Celebrating Our School Review For 2020
In 2020, our school review was conducted between August 25 and 27. Our next review will be in 2024.
What is a School Review?
A School Review looks at all aspects of the school.
- What is the Explicit Improvement Agenda?
- Whether, and how much, analysis and discussion of Data occurs
- How does the school culture promote Learning?
- Is there targeted use of School Resources?
- How expert is the Teaching Team?
- Is Curriculum delivered systematically?
- Is Teaching and Learning differentiated?
- How effective are Pedagogical Practices?
- How successful are School Community Partnerships
A School Review is conducted by 3 Australian Council for Educational Research reviewers using the National School Improvement Tool. The tool, developed in 2009 by Professor Geoff Masters, is designed to identify the characteristics that make a highly effective school.
The review process begins months before the actual review. The school is required to send to the reviewers curriculum documents, policies, pedagogical frameworks, etc that will assist the reviewers in gaining an understanding of a school prior to turning up on the first day.
What is the purpose of the review?
Using the National School Improvement Tool as their guide the reviewers assist schools in reflecting on their efforts to improve the quality of learning and student outcomes. The Review supports school-wide conversations – including with parents and families, school governing bodies, local communities and students themselves – about aspects of current practice, areas of success, areas for improvement and evidence that progress is being made.
Once a School Review is completed the findings are analysed by the school leadership and staff to implement changes and improvements across many areas of the school.
What happens during the review?
When the Reviewers come into the school they are looking to find evidence relating to the 9 Domains in the National School Improvement Tool:
- An Explicit Improvement Agenda
- Analysis and Discussion of Data
- A Culture that Promotes Learning
- Targeted Use of School Resources
- An Expert Teaching Team
- Systematic Curriculum Delivery
- Differentiated Teaching and Learning
- Effective Pedagogical Practices
- School Community Partnerships
They will spend their time meeting with the:
- Leadership Team
- Teaching staff
- Teaching aides
- Administrative staff
- School Board
- Student Leadership Team
- Wider school community
Through these meetings, interviews, discussions, group chats the reviewers will have gathered a great deal of evidence relating to the 9 Domains.
After school hours the reviewers meet to discuss what they have found. On the final day of the review they begin the process of completing their Draft Report about the school. The Draft Report provides feedback on the assessments made against each of the nine interrelated domains of effective school practice. In each of the Domains there are 4 standards:
- Low: very little evidence of planning or evidence was found.
- Medium: some evidence was found.
- High: there is clear evidence available that most staff, most of the time, are demonstrating capability in this domain.
- Outstanding: a great deal of evidence that all staff, all the time, are demonstrating high capability in this domain.
Here is an example of one of the Domains:
Summary findings and comments are provided at the conclusion of each domain assessment. The review team conclude the report with a set of:
- Commendations: what the school is doing very well and is to be commended for
- Affirmations: what the school is doing that is good practice
- Recommendations: what the school needs to do, moving forward, to assist in future planning and to support school-wide improvement.
This draft report is presented to the school leadership team for discussion and clarification before being taken to the whole staff. The draft report is then sent to ACER for final checking to ensure that the Commendations, Affirmations and Recommendations are accurate and based on the findings that were detailed in each of the Domains. Once finalised the report is sent back to the school.
What did the review and the report say about Larrakeyah Primary School?
Larrakeyah Primary School and staff were looking forward to the School Review. Within the school there has been a confidence growing over the past 3 – 4 years that we have been developing in all areas of the school, such as:
- curriculum development
- teaching and learning
- pedagogical practices
- developing effective partnerships
- developing leaders within the school
- analysis and the use of data to inform teaching and learning and embedding differentiated learning across the school.
Alongside the development of teaching and learning in the school there has been a conscious effort to recruit highly skilled teachers from around Australia whenever a vacancy arises. The current staff are dedicated, highly skilled and committed to the culture and ethos of Larrakeyah Primary School. They were able to articulate to the reviewers what has been happening in the school in all areas.
When the Draft Report was presented to the Leadership Team the Lead Reviewer and his colleagues went to great lengths to emphasise how honoured they felt to have been able to review a school that was so dedicated to the development of teaching and learning and improving student outcomes.
They pointed out that in a normal School Review the report for a very good school might include 8 -10 Commendations and about the same number of Affirmations. Larrakeyah Primary School received 21 Commendations and 20 Affirmations. This is almost unheard of and required getting special dispensation for including so many in the report.
The final report by the reviewers showed that Larrakeyah Primary School was assessed as High or Outstanding (or a combination) in every domain. In fact, in the Effective Pedagogical Practices domain, the school was assessed as Outstanding which, according to the reviewers who have reviewed over 300 schools, rarely happens. When the Lead Reviewer did the final report to staff and leadership he stated that the results Larrakeyah Primary School had achieved would place them in the top 3 – 5% of high performing schools within Australia.
When the Draft Report was presented to the whole staff it was amazing to see the pride and happiness of each and every member of staff. This has been a journey that some people have been on for 8 years and others for less than a year. However, every member of staff has contributed to Larrakeyah Primary School being recognised as probably the best Primary school in the Northern Territory and in the top echelon within Australia. It must also be remembered that it is not only the entire school staff who have achieved this but the School Board, the parents and the students who have all played a very big part in this success.
The NSIT has a set of performance levels (low, medium, high and outstanding). These performance levels not only support schools in understanding where they are in their improvement journey, but are designed to help schools identify strategies for improvement and to monitor improvement over time.
These performance levels are not intended as an assessment or grading, and should not be read on their own as indicator of where a school is at rather, they should be considered alongside all of the evidence within the report.
What happens after the review?
This will very much depend on the school. At Larrakeyah Primary School we have already put in place a process to set about achieving the Recommendations given by the Reviewers. The Leadership Team spent the day going over the review, discussing the report and where Larrakeyah Primary sat in each Domain.
The Leadership Team discussed each of the recommendations and how these could be developed in conjunction with staff. A timeline for achieving the recommendations was established. This outlined a clear plan for working on each recommendation over time. Further planning will take place during Term 4 in preparation for 2021.
The Final review Report will be posted on the Larrakeyah School website when it is received by the school. In the meantime the interim LPS External School Review 2020 has been posted. This contains the Commendations, Affirmations and Recommendations that are in the Final Review Report.
A message from the School Board
Darwin City Council has notified the school of its final decision to restore access to the Larrakeyah Base through Packard Street in the immediate future whilst the base upgrade is underway. This will include restoring two way traffic flows to Packard Street as well as making the southern side “No Parking” during drop off and pickup times to allow for both a right turning traffic lane into the school and a through traffic lane into the Base. The Board is genuinely concerned about the safety risk for families and students crossing Packard Street under this plan – there will now be three lanes of traffic for pedestrians to negotiate without the protection of a defined crossing. The Board is formally responding to the Council to reinforce our safety concerns about this plan.
In positive news, the Board is extremely impressed with the performance recognised by the School Review that has just been completed on Larrakeyah Primary School. In short, it can only be described as outstanding, and is a significant improvement on the previous review conducted in 2016. The whole school can be immensely proud of this exceptionally positive review, which is a tremendous reflection of the work being carried out by the Principal, the Leadership Team and all teachers and other staff. The review report can be found on the resources page of the school website.
The Board has approved the request for a Professional Development Day to be held on the 6th of November. This Professional Development Day will be used to unpack the nine Domains of the school review report with staff and plan for the implementation of the recommendations. This will be a very good way of gaining maximum benefit from the review process.
Larrakeyah Primary School Board
0427 462 423