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TFFM parent survey resources

Achieving high participation rates in the Tell Them From Me (TTFM) parent survey helps schools reliably identify areas of strength and areas for improvement from the perspective of parents, and helps inform practical changes where needed.

A parent poster and flyer to promote TTFM are also available on the TTFM website. 


Blue Haven Public School case study (PDF, 1.5MB)

Blue Haven Public School professional learning discussion guide (PDF, 200kB)

Blue Haven Public School summary (PDF, 280kB)

With their focus on instructional leadership, explicit teaching, student wellbeing and other evidence-based practices, Blue Haven Public School has achieved rapid and substantial improvements in student academic performance. The department's strategic goals can be seen in action at Blue Haven: every student, every teacher, every leader is improving every year, and every student is known, valued and cared for.


Download the video transcript (PDF, 130kB)


Schools: InBrief mid-year census 2018 (PDF, 1.1MB)

InBrief summarises the results of the census of students in NSW Government schools undertaken on Friday 3 August 2018, and the census of NSW non-government schools undertaken by the Australian Government Department of Education.


General capabilities: A perspective from cognitive science (PDF, 650kB)

General capabilities one-page summary (PDF, 154.86kB)

Professional learning discussion guide (PDF, 460kB).




General capabilities: A perspective from cognitive science uses insights from cognitive science to explore the most effective ways of supporting students to develop key capabilities such as critical and creative thinking.

Key findings

• This paper contributes to the conversation about how school systems can best support their students to develop the capabilities they will need to thrive in the future.

• The debate to date has been hampered by a lack of clarity about key terms and concepts, and a range of assumptions that are not supported by evidence.

• Cognitive science research shows that developing capabilities such as critical thinking is dependent on having content knowledge.

• As such, general capabilities need to be developed through a deep and rich knowledge of content in each of the curriculum learning areas.

Practical implications

The publication is accompanied by a professional learning protocol to support educators to consider the implications of this research for practice in their schools.
The publication complements the findings from the department's Education for a changing world report: How to teach critical thinking by Professor Daniel T Willingham.

Further information

For more information on cognitive science and the insights it offers for education, read CESE's Cognitive load theory resources.

Tuesday, 04 June 2019

Revisiting gifted education


Revisiting gifted education literature review (PDF, 2MB) 

Revisiting gifted education literature review summary (PDF, 157.18kB)

Revisiting gifted education myPL course




This literature review summarises the gifted education research base. It synthesises the best-quality available research into the learning characteristics of gifted students. It also provides summaries of the research on effective practices in gifted education for schools and teachers.

Main findings

Gifted students need more challenging learning with greater depth and complexity
Gifted students can have a level of cognitive function typical of students several years older, with high levels of fluid thinking, reasoning and working memory function. Teaching programs, feedback, deliberate practice, and opportunities to access advanced learning are all necessary to help gifted learners achieve at a high level and develop their talent over time.

Gifted students are found in all social groups
Many students from disadvantaged backgrounds underachieve because of fewer opportunities to learn and develop their talent. Gifted students can also have a co-existing disability, which means they require support for their disability as well as talent development to help them reach their educational potential.

Lack of adequate challenge can contribute to social and emotional challenges
Key social and emotional challenges for gifted students include boredom, disengagement, and perfectionist-type behaviours. Challenging school learning experiences, along with positive social relationships and a supportive school environment, can help gifted students thrive.

Gifted students benefit from explicit teaching and well-structured learning
Like all students, gifted learners require scaffolding and structure in learning to help manage the demands of cognitive load. Explicit teaching and guided inquiry are just as necessary for gifted students as for all students. Gifted learners may be able to move through structured and scaffolded activities at a faster pace, and then can benefit from problem solving and applied tasks.

Specific strategies are also needed to help gifted students achieve their best
There is strong research to support teaching practices that help align the challenge, complexity, depth and pace of learning with the learning needs of gifted students. This can done through evidence-based effective strategies such as curriculum acceleration, extension and enrichment learning experiences.


