> Commitment II

Whole of site commitment II

Leader story

Rosemary Wilkinson and Ian Filer
Christies Beach Primary
Noarlunga Cluster

Christies Beach Primary School is a category 2 school of 370 students of which 10% are Aboriginal students. There are 17 classes and one special class.

The school joined the Make It Count Project as part of the Noarlunga Cluster towards the end of 2009. At this time there were two middle primary teachers from the school involved in developing a highly scaffolded approach to learning using Di Seimon’s Big Ideas in Number as the content. All teachers on site had been recently trained in Big Ideas in Number and the school had already adopted the diagnostic testing tool. The whole school was experienced with using the Accelerated Literacy program so a scaffolded approach to learning was not completely new to them.

The first two years were spent on pedagogy and developmental lesson sequences from Big Ideas in Number that we aligned to the National Curriculum number strand. The lesson sequences were continually trialled and refined. Lessons were videoed and carefully scrutinized to see what was working and check that the sequence was being followed.

After only six months of using the scaffolded pedagogy the two teachers involved noticed a difference in student engagement, especially the Aboriginal students. All the students were becoming more confident and showing an increased mathematical knowledge. The teachers also felt that they themselves had deepened their curriculum knowledge and sequencing of concepts needed for students to be successful.

In 2011, the use of scaffolded pedagogy in mathematics was introduced to other teachers in the school to trial. Another class teacher joined the project and these teachers made themselves available for modelling lessons and shoulder to shoulder teaching. All the teachers who trialed the lessons found the pedagogy easy to apply. By the middle of the year it was an expectation that all teachers would adopt the scaffolding and Big Ideas in Number sequence. All teachers were observed several times by the coordinator and given professional feedback.

All new staff were trained in Big Ideas in Number soon after they arrived and were familiar with the scaffolded pedagogy through Accelerated literacy training.

We have used PATMaths testing for the past two years and NAPLAN results as data, along with our student attitudinal surveys. Our data has not shown dramatic changes yet but we hope to see improvements in future tests.

The program has proved to be successful with these significant changes being evident:

  • deeper teacher curriculum knowledge
  •  engaged students particularly our Aboriginal students
  •  students showing a better understanding of concepts
  • student ability to articulate their mathematical thinking
  • students taking more risks, challenging themselves
  • students teaching students
  • students sharing their schoolwork at home and involving their families
  • teachers planning and working collaboratively
  • valuable peer observations and feedback have provided many learning opportunities for teachers
    strong links between SA Teaching for Effective Learning (TfEL) and scaffolded learning have encouraged teachers to reflect on their practice.

This year the whole school has been expected to use the scaffolded approach as the pedagogy with a focus on number. We are currently writing this into our Numeracy Curriculum document and it will become a Numeracy Agreement to ensure that the program continues and is sustainable.


This inspiring story connects to:


Finding 6.8: Research
Develop pedagogy through site-based, whole-school, collegial, data-driven professional learning that builds on a strong established research base. For teachers, lesson observation and feedback is at the heart of sharing professional knowledge.


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Whole of site commitment 2

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