Learning gain ‘through the roof’ for Sydney Catholic schools

Sydney Catholic Schools’ commitment to meeting the needs of every student, and the development of a culture of continuous improvement, are clearly reflected in new My School data released today by the Australian Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA).

This data focuses on what is arguably the most powerful and authentic measure of learning achievement in schools: how much student learning gain there has been, as measured by the students’ achievements in NAPLAN from Year 3 to Year 5, or from Year 7 to Year 9. This data tells an incredible story for Sydney Catholic Schools.

Dr Michael Bezzina, Director of Teaching and Learning at Sydney Catholic Schools, said that he is delighted to see the focus on NAPLAN achievements shift away from raw scores that do not necessarily reflect how much learning has taken place over a period of time.

“The true test for a school is the extent to which it has enhanced the educational experience for its students by building a long-term culture of learning. This should happen regardless of the students’ inherent ability, their specific learning needs, their personal circumstances or socio-economic background,” Dr Bezzina said.

“SCS has around 5% of all the schools in NSW. It has 16% of the NSW high performing schools in the ACARA report. That is an achievement that we are very proud of and reflects the skill and hard work of our staff.”

For the schools that have been identified as achieving substantial learning gain, all have a great story to tell. At Trinity Catholic College Auburn, 93% of students come from a background where English is an additional language, rather than a first language.

“It is all about learning culture here,” said Principal John Robinson. “Our students are hungry to learn, and our teachers also see themselves as learners. When this happens, change happens.”

Philip Scollard, Principal of Holy Spirit Catholic College Lakemba, said his community is also celebrating this news.

“Giving students the opportunity to know more, to do more and to be more is what we are about here at Holy Spirit,” Mr Scollard said. “This is also something for our parent community to celebrate as they are also a critical part of their child’s learning journey.”

Br Nicholas Harsas, Principal of Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Primary School Fairfield, said that his school’s success is due to its high expectation of its students, as well as its teachers.

“High expectations, combined with the strong support of our parent community, allows us to achieve great things,” Br Nicholas said.

A list of the schools in the Archdiocese of Sydney acknowledged by ACARA for substantial learning gain in Literacy, Numeracy or in both is below:

Primary Schools

  • St Francis Xavier Catholic Primary School Lurnea
  • St Mary-St Joseph Catholic Primary School Maroubra Beach
  • Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Primary School Miranda
  • St Andrew’s Catholic Primary School Malabar
  • St Joachim’s Catholic Primary School Lidcombe
  • Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Primary School Fairfield
  • St Francis of Assisi Regional Catholic Primary School Paddington
  • St Therese Catholic Primary School Sadlier/Miller

Secondary Schools

  • Trinity Catholic College Auburn
  • LaSalle Catholic College Bankstown
  • Holy Spirit Catholic College Lakemba
  • All Saints Catholic Girls College Liverpool (now part of All Saints Catholic College Liverpool