ACT News

Farrer Primary jumps a combined 253 places on ACT school league tables

Farrer Primary School has risen a combined 253 places across league tables of ACT literacy and numeracy results for Year 3.

In the most dramatic increase in performance of any school in Canberra, the Woden Valley primary school rose 62 places to come fourth in grammar, 46 places to fifth in writing, 41 places to eighth in spelling, 46 places to 17th in numeracy and 58 places to 18th in reading.

For acting principal Linda Heath, the results are a tiny snapshot of improvements across all areas of learning at the school.

But she is proud. "All of the staff are proud," she said. "We work really hard and we love to see results.

"We look at and analyse a lot of data, and we concentrate on a number of areas of learning, including science and environmental science here at Farrer."

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However, staff always kept "a very close eye on the core business of literacy and numeracy" and were heartened by the gains achieved at the school, particularly in those areas.

Ms Heath said one of the areas in which Farrer was seeing success was its early intervention strategies.

"We look at identifying a student's additional needs in literacy or numeracy very early on – we look at their intervention plan every 10 weeks.

"So while we do use NAPLAN, it is a snapshot, and it is just once a year.

"We rely on a lot more school-based indication, so that we can ensure our actions to make a difference are actually working, without waiting a whole year."

She praised the work of principal Rachel Burke, who had been temporarily transferred to Jervis Bay to bring her successful approaches to literacy and numeracy to a school that has high needs.

"It has been really good to see the sharing of best practice across the public education system in the last few years. Of course you can't change results over night, but you can turn things around and you can see the effects of good practice take hold."

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