The School Curriculum and Standards Authority is responsible for Kindergarten to Year 12 curriculum, assessment, standards and reporting at Attadale Primary School. The authority sets out a K-10 Outline for all students from Kindergarten to Year 10. This outline specifies the mandated curriculum, guiding principles for teaching, learning and assessment and support for teachers in their assessment and reporting of student achievement.
Children in their early years of school have their curriculum framed around Belonging, Being and Becoming – The Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) which describes the principles, practice and outcomes essential to support and enhance young children’s learning from birth to five years of age, as well as their transition to school. The Kindergarten Curriculum Guidelines guides their educators to develop learning that draws from the key ideas and related content from the EYLF to ensure that all children in Kindergarten experience quality teaching and learning.
Syllabuses provided by the School Curriculum and Standards Authority are part of the mandated K-10 curriculum and include the 8 learning areas of: English, Mathematics, Science, Humanities and Social Sciences, The Arts, Health and Physical Education, Languages, Technologies. The school articulates the implementation of these syllabuses through the Business Plan and the Attadale Teaching and Learning Statement, which is outlined below.
APS staff provide a stimulating and innovative learning environment to support the intellectual, emotional, social and physical development of each student. High standards of student achievement, both academic and non-academic, are the focus of our work within each classroom and across the school. The School Curriculum Standards Authority (SCSA), The Early Years Learning Framework and the WA K-10 Syllabus determine our teaching, learning and assessment along with the support and resources required to ensure success. The WA K-10 Syllabus provides developmental sequences for the Learning Area Outcomes from the Australian Curriculum and both documents are used to plan effective teaching and learning programs. WA K-10 Syllabus materials, DoE online literacy and numeracy resources, school based overviews for Literacy and Numeracy, along with comprehensive Technology plans, direct staff to ensure students are successful and their needs are met.
Whole School Approach
A whole school approach is considered essential for successful students. We recognise the benefits of co-operation and allocate resources that allow teachers to plan collaboratively and engage in moderation, reflection and review. Early Close sessions are used for staff meetings and projects and the development of programs and staff. Teachers are provided with comprehensive support and resources to implement whole school approaches and defined programs in key learning areas. A distributed model of leadership provides time for phase and curriculum leaders to develop and collaboratively share their skills and understandings to expand quality teaching and leadership throughout the school. The Learning Support and Support at Educational Risk Co-ordinator provides expertise for students who are at risk of not achieving their potential. Teachers engage in classroom observation of their practice and a quality professional learning program aligned to operational plans and an effective performance management process further assists consistency in the implementation of whole school approaches across the school.
Curriculum Emphasis Across Phases
The emphasis in Kindergarten to Year 2 classrooms is on the development of English, Mathematics, social, emotional and physical well-being along with developing and nurturing positive attitudes to learning. In Years 3-6 classrooms there is an emphasis on English and Mathematics and increasing engagement with the other learning areas. There is a whole school focus on the whole child and the social, emotional and physical wellbeing of everyone (including staff). At least 50% of face-to-face teaching time in all classes is devoted to evidence based teaching of Literacy and Numeracy skills, knowledge and understandings.
Classroom Teaching and Learning
Teachers and students engage in explicit teaching that is evidence based, purposeful, relevant and clearly defined. John Hattie’s research on effective teaching is used to reflect on and ensure we engage best practice with Teaching Learning and Assessment. Feedback, goal setting, differentiation, metacognition, learning area metalanguage, higher order thinking skills and acceleration are aspects that deliberately and explicitly form part of the teaching and learning cycle. Explicit teaching, peer tutoring, differentiation and collaborative learning are valued and expected in every class.
I-Star is the guiding framework for lesson design which includes WALT, WILF, TIB and WINK. Learning experiences at the school are motivating with their intent and purpose clear to the student. Teachers differentiate learning to emphasise engagement and involve students in doing, imitating, planning, creating and making, including reflecting on the process and to set goals for future learning. Students are provided with opportunities to observe and practice the actual processes, products, skills and values which are expected of them. The Gradual Release of Responsibility model of instruction is utilised, i.e. familiarising, analysing, modelling, sharing, guiding and applying. Learning experiences encourage students to learn independently, from and with each other. A connection between existing knowledge, skills and values is evident with learning extending and challenging current ways of thinking and acting. The school Higher Order Thinking Skills framework is aligned to Bloom’s Taxonomy and describes a sequence of strategies to move students from lower to higher order thinking. Teachers respect and accommodate differences between learners acknowledging that students develop at different rates, have different learning styles and bring different backgrounds to the classroom. Supportive environments in which children take risks, make errors and are challenged in their learning are created.
Assessment and Reporting
Assessment practices have a powerful impact on teaching and learning. APS staff believe that the primary purpose of assessment is to enhance learning. The ‘Plan, Act, Assess’ cycle drives our planning and doing. John Hattie’s meta research explicitly guides our thinking and doing in this area as well. Self-reporting grades, feedback, goal setting, use of exemplars, moderation (assessments, work samples and report grades) and transition of student information between staff are non-negotiable aspects expected in every class. Assessment information is used to determine classroom learning and teaching programs for individuals, identified groups (differentiation) and the whole class. Brightpath is an assessment tool used to assist this. Defined targets collaboratively developed by staff in each learning area provide explicit areas of focus in programs to ensure value is added to each child’s achievement in any one year.
The school has worked hard to create a community of learners through staff collaboration and the building of positive relationships with students and parents. The school views parents as partners in education. Parent/teacher class meetings at the beginning of the school year provide information about the class programs and routines. Later in the year, an Open Night that exemplifies classroom teaching and learning to the community takes place. Information sessions related to supporting learning at home are held at designated early in the year. Parents are invited into classrooms to support the delivery of teaching and learning programs. Community relationships are not limited to parents. The school has a close relationship with universities in the area of teacher professional training and utilises the skills of pre-service teachers to enhance programs.