STRONG SUPPORT: (From left) South Grafton Public School instructional leader Melissa Berry, Curriculum leader Years 3-6 Janelle Buckley, K-2 Rachel Clapham with students Callum Dalton, Isabelle Campbell, Noah Backwell-Geerin and Kayc Gilchrist get into some maths work.
STRONG SUPPORT: (From left) South Grafton Public School instructional leader Melissa Berry, Curriculum leader Years 3-6 Janelle Buckley, K-2 Rachel Clapham with students Callum Dalton, Isabelle Campbell, Noah Backwell-Geerin and Kayc Gilchrist get into some maths work. Adam Hourigan

NAPLAN 2017: South Grafton Public reaping positive rewards

SOUTH Grafton Public School was one of 39 schools across the 2000 in NSW to be recognised by the State Government, achieving high gains in literacy and numeracy skills from NAPLAN results from Year 3-5.

But that doesn't come as a surprise to principal Peter Hickey.

"It's a great achievement, and reflects on what we do here, but I've always told everyone that our kids are as talented as anyone," he said.

"From our end, we have a high expectation on quality teaching across K-6. We work towards every teacher contributing in a positive manner to what's going on across the school."

The school's average score from children who had taken the NAPLAN test in both Year 3 and 5 rose 118 points in reading, and 101 points in numeracy, well above the national average rise of 73 and 67 respectively.

"We've put a lot of the Gonski equity money in supplying extra resources, extra teaching support to guide the plans we're putting in place," Mr Hickey said.

"That's coming to fruition right at the moment and we're really happy... having this group of professional people behind the scenes guiding the school."

Curriculum leader Janelle Buckley said in reading, the use of quality texts was contributing towards student involvement in reading improvement.

"We're using quality picture books, novels and visual texts and we focus on that from K-6," she said.

"Every day we do that the kids are more interested, and we can have higher orders of discussion, which the kids buy into and increase their understanding to a higher level."

In mathematics, it was again a focus on discussion and problem-solving in the classroom that was showing improved results.

"There are more open ended tasks, problem solving activity and the discussion, it's not always just about the right answer," she said.

"There is a lot more discussion, there's a lot less teacher talk out the front, it's more small group discussion and having a chance to talk together, and you also have the technology that supports the numeracy and literacy."

"It's very engaging for them."

And it is these strategies, and not a specific focus on the NAPLAN test, that has led to not just an increase in results, but better outcomes across the school.

"In years gone by, we didn't teach to the test, but we probably did more specific work towards it," Ms Buckley said.

"Now Peter doesn't push that, it's about our quality teaching which is getting our kids to grow and learn, so when it comes to the test it follows on."



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