QST Enrolments generic schoolchildren conducting science experiment
QST Enrolments generic schoolchildren conducting science experiment

How Rocky region’s top NAPLAN schools did it

WHILE recent Australian NAPLAN results show a plummet in 15-year-olds’ performance over the past decade, Central Queensland schools are recording an increase in improvement over the past five years.

Over that time, the CQ schools that improved their NAPLAN results the most in years five and nine were Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School in Springsure (year five) and Lighthouse Christian School in Norman Gardens (year nine).

For Our Lady, the average results across all subjects improved by 11.7 per cent for year five.

For Lighthouse Christian School, the average results increased by 5.8 per cent – the biggest improvement in Rockhampton.

Lighthouse Principal Blair Harp said his school had taken an “intentional” approach towards studies over the past four years.

“Our school leadership know that the quality of the daily teaching is what makes the biggest difference and so, supporting our classroom teachers is our highest priority,” he said.

“We are clear around the programs and practices we use. Nothing is implemented unless we have evidence that it works.

“Whether learning extension, learning support, teaching methods or positive classroom practices, clear expectations and systems to monitor results regularly and carefully ensure appropriate improvement for every student and prevent any individual from being overlooked.

“Our staff are on board and will do whatever it takes to ensure our students have the best learning opportunities possible. The high calibre of staff makes all the difference.”

NAPLAN is seen as a valuable tool used to track the school-wide progress and “highlight areas” to focus on for ongoing growth and improvement.

“We normalise NAPLAN as part of our student and cohort monitoring regimen,” Mr Harp said.

“As a result of our regularly and ongoing data collection, students are aware of their progress and many, including some who may typically struggle, look forward to the May test to measure their improvement.”

Mr Harp said the school had been monitoring students’ progress carefully over recent years, identifying reward improvement across all areas.

“Last year we were identified by independent Schools Queensland as one of the most improved schools in the sector in reading,” he said.

“We were one of a dozen or so schools invited to participate in a research project ISQ conducted into school improvement.

“Our aim as educators must be to see children use their God given gifts and attain their potential. To have credibility in the community and workplace, you need to be excellent in what you do.

“Lighthouse Christian School has a focus on providing the highest quality of education possible, we use the NAPLAN data to inform the Most Important Next Steps in a student’s educational journey. In this way, we are extending students where they are at, equipping them with the skills and knowledge they need to pursue a bright future.”