Ashmont Public School is one of the state’s top performers in “closing the gap” between the results of its indigenous and non-indigenous students.
In the 2017 NAPLAN results, all of the school’s results were categorised as being either “above” or “well above” those of other schools with similar student populations.
Additionally, the previous year, the school’s top four student performers in the annual literacy and numeracy testing for Year 5 were Aboriginal.
About half of the school’s student population identified as indigenous, while a further six per cent were from a non-English speaking background.
School principal Diana McGregor attributes the school’s strong results to a consistently high focus on literacy and numeracy, along with good teachers and a curriculum that is constantly being updated.
“Every day, we run two two-hour blocks – one of literacy and one of numeracy – right across the school,” she said.
“We run on a cycle, where we program for two weeks, and the teachers have fortnightly professional learning as well, where they are having ongoing assessment of what they are teaching.
“It’s not just a program where one size fits all. It is very much differentiated to suit the needs of the children at the time.
“We are teaching at the point of need at all times.”
All of the Ashmont Public students’ learning is linked back to the school’s core themes of literacy and numeracy.
“Literacy and numeracy is the big push. The expectation is that all students are in there learning, at their level, and achieving,” Ms McGregor said.
Ashmont school has about 220 students spread across 11 classes, a move deliberately aimed at keeping class sizes small.
Ms McGregor believes skilled teachers are a big part of the school’s success in closing the gap.
“It hasn’t happened overnight. It is the consistency of that honing in on literacy and numeracy right across the board,” she said.
“It is also that level of high expectations and accountability, and the fact we do us continual data assessment to drive where our learning is going.”