St Patrick's is a Prep-Year 6 Catholic School. Class structures are based on enrolment numbers, therefore there are some straight year level classes and some multi-age classes, and the structures change from year to year. Teachers work collaboratively to plan learning experiences for our students which reflect the learning needs of each student. Research supports that, when working within diverse groups, students are known to achieve higher gains in the skills of communication, flexibility, leadership, collaboration, time management, and empathy. There are also social and emotional benefits, as the students learn how to collaborate, coach, mentor, and support their peers. The multi-age classroom provides children with opportunities for a wider range of relationships and social experiences and, therefore, promotes development of their social skills and cooperative behaviour. The varied levels of social and emotional development found among children of different ages means they can be both supported by, and supportive of, one another.
Planning for learning and teaching at St Patrick’s is a collaborative process including the Primary Learning Leader, Assistant Principal Religious Education and Support Teacher: Inclusive Education. All unit and cycle plans use St Patrick’s templates and are stored in the school’s portal. Teachers at St Patrick’s are expected to use differentiated teaching as a strategy for ensuring that every student is engaged and learning successfully. It is recognised throughout the school that some students are at different stages in their learning and may progress at different rates. All students are capable of learning successfully if motivated and given appropriate learning opportunities and necessary support. Differentiation is a priority of the school and a feature of every teacher’s practice ensuring high-achieving students are appropriately engaged, challenged and extended by designing classroom activities to meet students’ learning needs, levels of readiness, interests, aspirations and motivations.
St Patrick’s assesses student learning using the Australian Curriculum Achievement Standards. The Australian Curriculum Achievement Standards describe what students are typically able to understand and able to do. They describe expected achievement at each year level or band of years. Across Prep to Year 10, the set of achievement standards describe a broad sequence of learning.
Teachers use the QCAA documents:
• Principles of Quality Assessment
• Attributes of Quality Assessment
• Making Judgements
• Standards Elaborations
• Task-Specific Standards
These documents inform their assessment planning and decisions around making evidence-based judgements about student progress and achievement. Teachers aim to help students achieve the highest standards they can within their own capabilities and provide meaningful reports to parents/carers on students' achievements. Judgments about evidence of student learning are made against the Australian Curriculum Achievement Standards, which represents the C or equivalent at standard grade. The standards elaborations have been developed as a resource to support teachers to make these judgments against the Australian Curriculum. The sequence of achievement standards within each learning area emphasises the depth of conceptual understanding, the sophistication of skills and the ability to apply essential knowledge expected of students (Shape of the Australian Curriculum v5.0, June 2020, p64-65). Teachers use the Australian Curriculum Achievement Standards to align curriculum, pedagogy, assessment and reporting; and use moderation to ensure comparability and validity of reported results. Teachers plan, design and implement assessments to gather information and monitor student progress, inform teaching and learning, and report on student achievement of the Australian Curriculum Achievement Standards.
A Parent Information Night is held at the beginning of each new year. This evening provides information to parents about the learning and broader expectations for the new year level. At St Patrick’s we believe it is important to develop relationships between teachers, parents and students. At the end of Term one Parent Teacher Interviews are held and teachers report on the first term of learning, a student’s social connections, and is a time for teachers and parents to raise concerns, ask questions and identity strengths of the learner. A second parent teacher interview is offered in Semester two.
Student Report cards are written and issued to all students at the end of each semester and report on a 5 point scale. Student effort is also evaluated. The overall grades reported are a culmination of the broad range of assessment techniques employed by the teacher and not dependant on any single assessment piece. Parents are invited to make appointments with their child’s class teacher at a mutually appropriate time throughout the year.