The pursuit of excellence and empowering our students to shine have always been prominent in Woodford House culture. As part of this, we are committed to continually looking for ways to improve our school and the education we offer. In February we invited independent reviewer Lara Meyer, an evidence-based Educational Consultant to Woodford House, with the aim that her findings would assist in future planning and provide a focused approach to school-wide improvement.
The School Improvement Review assessed our school across nine domains of effective school practice including resources, data collection, teaching practices and school culture. The results highlighted a number of outstanding areas and the valuable feedback will be used to develop strategies to further enhance optimal student learning. Significant findings were:
The Senior Leadership Team has clear targets to improve student performances, with an effective focus on core learning priorities and a strong belief further improvement is possible. The Senior Leadership Team is eager to learn from research evidence, international experience and other schools that have achieved significant improvements.
“There is evidence of a school-wide commitment to every student’s success and staff of the school tell stories of significant student improvement”, Lara reports.
The School is implementing a plan for the collection, analysis and use of student achievement and wellbeing data, including test results in areas such as literacy, numeracy and science. Data is used throughout the School to identify gaps in student learning and to monitor improvement over time. Staff show a sophisticated understanding of student assessment and data concepts.
A culture that promotes learning
“The school ethos is built around high expectations and a commitment to excellence. There is an expectation that every student will learn and achieve positive outcomes,” Lara says.
There is a happy and optimistic feel to the School, no obvious behavioural problems, high rates of engagement and a strong sense of pride in the School. Interactions are focused on the learning and wellbeing of students, and continually improving the School’s ability to meet their needs.
Targeted use of school resources
The Principal and other school leaders have given a very high priority to understanding and addressing the learning needs of all students. This is shown by the use of systematic strategies to assess student needs and finding creative solutions.
An expert teaching team
The teaching staff are experts in their fields and, with school leaders, take responsibility for improving student learning and wellbeing. High priority is placed on professional development for staff.
Systematic curriculum delivery
The School’s curriculum delivery plan reflects a shared vision and addresses all learning areas. Key competencies are understood, valued and used as active learning streams for all students.
Differentiated teaching and learning
School leaders encourage teachers to tailor their teaching to student needs. This includes use of assessments to identify student progress and identify gaps.
Effective pedagogical practices
School leaders are committed to continuous improvement in teaching practices throughout the School and expect team leaders and teachers to identify ways of doing this. It’s clearly understood what students need to learn.
School community partnerships
The School has a range of current partnerships with families, local businesses and organisations, each planned to enhance student outcomes.
Creating a culture of excellence relies on a highly collaborative approach – working together towards the same goal. This review shows our investment of time, effort and expertise continues to ensure Woodford House drives towards this, as a leading school for girls. It has also provided us with opportunities to develop new strategies for supporting girls in their educational goals and growth as women. Woodford House is a school we can be proud of, and remains one where every student has the opportunity to excel.
Mrs Abby Beswick, Writer