This is a summary of the Annual Report for Brunswick East Primary School for 2016 and compares the results with the preceding two years. For the full report please go to Annual Report to Parents 2014, 2015, and 2016 on the BEPS website, under School Council tab. This report is usually given as a verbal report to parents late in term 2, however, this year, we decided to try and explain it through the blog and not just explain it to the few parents who are able to come to school to hear it. If you have any questions please comment on the blog site and I will answer for all to read.
The annual reports for 2014, 15 and 16, describe Brunswick East Primary School (BEPS) as a great school located about 6 kilometers north of the Melbourne Central Business District. In 2016 the maximum enrollment was 474 students, drawn from a medium to high socio-economic profile. At the core of the curriculum is a belief in experiential and deep learning in a respectful and reflective environment. Children at all levels learnt through inquiry, explicit teaching, active participation and philosophical discussion.
Last year BEPS had 28.2 equivalent full time teaching staff: 2 Principal class and 25.4 teachers, plus 2.6 Education Support Staff, located across 7 Learning Communities. BEPS has fantastic staff and all have a high level of commitment to: the students’ emotional development; academic growth; and professional learning, which revolves around current research, best practice and coaching. Staff Action Research leads to the practical application of our findings to improve teaching and learning at BEPS. There is a continued positive satisfaction in the school from the parents and staff who endorse the school climate.
When you look at the following graphs please remember that the diamond is the state average and the circle is BEPS’s average.
The Parent Satisfaction Summary is predominantly positive but has moved around over the last three years. It is hard to really make too much of these figures as the parents who fill in the survey are different each year. The parents are randomly selected through the school enrollment package and we don’t have a great track record of the survey being answered. Last year we sent out 46 surveys and got 34 back. I really don’t know if these parents are representative of the whole parent population.
What we do know is that our parent community is very supportive and our success depends on our strong partnership with parents, guardians and the community.
We inform and encourage all parents to engage with the school, to improve student’s learning, through our 3-way conferences, information forums and various activities throughout the year.
This survey shows that the staff at BEPS consistently endorse the school direction and feel part of a supportive team. We have high expectations of staff and students across all aspects of schooling and all are encouraged to be risk-takers and to learn from their ongoing attempts to solve problems and develop mastery skills.
At BEPS, we ensure ongoing improvement in all student’s learning through consistent approaches and improved data collection and analysis. In 2016, we continued to have a strong focus on numeracy and further improvement in our literacy program, particularly in the area of reading, through the leadership of our Literacy coordinators. Two literacy coordinators were appointed in 2006 to lead the school to improve the consistency and assessment of reading at BEPS. This resulted in the use of a more comprehensive assessment of the comprehension and inferencing of independent readers and a continued improvement in our assessment practices. BEPS teachers undertook an audit of the whole school curriculum and which then formed the basis of our 2016 assessment reports.
Our focus on reading resulted in a change to our reading assessment, so that students could be more accurately assessed for comprehension and their ability to infer, well beyond their ability to read fluently. This change in practice marked a significant change in assessment procedure for 2016 and greatly improved teacher ability to target learning in literacy. This assessment provided increased accuracy will continue in 2017.
In 2016, BEPS worked with the Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority (VCAA) to develop curriculum and trial assessment techniques that reflect the Ethics Capabilities outlined in the new curriculum. Through this, we were able to work with three other schools to prepare for the new curriculum in 2017 and build our creative and critical thinking curriculum.
This partnership meant that BEPS changed to the new Victorian Curriculum in 2016 ahead of its scheduled introduction in 2017, hence, it is difficult to compare 2016 with previous years when the Standards were that of AusVELs.
Irrespective of the standards assessed against, the teacher assessment and external testing show that students at BEPS receive a high quality education that empowers them to think and prepares them for meaningful and responsible involvement within a variety of communities. The data shows that our students are performing well and are achieving high academic results.
The NAPLAN growth charts for the students in 2016 revealed strong growth for most students at BEPS but our low growth figures for writing were of concern. As a result we had this data externally analyzed and found that students were able to write creatively, had excellent vocabulary and wrote to an audience but that some of the editorial skills of writing were low. As a result 2017 will see a focus on writing and those associated skills.
In 2016 we continued with coaching in data collection and analysis. Student data is used to inform our teaching and enable accurate feedback and evidence of student learning.
Reporting of student achievement during 2016 continued to be through the work of the Reporting Action Team and 3-way conferences.
The multi-age, flexible learning spaces for years 1 to 6 are designed to enable best practice that allows for, inquiry-based programs that engage students, encourage them to have high expectations and enable them to learn and to develop positive attitudes to themselves and their learning. Through our culture of inquiry and reflection and the core values of Empathy, Creativity, Friendship, Resilience and Wonder, children develop positive attitudes and acquire skills that equip them for their future.
A Digital Learning leading teacher was employed to oversee the improvement of digital technology use to enhance student learning. We worked with outside providers to supply a range of digital equipment for students and staff to use and provided professional learning for all staff. This was highly successful in developing student motivation, problem solving, creativity and the understanding of on-line safety and responsibility.
School connectedness indicates how students feel personally engaged with the school, their attendance and wellbeing. Attendance at BEPS is highly valued because we know that regular attendance is important for ongoing student improvement. We have high and similar rates of attendance as those of other like schools. We have continued to have high numbers of students attend regularly and consistently. The reasons for nonattendance are almost entirely illness, lateness and extended family holidays.
Our wellbeing data for 2016 improved from 2015 and is seen as similar to that of similar schools. This is really pleasing given the positive atmosphere and culture in the school.
A major initiative for 2016 was the focus on student safety. This was accomplished through the Junior School Council and Student Principal. The results show that our efforts resulted in a significant improvement for 2016 is that of student safety where in 2016 students reported a high level of safety at the school.
Students generally feel supported by their teachers in safe and stimulating learning environments.
Financial performance and position commentary
Brunswick East Primary School continues to be in a strong financial position with surplus funds because of strong fundraising and responsible spending. A staffing reserve continues to be in place to ensure that we are able to keep teacher – student ratios low and employ extra classroom assistants where necessary. Considerable funds are allocated in 2016 so that building work can take place in 2017. Money was spent in 2016 to improve the outside learning facilities and this will continue in 2017.