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A curriculum that meets the needs of all students


naliniMeet Nalini

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. Read more about Nalini.

Action

In an Education State, schools are properly resourced to deliver a rich and challenging education in both the formal and informal curriculum. This requires an understanding of the individual needs of students and the delivery of programs that meet those needs.

No student should spend their time at school unmotivated or disengaged from learning.

We should not assume students’ abilities are fixed. The principle that should inform all teaching and learning is that talent can grow over time, whether students are struggling or gifted. Having

A ‘growth mind-set’ rather than a ‘fixed-intelligence mind-set’ broadens the opportunities for students of all abilities to develop their natural interests and aptitudes.

This dynamic view of learning encourages students to apply themselves and work hard to improve, receiving positive feedback for their effort and learning development rather than for their ‘natural’ ability.

All students must have access to the full range of curriculum experiences, with all schools resourced sufficiently to enable this to happen, no matter the needs or aptitudes of students.

A broad curriculum enables all students to discover their passions and interests, providing the gateway to creating motivated learners in the key areas of literacy and numeracy.

The transparent and consistent allocation of needs-based funding is a necessary condition to ensuring that we have a curriculum that meets the needs of all students.

Our Recommendation

An Education State ensures that the enabling factors, such as appropriate resourcing and support for school staff, are in place. This includes:

  • Time and resources to develop and implement differentiated/personalised learning programs for students, based on their learning needs
  • Enhancing access to curriculum areas such as music art, sport, science, languages and technology
  • Improving the resourcing of school libraries as hubs for learning, as well as providing up-to-date Information and Communications technology (ICT).
  • Better support to ensure all students are prepared with a pathway that properly connects them with the world of work and with further education and training after they have completed school.

Delivering on these objectives requires a continuous commitment by government to a whole-of-system approach underpinned by consistent policy and resourcing. This is particularly important for students whose learning and mainstream schools cannot adequately meet welfare needs.

If these conditions are met, the movement towards greater ‘personalisation’ of learning offers a productive way for students with a range of needs to achieve the outcomes they deserve through a relevant and engaging curriculum.