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Process evaluation of the Refugee Student Counselling Support Team (PDF, 7MB)

Process evaluation of the Refugee Student Counselling Support Team (PDF, 7MB)

The information on this page is also available as a one page summary (PDF, 109kB)

 


 

Evaluation background

The Refugee Student Counselling Support Team (RSCST) is a small Sydney-based team that provides specialised support to NSW public schools that have refugee students enrolled. Its main work areas include:

  • tailored professional learning
  • targeted counselling in complex cases and additional support for the school counselling service
  • advice and consultation
  • assistance connecting refugee students and their families to other local supports.

CESE conducted a process evaluation which involved:

  • 43 in-depth interviews with RSCST team members, school based staff, internal and external providers of refugee services
  • development of four case studies to illustrate good practice
  • a review of activity data and self-evaluation data collected by the team.

 

Main findings

The RSCST has a well-established service model that has been refined over time since its inception in 2016. The team’s reach has been broad and it has carried out an increasing volume of work in each of its core areas.

Capacity building has been the key priority from the outset and occurs through an array of professional learning workshops and via side-by-side work with school counselling staff. An increasing proportion of the team’s time has been spent providing targeted counselling support for refugee students with complex needs. The team also conducts group support work that is highly valued by schools. The team has established a contact number that is manned throughout the week for school enquiries and has developed strong local partnerships with internal and external refugee services.

School staff consistently observed that the team’s work has led to improvements in refugee students’ social and emotional skills, a reduced incidence and intensity of negative behaviours, and an increased readiness to learn. They described improvements to the wellbeing of students’ families, stemming from increased trust and confidence in school staff. Further, many school staff felt more confident and supported to put into practice the skills and strategies learnt from the RSCST’s capacity-building sessions and side-by-side counselling support. RSCST staff are particularly valued for their expertise in trauma-informed practice. The team’s collaboration with other refugee services has improved the set of services available to schools and to refugee students.

Recruitment has been a key challenge, and the team has often operated with less than its full complement of eight staff.

The nature of work requires a combination of specialist skills and personal attributes that are not easily found. The team is also working on increasing schools’ awareness of the team’s responsibilities and range of services, and on managing schools’ expectations of support. An ongoing challenge is deciding how to prioritise the team’s limited time most effectively across the state as demand for its services continues to grow.

Published in Research report

OCHRE Local Decision Making Accords: Illawarra Wingecarribee Alliance Aboriginal Corporation report (PDF, 383kB)

Authors: Ciara Smyth and Ilan Katz

Evaluator company/business: UNSW Social Policy Research Centre

URL or PDF: Download the OCHRE Local Decision Making Accords: Illawarra Wingecarribee Alliance Aboriginal Corporation report (PDF, 383kB)

Summary: NSW Aboriginal Affairs commissioned the Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW to evaluate the Illawarra Wingecarribee Alliance Aboriginal Corporation (IWAAC) Accord negotiation as part of OCHRE – Opportunity, Choice, Healing, Responsibility, Empowerment. OCHRE is the community-focussed plan for Aboriginal people in NSW. The evaluation aimed to assess whether the Accords negotiations were implemented as intended and what can be done to improve outcomes for similar negotiations in the future. This evaluation included qualitative interviews and focus groups with 26 key stakeholders and qualitative document analysis. While some key stakeholders reported the Accords negotiations were implemented as intended, others felt a range of issues and challenges negatively impacted implementation. A range of suggestions were made to improve outcomes from the Accords negotiations.

