Navigate Up
Sign In
Learning and teaching

Improving learning outcomes for each student

In 2016, Brisbane Catholic Education continued to implement the Delivering Excellent Learning and Teaching Strategy 2014-16 (DELT) to inspire high expectations for learning that maximise engagement, progress and achievement for all students in Brisbane Catholic Education classrooms.

DELT has focused on building a common language and a shared understanding of the conditions necessary for learning. 2016 has been a period of ongoing professional learning for school leaders and teachers as they reflect on and develop their own pedagogical practice. These leaders and teachers have made use of effective and expected teaching practices, with a keen focus on the progress of each student and the provision of feedback to move learning forward.

During 2016, at a system, school and classroom level, three interconnected high-yield strategies were introduced to evaluate the impact of teaching and leadership on learning progress for each student:

  • Using data to lead learning: collecting, displaying and discussing student results regularly to inform teaching strategies, professional development, and the ongoing system approach to excellent learning and teaching.

  • Review and response cycles: focused meetings, drawing on the collective wisdom of our teachers and leaders, to review examples of student work, discuss particular teaching strategies being used in the classroom and identify teaching strategies to trial moving forward - all with the goal of helping each student to progress.

  • Learning walks and talks: regular 'walking meetings' using guided questioning to help educators to uncover evidence of how teaching approaches are impacting student learning.

Having embedded the strategies in 2016, Brisbane Catholic Education has committed to deepening its understanding and practice of each in 2017.

In 2016, schools also joined one of four learning groups called 'collaboratives' to extend work started through Teach and Learn focus groups:

  • The 73 schools in the Making Learning Visible Collaborative focused on building collective capacity to embed practices that make learning visible in every classroom. This included identifying the impact of teaching on each student's learning and then responding to move learning forward.

  • Twenty-one schools were part of the Learning Collaborative which focused on establishing visible evidence of progress in literacy for each student.

  • This work was further built on by the 25 schools in the Learning Collaborative Extended Group where the focus was on building collective capacity through collaboration to embed the effective and expected practices for the teaching of literacy.

  • The Literacy and Numeracy Collaborative group included 22 schools, 17 with a focus on literacy and five on numeracy. This collaborative worked to build collective capacity to embed the practices and processes that move learning forward in literacy or numeracy for each student.

At the end of 2016 a review of DELT was undertaken to inform the next phase, Excellent Learning and Teaching: Moving Forward which will include the three individual strategies of Accelerate Literacy Learning, Advance Student Progress and Achievement, and Innovate for Excellence.

Work commenced in 2016 as follows:

  • As part of the Advance Student Progress strategy, all Brisbane Catholic Education schools developed a Learning Growth Plan with a SMART goal to grow student progress, achievement and engagement in literacy with an emerging priority in numeracy. Schools will implement these plans in 2017, assisted by system level professional learning and support.

  • Under the Accelerate Literacy Learning strategy, 12 schools began working towards their SMART goal to grow student progress, achievement and engagement in early years reading and/or years 7-8 writing.

School spotlight: Above, St William's Primary School Grovely students Matari Morgan and Isaac Mahoney hone their reading skills with Year 1 teacher Francesca Massimino. Click on the image to read more.

Quality pedagogy

During 2016, a Brisbane Catholic Education position statement was released on the teaching of phonics in the English curriculum, Passionate and Successful Readers and Writers - Making Meaning in the Curriculum Context. School leaders and teachers have reported that they appreciate the clarity of this position statement and supporting resources that are enabling and supporting the teaching of phonics in the classroom.

Supporting teachers

Following a successful trial in 2015, the Primary Learning Leaders program was expanded in 2016. As a result, 57 additional leadership team members have been appointed in primary schools to provide mentoring, coaching and professional learning and to encourage collaboration to enhance teacher capacity to deliver improved educational outcomes for students. This program is expected to continue to expand in 2017.