State of Education in NSW, 2018 (PDF, 2MB) 

State of Education in NSW, 2018 (PDF, 2MB)

Early childhood education in NSW

• In 2017,

- over 100,000 children were enrolled in a preschool program before starting school

- more children attended preschool for 15+ hours a week

- preschool enrolments for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children increased (by 26.3% since 2016).
- Around half of teachers delivering a preschool program were university trained.

• More early childhood services are meeting or exceeding the National Quality Standard (70% in 2017 compared to 44% in 2015).

Schooling in NSW

• In 2017, the proportion of students achieving in the top two NAPLAN bands in numeracy and reading has increased for all cohorts, compared to 2013/14 baselines.
• High school retention rates are improving for all students, but especially Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
• In 2017, the average school attendance rate in NSW was 94% for primary students and 91.1% for secondary students. Attendance rates are lower for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, and the gap increases in secondary school.
• Students can study VET in school as part of their HSC – in 2017, around 30% of HSC achievers also received a Certificate Level II or above qualification.

Post-school, VET and higher education in NSW

• In 2016,

- just over half of Year 12 leavers went onto to study a Bachelor degree
- the main destination for early school leavers was apprenticeships (27.8%)
- male early school leavers were six times more likely to enter an apprenticeship than female early school leavers
- female Year 12 leavers were more likely to enter a Bachelor degree than their male counterparts.

• The proportion of 20-64 year olds with a Certificate III or above has increased.
• The proportion of 25-34 year olds with a Bachelor degree or above has increased.
• The median ATAR of HSC students transitioning to Bachelor degrees was 79.2 in 2015, down from 83.0 in 2008
• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and low-SES students remain underrepresented in the higher education sector.
• The number of overseas students enrolling in NSW universities continues to increase.


Identifying potential strength and weakness in key learning areas using data from NAPLAN tests (PDF, 1.1MB)

This technical report outlines the rationale and methods used by CESE's Statistics and Analysis unit to develop a new way of analysing test results, which is based on identifying relative achievement of students when compared to other students who had received the same overall results in a NAPLAN assessment. 

The new methodology and the reporting options outlined in the report are aimed to improve the way teachers and schools use the test data, in particular online test results.


Homebush West Public School case study (PDF, 400kB)

Related: The role of student engagement in the transition from primary to secondary school



Homebush West Public School has an effective approach in preparing students for secondary school

The school, in the inner west of Sydney, places a strong emphasis on preparing its students for the transition to secondary school. This case study looks at their ‘middle school’ approach, where Year 5 and 6 students are introduced to secondary school structures and routines to prepare them for the transition.

‘Middle school’ helps emphasise the important transition the students will face

When students reach Year 5, the concept of ‘middle school’ is introduced. The students are given more responsibility and are provided opportunities to step into leadership roles. There is also a focus on teaching students to be more responsible for their own learning, including setting learning goals and participating in peer and self-assessment.

The approach allows students to experience secondary school structures and routines

This involves individual student timetables that require students to change classrooms, classmates and teachers according to subject and ability. The students say that this approach allows them to build relationships with more than one teacher and get used to differing teaching approaches and teacher expectations. It also creates opportunities for students to continue making new friends across the cohort.

The staff at Homebush West collaborate, engage in reflective teaching and foster a culture of high expectations

With their unique ‘middle school’ approach, the staff at Homebush West recognise the need to continually refine practice and to be able to differentiate learning to meet the needs of all Year 5 and 6 students. They also attest to the high levels of organisation and communication that are needed to facilitate this approach. They have a constant focus on high expectations, helping students to recognise the opportunities of secondary school and feel confident and excited about the transition.

Cognitive load practice guide thumb

This course is part 2 to the Cognitive load theory course. It allows educators to engage with practical strategies to implement cognitive load theory. Participants will be asked to reflect on these strategies and relate them to their own practice. 

Mode of delivery: online 
Accredited hours: 2
myPL course code: RG04611
Themes: cognitive load, explicit instruction

Learn more about what the course involves.

Learn more about the two Cognitive load theory publications.

Enrol on myPL.

language diversity bulletin (PDF, 680kB)

The language diversity bulletin (PDF, 680kB) summarises the diversity of students with a language background other than English (LBOTE) who are enrolled in NSW government schools in 2018.

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