Published in Evaluation repository

OCHRE Local Decision Making Accords - Three Rivers Regional Assembly report (PDF, 451kB)

Authors: Ilan Katz, Jan Idle and Wendy Jopson

Evaluator company/business: UNSW Social Policy Research Centre

URL or PDF: Download the OCHRE Local Decision Making Accords - Three Rivers Regional Assembly report (PDF, 451kB)

Summary: NSW Aboriginal Affairs commissioned the Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC), UNSW Sydney, to evaluate the Three Rivers Regional Assembly (TRRA) Accord negotiation operating as part of OCHRE – Opportunity, Choice, Healing, Responsibility, Empowerment. OCHRE is the community-focussed plan for Aboriginal people in NSW. The key aim of the TRRA local decision-making evaluation was to assess whether the Accords negotiations were implemented as intended and what could be done to improve outcomes from similar negotiations in the future.The methodology included qualitative interviews and focus groups with stakeholders and qualitative document analysis. The evaluation found that the positive experiences of the pre-Accord workshops and Accord negotiations have been overshadowed by the failure to progress the Accord after three years of planning and negotiations, and has left many stakeholders disheartened by this failure.

Published in Evaluation repository

OCHRE evaluation synthesis report (PDF, 1.6MB)

Authors: Ilan Katz, Shona Bates, Jan Idle, Wendy Jopson and Michael Barnes

Evaluator company/business: UNSW Social Policy Research Centre

URL or PDF: Download the OCHRE evaluation synthesis report (PDF, 1.6MB)

Summary: This report focuses on the implementation and short-term outcomes of three Opportunity, Choice, Healing, Responsibility, Empowerment (OCHRE) programs in their first stage of implementation: Local decision-making; Opportunity hub and Aboriginal language and culture nests. This evaluation involved detailed case studies of: Gumbaynggirr Language and Culture Nest; North West Wiradjuri Language and Culture Nest; Campbelltown Opportunity Hub; Tamworth Opportunity Hub; Illawarra-Wingecarribee Alliance Aboriginal Corporation (IWAAC) and Murdi Paaki Regional Assembly (MPRA). Findings are based on discussions with Aboriginal community members in each site and other stakeholders; data analysis, and document analysis. Overall, the three OCHRE programs are working as intended in the sites evaluated and participants and stakeholders identified changes and recommendations on how the program might be improved to meet long-term goals. 

Published in Evaluation repository

Buildingnumeracyleadershipthumb

Authors: Janette Bobis

Evaluator company/business: University of Sydney

URL or PDF: Download the report on Building Numeracy Leadership in Early Action for Success schools (PDF, 2.4MB)

Summary: This report assesses the Building Numeracy Leadership’s (BNL) impact on teacher participants’ knowledge and teaching practices. Regarding methodology, quantitative analysis of data was conducted using a questionnaire to determine changes in participants’ scores from before their professional learning to their last professional learning session. Qualitative data was also obtained through interviews and classroom observations. Key findings include that the teachers demonstrated growth in their mathematical knowledge for teaching. However, they also varied in their prior knowledge, and so they varied in their abilities to take in information provided by the program.

Published in Evaluation repository

lc14

This course allows educators to engage with contemporary literature on effective evaluation and connect it to their own practice.

Mode of delivery: online 
Accredited hours: 2
myPL course code: RG03000
Themes: evaluation

Learn more about what the course involves.

Learn more about the 5 essentials for effective evaluation publication. 

Enrol on myPL. 

Published in Professional learning

A program of professional development designed to consolidate and strengthen evaluative thinking and practice in your school. Read more about this course on the Evaluation resource hub.

Mode of delivery: face-to-face
Accredited hours: 6
myPL course code: RG01452
Themes: evaluation, leadership

Published in Professional learning

These reports are part of an ongoing evaluation of Great Teaching, Inspired Learning (GTIL). GTIL is the NSW government's plan to improve the quality of teaching in NSW schools. Learn more about GTIL.

GTILfan Leaders

The evaluations

CESE evaluated key reforms under GTIL relating to:
• school leadership initiatives
• cadet and internship programs
• professional experience.