Strategic partners

Brisbane Catholic Education continued to work with several renowned educational experts:

  • David Hornsby worked with Brisbane Catholic Education as a leading literacy educator to develop the phonics position paper and conducted professional learning workshops to accompany its release.

  • Dr Lyn Sharratt has been a valued contributor in improving literacy outcomes and in 2016 worked with schools on several occasions to develop expertise in the three high yield strategies.

  • Michael Fullan delivered professional learning to school and office teams and supported the development of Excellent Learning and Teaching: Moving Forward. The focus with this engagement was on further developing the notion of systemness, unpacking his Cohesion Framework and planning for 2017.

Brisbane Catholic Education continued to partner with the Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism on research projects within its schools that aim to optimise students' social, behavioural and academic development and to equip teachers to enhance performance and manage complex behaviours. Key achievements during 2016 included:

  • developing a range of social-emotional interventions to help all students recognise and regulate their emotions and deal with bullying

  • trialling models of practice for teachers to support students with autism to transition into a new school

  • producing an app to help all students in classrooms develop better writing strategies.

Year 12 outcomes

The proportion of students awarded Certification continues to rise, and in 2016, 93.4% of Year 12 Brisbane Catholic Education students were awarded Certification, compared to 90.7% in 2012.

Vocational Education and Training (VET) remains a significant aspect of senior learning in Brisbane Catholic Education schools. In 2016, 4,090 VET Certificates were awarded to the 3,796 students who completed Year 12. Further, 33.5% of students who completed Year 12 attained a VET Certificate III or IV. This level of certification supports future access to tertiary education.

Well prepared for change

Brisbane Catholic Education continued preparations for the new Queensland senior assessment and tertiary entrance systems.

The organisation is working with the Queensland Catholic Education Commission, the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority, colleagues across the Catholic sector and individual schools to identify areas of change for students, teachers, schools and systems and to provide advice and resourcing to support this change.

Inclusive education

In 2016, the Molum Sabe Implementation Plan was released to support Molum Sabe (Brisbane Catholic Education's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Strategy 2015-16). This implementation plan provides a framework for focusing Brisbane Catholic Education efforts to collaborate and inspire high expectations for learning by maximising engagement, progress and achievement of each Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student.

Brisbane Catholic Education also provided significant staffing allocations to support inclusive education and allocated $52.8 million to deliver quality inclusive education and empower all learners, including those with a disability. This funding was used for a range of programs, including Students with Disability Support, Student Learning Enhancement, Inclusion, Children and Young People in Care, Vocational Education Youth Support Coordinators, English as a second language and for refugee support.

In addition, 19 families were supported for full access to schooling through the Mary MacKillop Brisbane Catholic School Access Fund. Through this fund $68,000 was allocated directly to support families for whom a Catholic education was neither accessible nor achievable.

Under the Equity Access Fund, $0.48 million was also distributed to schools for the support of families in school communities where financial hardship may prevent full access to the learning environment. Funding from this fund is used for transport, excursions, uniforms, texts and some fee relief for families.

Embedding a Catholic perspective across the curriculum

Brisbane Catholic Education embarked on an Australian-first initiative to embed a Catholic Perspective on Relationships and Sexuality Education within the Australian Curriculum's Health and Physical Education learning area. This initiative was successfully piloted for six months in 2016 to inform structure, content, teacher professional learning needs and resources for the program and it has become a prototype for how Brisbane Catholic Education will embed a Catholic perspective in other curriculum areas of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority framework.

Six Brisbane Catholic Education schools engaged in an action research project with Australian Catholic University to bring a Catholic perspective to the Australian National Curriculum. Participating teachers worked collaboratively on planning, implementation and reflection as they developed links between Catholic Social Teaching and cross-curriculum themes such as ethical understanding, critical thinking and sustainability. Examples of good practice were shared with colleagues at showcase events during 2016.

Brisbane Catholic Education Office

243 Gladstone Road, Dutton Park Q 4102

GPO Box 1201 Brisbane 4001 Australia

Phone: (07) 3033 7000

Fax: (07) 3844 5101