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

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

 

Summary

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.

Published in Case studies

supporting-students-learning-resources

This course allows educators to explore the provision of advocacy and support in NSW schools and connect education theory with their own practice.

Mode of delivery: online 
Accredited hours: 1.5
myPL course code: RG03816
Themes: support for learning, advocacy

Learn more about what the course involves.

Learn more about the Supporting students' learning publications.

Enrol on myPL. 

Published in Professional learning

 

CESE talks to school leaders from two NSW schools about how they provide a supportive learning environment for their students.

Featuring: Samuel Cox, CESE.
Murray Kitteringham and Melanie Check, Sir Joseph Banks High School.
Helen Polios, Whalan Public School.

Read the transcript (PDF, 106kB)

Read the supporting students' learning publications. 

Friday, 20 July 2018

Supporting students' learning

Supporting students' learning - insights from students, parents and teachers (PDF, 1MB)Supporting-students-learning-resources-thumb

The Supporting students' learning - insights from students, parents and teachers (PDF, 1MB) learning curve presents findings from the 2016 Tell Them From Me school surveys completed by primary and secondary students, parents/carer and teachers in NSW government schools. Students provide feedback on how much support they receive from their teachers and their parents/carers, while responses from teachers and parent/carers indicate how much support they provide in school and at home, respectively. It draws on all three perspectives to explore the provision of advocacy and support and how this varies for different groups of students at different stages of school. 

The Supporting students' learning - resources and case studies for schools, teachers and parents (PDF, 808kB) accompanies the learning curve, providing evidence-based strategies and two case studies that describe how to create supportive learning environments. 

Read the audio paper transcript (PDF, 106kB). 

 

Background

Alongside effective teaching practices, students need a supportive learning environment to succeed. In an education context, advocacy and support for learning refers to the active consideration of, and support for, students’ academic and wellbeing needs.

Main findings

  • The results show that students and teachers report different levels of advocacy and support in school depending on the stage of schooling. Students’ perceptions of teacher support start to decline in the final years of primary school. Secondary school students perceive teacher support to dip in the middle years of school, before improving in Years 11 and 12. Teachers report that they increase the amount of classroom support they provide to students in key schooling years (Years 5-6 and Years 10-12).
  • In NSW, both parents and students report a continual decline in the frequency of supportive interactions at home that relate to school.
  • While there are some differences between boys’ and girls’ experiences of advocacy and support in school and at home, there is a large disadvantage gap between low and high-SES students. These findings suggest that more can be done to make sure all students have access to support sources, which they can turn to for advice and encouragement.
  • Accompanying this Learning Curve, CESE has used evidence-based practices and local examples to provide practical strategies for fostering advocacy and support in schools and at home. Case studies on Whalan Public School and Sir Joseph Banks High School highlight some of the programs and initiatives these schools have used to achieve high levels of advocacy at school. This qualitative research shows that schools that provide high levels of advocacy at school are also committed to strengthening the homeschool partnership for their students.

More information

The NSW Department of Education Strategic Plan 2018-2022 includes the commitment to ensure that every student is known, valued and cared for in our schools. School advocacy and support for learning are necessary components for happy and successful students. Schools can use the department’s Tell Them From Me surveys to engage with, clarify and strengthen the important relationship between teachers, parents and schools by providing an evidence-based platform to capture feedback. This knowledge can then help build an accurate and timely picture that schools can use for practical improvements.

The summary on this page is also available as a PDF. Download the summary of the two publications (PDF, 180kB).

Published in Learning Curve

Tell Them From Me Student Survey Trial Final Rpt 2014

Authors: Marita Merlene, Wendy Hodge, Kerry Hart, Alexandra Ellinson, Ofir Thaler

Evaluator company/business: ARTD Consultants

Year: 2014

URL or PDF: Download the Evaluation of the 'Tell Them From Me' student survey trial (PDF, 1.14MB).

Summary: This formative evaluation provided insight and advice for the future implementation of student surveys. Mixed methods were used —surveys, case studies in five schools and semi-structured interviews. 172 secondary schools and 55 primary schools took part in the pilot  online student survey and were approached to participate in the evaluation. The evaluation found that principals favoured the continuation of the student survey and the introduction of similar surveys for teachers and for parents.

