attainment levels increase, but some of the highest growth in improvement came from Indigenous students.
Join us for an interesting debate showcasing the concept of tailored education.
Moderator: Dr Jake Madden
Dr. Jake Madden is currently the Principal, St Edward’s Primary School, Tamworth. He has enjoyed a successful teaching and principal leadership career over the last thirty years building teacher capacity through the development of learning in the contemporary world, the promotion of flexible learning spaces to meet the needs of the 21st century learner and curriculum for global mindedness. Jake is an award winning principal and a leader in the notion of teacher-as-researcher and is widely published in this area, authoring books and a number of journal articles showcasing his experiences and research into leading educational change.
Speaker 1: Mrs Alison Hatton
Alison has been involved in schools all her working life accumulating 20 years of experience in various roles as a Teacher, Principal, Assistant Principal, Leader of Pedagogy, Religious Education Coordinator, Inclusion Support Teacher and Sports Coordinator as well as wearing the hat of a parent. As part of her Leader of Pedagogy role over the past two years Alison has been actively involved in the implementation of the Big Write and VCOP Methodology, as well as the alignment of our Whole School English Block. Alison and her team have worked closely with teachers to ensure high impact teaching strategies are embedded in our classrooms everyday. She enjoys working collaboratively as a member of a strong team and aims to ensure that being close to the classrooms is at the forefront of her work.
Speaker 2: Mr Andrew Millman
Andrew Millman is currently working as the Leader of Pedagogy at St Edward’s Primary School, working closely alongside classroom teachers to build capacity to improve student outcomes in Literacy and Numeracy. Originally from the United Kingdom, Andrew began teaching in inner city schools in Birmingham before relocating to Australia in 2014. His ten years of teaching experience encompass public and Catholic education across the U.K. and both New South Wales and Queensland whilst in Australia. Andrew holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Education from Birmingham City University which followed a degree in Mathematics from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. As an instructional leader, Andrew has also held the roles of Mathematics Specialist Teacher and Campus Coordinator in the past. He has an interest in student data and how it can be best utilised to impact improved pedagogical practice within schools in order to enhance student learning opportunities.
Speaker 3: Mrs Amanda Sheridan
Having graduated from University of Newcastle with her teaching degree in 1999, Amanda’s leadership qualities were quickly recognised, rising through the co-ordinator ranks to her current role as Leader of Inclusion at St Edward’s. As the Leader of Inclusion, Amanda is influential in her work; prioritizing teacher development through engaging in critical conversations about students and their attainment levels. Amanda’s strong focus on professional learning has increased teacher confidence and expertise and encouraged collaboration within and beyond the classrooms. While the enrolled numbers of SWD students increase across the school, and as a result of Amand’s leadership, the number of students eligible for funding are continuing to fall, such as the progress they make.