CASE STUDY: Camden South Public School

About Camden South Public School

School:  Camden South Public School
Location: South West Sydney, Australia
Type: K-6 primary school
Teaching staff: 43
Students: 770
Indigenous students: 3%
Non-English Speaking Background: 11%

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Challenge

  • Camden South Public school has been focused over the last 12-18 months on supporting teacher teams in building trust  and collaboration. It has also appointed a school-wide Instructional Leader to support improvements in teacher practice
  • However, the school lacked a continuous improvement process that would embed changes sustainably over time.
We spent last year building the foundations for culture change, and we knew the focus of improvement should be Writing. We had the ‘why’ and the ‘what’ but we didn’t have the ‘how’.

Approach

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  • The school leadership team chose Learning Sprints as the means by which continuous practice improvement would be implemented at the school.
  • The leadership team participated in formal training on the Learning Sprints method, then rolled out the approach across all teacher teams with a focus on improving student outcomes in Writing
  • Several new routines were put in place including a structured process for teacher collaboration involving regular, data informed discussions about student progress, and targeted professional learning time
  • New protocols were also introduced for formative assessment, learning progressions and the use of data to track student progress

Impact

  • School leadership and teachers report a significant shift in the quality of teacher pedagogical understanding, as a consequence of the targeted professional learning to support Learning Sprints focus areas
  • They also reported a significant shift in the quality of professional dialogue, with the introduction of regular, data-informed discussions about student progress, and dedicated time for collective review and reflection on their practice
  • They observe that this has solidified the level of trust in teacher teams and created the safety needed to have open discussions about where they were not seeing progress in outcomes and needed additional support in their practice
  • Nine months into the process, teachers also observe an increase in student engagement in writing and there is some early evidence of improvement in Writing scores in nationalised standardised tests
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By focusing on professional learning to understand the basics of the different aspects of writing, the pedagogical knowledge of the teachers really grew through the Sprints process
Now we have the basis for conversation. You can identify when things are working and when they are not. It shifts the conversation to student outcomes, and what in turn shifts that
Even the conversations informally around the photocopier changed because the teachers understand the (writing) concepts better. We were teaching each other
It’s reinvigorated the more experienced staff because they’ve learned new things and its reignited their passion for teaching
Kids are talking about writing differently. They’re having meta-conversations about it, and these are kids who have never liked writing!