Schools accountable for achieving excellence

12 December 2014

NSW public schools will adopt a new benchmark for educational excellence designed to deliver student achievement at the highest levels, Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli announced today.

The principle of student gain is at the heart of a new excellence framework, which will help to assess the performance of schools across the State.

"The new School Excellence Framework is a rigorous approach to checking that each school is delivering the best possible education," Mr Piccoli said.

"Every student needs to progress every year in order to finish school with the best possible educational outcomes. We are focussing explicitly on growth in learning in order to make that improvement a priority for everyone in the school system."

The new School Excellence Framework, which will be implemented next year, contains a comprehensive description of what constitutes high-quality education in three areas: how children learn, how teachers teach and how schools are led.

"The Framework has clear ‘statements of excellence' for schools to aim for in each of these three areas," Mr Piccoli said.

"The ultimate focus is always on students and their learning but that cannot be maximised without improvement in learning, teaching and leadership.

"Just as the best students need to improve every year I believe the best schools can always perform better."

Mr Piccoli said the Framework would help NSW public schools show how they were using additional funding to improve student outcomes.

"The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government was the first State to sign up to the Gonski agreement which will deliver $5 billion in additional funding to NSW schools," he said.

"Our Local Schools, Local Decisions reforms give schools much greater authority over how that money is spent. The Schools Excellence Framework is the opportunity for schools to demonstrate the results they achieve with the additional resources and flexibility."

The Framework is based on a review of national and international practice at the system, school and classroom level, including the National School Improvement Tool developed by the Australian Council for Educational Research.

The Framework will help schools engage their communities to identify strategic directions, decide on improvement measures, and assess their progress. Schools will:

· develop a shared vision in consultation with their communities;

· self-assess and report annually on their progress; and

· have their internal assessment validated by two experienced principals within a five-year cycle.

School plans will identify three key strategic directions that will be monitored using milestones determined by the schools to assist them in tracking and sharing progress. Schools will report to their communities on their progress in their annual school report.

Schools whose self-assessment shows challenges in particular areas will be supported by the Department to identify, implement and monitor improvement strategies.

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