School leadership initiatives

School leadership initiatives evaluation summary (PDF, 430kB)

School leadership initiatives full report (PDF, 2MB)

CESE evaluated three key reforms under GTIL that aim to support leadership development among existing, new and aspiring leaders. The reforms evaluated were the:
• NSW Public School Leadership and Management Credential (action 15.3)
• Leadership Development Initiative (actions 14.1 and 14.2)
• Principal, School Leadership Initiative (action 15.2).

Cadetship and internship programs

Cadetship and internship programs evaluation summary (PDF, 266kB)

Cadetship and internship programs full report (PDF, 2MB)

CESE conducted an evaluation of two GTIL actions designed to attract high achieving students into the teaching profession in areas of workforce need. The department introduced the Cadetship and Internship Programs in 2014 to address these actions.
Cadets and interns are employed on a part-time basis during their teacher education studies to provide support to classroom teachers. They are guaranteed a permanent teaching position in a NSW public school upon completion of their studies.

Professional experience 

Professional experience evaluation summary (PDF, 260kB)

Professional experience full report (PDF, 1.5MB)

CESE conducted an evaluation of the key GTIL actions designed to improve the quality of professional experience placements for pre-service teachers. The report presents the findings in relation to the implementation and early impacts of:
• Closer matching of supply and demand for graduate teachers through the introduction of Professional Experience Agreements (action 4.2)
• Establishment of specialist professional experience schools (action 4.3)
• Professional learning for professional experience supervisors (action 4.4)
• Highly Accomplished and Lead Teachers leading professional experience activities (action 4.5).

 

A final GTIL evaluation report is due in 2019.

Published in Research report

 Download Local Schools, Local Decisions interim evaluation report (PDF, 2MB)

Download Local Schools, Local Decisions interim evaluation report (PDF, 2MB)

 

Reform background

In 2012, the NSW Department of Education launched the Local Schools, Local Decisions (LSLD) education reform. LSLD aims to give NSW government schools more authority to make local decisions about how best to meet the needs of their students. LSLD focuses on five interrelated reform areas: making decisions, managing resources, staffing schools, working locally and reducing red tape. A cornerstone element of LSLD is the introduction of a new needs-based approach to school funding through the Resource Allocation Model (RAM).

 

Evaluation

CESE is conducting an evaluation of LSLD. The evaluation began in mid-2016 and will conclude in mid-2020. The evaluation includes a process evaluation that investigates the implementation of LSLD, and an outcome evaluation focussing on the impact of the reform on school and student outcomes.

 

Main findings

This LSLD interim evaluation report presents interim findings on three key evaluation questions:

1. How have schools spent their RAM equity loadings?

In 2016, schools spent their RAM equity loadings on four main spending categories: employing key staff, enhancing learning support, planning and developing programs, and building staff capacity.

2. What has been the impact of LSLD on school management and local decision-making practices?

In four of the five LSLD reform areas, principals perceive the impact of LSLD to have been positive. In the fifth reform area, reducing red tape, more than two-thirds of principals
said that LSLD has not had a positive impact on simplifying administrative processes.

3. What has been the impact of LSLD and RAM funding on school and student outcomes?

The five student engagement measures included in this report (attendance, suspension, social engagement, institutional engagement and aspirations to complete Year 12) showed only very small to small overall changes over time. In terms of differential change over time, we found no relationship between changes over time in these engagement measures and levels of need, with the notable exception that students in higher-need schools typically showed less positive change over time in levels of social engagement than students in lower-need schools. On these findings alone, there is not yet evidence to support the idea that higher-need schools benefit more from the RAM equity loadings than lower-need schools.

Next steps

A final evaluation report will be published by CESE in mid-2020. This report will include an analysis of educational outcomes, including in-depth statistical modelling of NAPLAN results from 2012 to 2018, which will help us better understand the longer term effects of the reform. 

Published in Research report


Thinking evaluatively is important for identifying what works and encouraging continuous improvement. This audio paper sets out five conditions for effective evaluation in education, giving practical advice for both educators and policy makers. 

Read by Rydr Tracy, CESE.

Go to the Effective evaluation report. 

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