Published in Evaluation repository

The role of student engagement in the transition from primary to secondary school (PDF, 2.2MB)

The role of student engagement in the transition from primary to secondary school (PDF, 2.2MB)

Related: Homebush West Public School case study

 

Summary

The primary to secondary transition marks a significant change for most students 

This transition period is important because of the impact it may have on students’ engagement in learning and their sense of belonging at school. This publication examines the relationship between students’ sense of belonging and other types of engagement across the transition from primary to secondary. It includes an analysis of 12,000 students who completed surveys in Year 6, and then again in Year 7. 

There is typically a decline in student engagement during the transition from Year 6 to Year 7

This decline is experienced even more by students from low-socioeconomic backgrounds and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. Between Year 6 and Year 7, there is a decline in the percentage of students who value school outcomes and those who are trying hard to succeed. Students’ sense of belonging also declines over the transition.

Students’ experiences in primary school can have flow on effects for their engagement and learning in secondary

Students who report having a positive sense of belonging in Year 6 are more likely to have a positive sense of belonging in Year 7. Factors that help influence a student’s sense of belonging at the beginning of high school include their relationships with teachers and peers, the support they receive at school and at home, and school practice. 

Both primary and secondary schools can help make the transition easier for students

Primary schools should be attentive to Year 6 students’ sense of belonging and their relationships with teachers and peers, especially in the lead up to the transition. Secondary schools should develop strong, supportive student-teacher relationships as early as possible. There are more practical tips on how to do this in the publication and the Homebush West case study. 

Published in Learning Curve

2017 engagment NAPLAN thumbnail 
Research shows the benefit of effective teaching and student engagement. The Improving high school engagement learning curve (PDF, 1.6MB) uses data from the NSW Tell Them From Me student surveys in 2013 and 2015 to look at how students' engagement, performance and experience of classroom practices in Year 7 affect their engagement and performance in Year 9.

Learn more about the Tell Them From Me surveys. 

Published in Learning Curve

Gender and Engagement Learning Curve (PDF, 1.7MB)

The Gender and Engagement Learning Curve (PDF, 1.7MB) analyses gender and engagement in NSW public schools using data from the NSW Tell Them From Me secondary school survey.

Learn more about the Tell Them From Me surveys

Published in Learning Curve

wellbeing thumb

The Primary school engagement and wellbeing publication (PDF, 1.1MB) presents findings from the 2015 Tell Them From Me primary school survey. The survey measures the engagement of primary students in Years 4, 5 and 6 and classroom, school and family factors that influence student engagement and achievement.

Learn more about the Tell Them From Me surveys. 

Published in Learning Curve
Tuesday, 01 November 2016

Capturing and measuring student voice

Capturing and measuring student voice (PDF, 1.1MB)

Capturing and measuring student voice (PDF, 1.1MB)

 

Summary

Student voice helps us to understand learning from the perspective of the learner

Student voice refers to the views of students on their own schooling. This publication explores:
• why student voice should be measured
• how and when it should be measured
• what questions can and should be asked
• how student voice should be interpreted.

Capturing student voice can improve engagement and provides useful data for school planning

The act of capturing student voice gives students the opportunity to provide feedback and influence their own school experience. This can have an impact on their effort, participation and engagement in learning. Student feedback may also help teachers develop new perspectives on their teaching and can contribute to broader areas of school planning and improvement.

The methodology used for capturing student voice is important

It is important to consider how student feedback is intended to be used. This will help inform when to capture the feedback, which methods are best for capturing the feedback and what questions to ask. Measuring student voice over time can help examine whether particular strategies have led to changes in the way students perceive school or learning.

NSW public schools can use Tell Them From Me to capture and measure student voice

Tell Them From Me is a suite of surveys used across NSW public schools. The surveys can help schools understand students’ perspectives on their school experience, including their engagement, wellbeing and exposure to quality teaching practices. Read the Tell Them From Me case studies to learn how other NSW schools have used Tell Them From Me for school planning and improvement.

Published in Learning Curve

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