Acting Principal of Kambrya College, Nalini Naidu, knows first hand that investment in education gets results.
Back in 2008, the literacy and numeracy outcomes of students at Kambrya College, a government secondary school in Berwick, were “unacceptably low”, as were its VCE scores.
These days, however, the school’s VCE results are within the top 25% of all Victorian state schools and its NAPLAN results are rapidly improving. In just five years, the average study score for a VCE subject has surged from 24 in 2008 to 30 in 2013 and 2014.
Much of the school’s success, Nalini says, lies in the fact it has adapted the curriculum to meet the needs of different learners.
The school already had a program in place for its gifted students, to stretch them academically and provide them with the stimulus to reach their potential.
But in 2009–2010, Kambrya College was provided with National Partnerships funding from the Commonwealth, which enabled it to improve the literacy and numeracy outcomes of those students who were struggling academically.
This extra funding allowed the school to hire two new leading teachers, whose job was to adapt the curriculum to implement a skills-based literacy and numeracy program. The school’s NAPLAN results immediately improved.
“If you have very targeted, structured and planned support, you can roll out a program that adapts the curriculum to students’ needs,” says Nalini.
Seeing how beneficial it was to tailor the curriculum to the needs of different learners, a further program was put in place to support Year 7 students who needed extra help.
These students were provided with additional support staff, who then assisted teachers to identify the students’ individual strengths and weaknesses and develop a personalised curriculum for each individual.
Nalini is proud to say that this approach has paid off, with these students improving at a rate three times greater than their average annual growth during primary school.
“This class has been very successful and due to popular demand from both parents and students, the program has now been extended into Year 8 in 2015.”
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