NSW Department of Education and Training
Leadership Fellowship 2007–2008
Leadership for effective change in
behaviour – early intervention
Kandeer Behaviour School
Stokers Siding Public School
New South Wales, Australia 2009
Leadership Fellowship 2007–2008
Leadership for effective change in behaviour – early
Executive Summary 3
1. Overview of the research study 4
2. Background information 4
3. Key research questions 6
4. Research methodology 6
5. Findings 7
6. Comments on implications of the findings 10
for the practice of leadership
7. Conclusions and recommendations 11
Leadership Fellowship 2007–2008 Report Margaret Eaton 2
The purposes of the research were to explore and analyse strategies we can use as leaders to
effectively manage behaviour in our schools. The research investigated how leaders in a wide
variety of school settings manage their schools to appropriately cater for students with
extremely challenging behaviours.
The research was conducted in schools of outstanding practice in a variety of different
settings in two states or territories in Australia. Principals, teachers, parents, school
counsellors, psychologists and therapists were interviewed at these settings. The evidence was
collected and sorted through observation, diary entries, film footage and interviews. (See plan
In the school context, students with extremely challenging behaviours have the right to be
enrolled in all government schools partly because of the continued move to inclusive settings
for the majority of students with special needs. Students on the Autistic Spectrum can, in
many cases, create challenges for the classroom teacher that can have huge implications for
themselves, other students and teaching staff. The Principal plays a critical role in
determining how the whole school can meet the needs of all students. Staff and students need
expert support when dealing with students with extremely challenging behaviours. This needs
to be driven by the Principal with the support of multi-disciplinary teams. When the
appropriate support is set in place for students and staff then the management processes are
shared and supported by many which allows for more positive outcomes for all students.
Quality teaching practices played an integral part in the studied schools contributing to the
positive behavioural outcomes for all students. The key research questions reflect the Quality
Teaching document - The Nine Characteristics of High Performing Schools.
These characteristics are:
clear and shared focus.
high standards and expectations.
high levels of collaboration and communication.
supportive learning environment
high levels of community and parent involvement
focused professional development
effective school leadership
curriculum, instruction and assessment aligned with standards
frequent monitoring of teaching and learning.
At the systems level, the schools visited had systems set in place to manage students with
extremely challenging behaviours. There was a whole school approach to behaviour
management and student welfare. The leaders in these settings recognised the need for a clear
and shared focus and for everyone to be on the “same page”.
Leadership Fellowship 2007–2008 Report Margaret Eaton 3
1. Overview of the research study
Behaviour in schools has become of great concern and a matter of challenge to Principals,
teachers and whole school communities. Recent tragedies where students have brought
weapons into schools with tragic results have brought behaviour to the forefront of the media
and public interest. This research through shared knowledge, draw out issues that impact on
behaviour and study whole school policies and practices. Worldwide research supports that
childhood behaviour problems can present themselves at an early age therefore early
identification can lead to early intervention for students with extremely challenging
behaviours. In “Early Intervention in Conduct Problems in Children,” (2000) Sanders states:
“Childhood conduct problems typically have their first presentation during the preschool
years; early identification and intervention is a critical issue in their management.”
The research project focused on how leaders in high performing schools in varied school
models have utilised methodology based on early intervention practices and strong
leadership, to improve learning outcomes for students with behaviour issues. Interview
questions were based on the “Nine Characteristics of High Performing Schools”, (See
appendices 1& 2)
2. Background information
The schools researched in the North Coast region of NSW were identified as high performing
schools by the Senior Education Director. In the Northern Territory they were identified by
the General Manager Schools as schools that were making positive changes with behaviour
management. Redbank School was chosen because it had strong links with the Health
Department and were trialling an early intervention class. These schools were all making
progress in behaviour management and had excellent leadership. Schools were chosen in very
different settings to add diversity to the findings.
Murwillumbah South Infants School – A small, dynamic rural school for students
Kindergarten-Year 2 with a long history of strong community support. Student welfare
encompasses everything the school community does to meet the needs of their students and to
enhance their happiness and safety. The Student Welfare policy, procedures and programs of
the school stress the value of prevention through early intervention.
Redbank School – The school is situated in Westmead, New South Wales and consists of
eight classes. It is a joint Department of Health and Department of Education and Training
facility for the treatment of children and adolescents (pre-school to Year 12) with emotional,
psychiatric and/or behavioural difficulties. The school staff worked closely with clinical and
nursing staff to implement academic, social and behavioural plans to support students.
Programs are short term and students are supported in the return to their home school. The
school recognised the value of early intervention and in 2007 they started an Early
The class is to help early learners experiencing behavioural difficulties to develop skills and
strategies that will enhance their social capacity, and, therefore, their learning in future years.
Their parents are also supported.
Leadership Fellowship 2007–2008 Report Margaret Eaton 4
Clyde Fenton School – A medium size school of 312 students located in Katherine North,
Northern Territory. Approximately 58 per cent of students are indigenous with some students
living in outer communities. Building indigenous teacher and tutor numbers is a priority for
the school. The school implements the Tribes program which has an approach that encourages
schools, families and communities to create healthy environments in which children can grow
and learn. A mobile pre-school operates on a daily basis at Binjari and Rockhole
communities. Special features and programs include: Performing Arts, and Automaticity of
Literacy and Numeracy.
Lajamanu Community Education Centre (CEC) – The school is located on the edge of the
Tanami Desert 580 kilometres south-west of Katherine, Northern Territory. Lajamanu is a
two-way bi-lingual school where Warpiri language and culture are predominant. The school
has a population of approximately 224 students with an average of 56 per cent attendance
owing to the transient nature of the community. The school provides child care and pre-
school to prepare students for school at an early age. It has Early Childhood, Primary,
Middle/High school classes. Many of the Walpiri people work in the school and parent
participation is encouraged in all aspects of school life.
Pottsville Beach Public School – The school has an enrolment of 500 and serves a growing
community competing with a number of local private schools for enrolments. It offers a well
balanced, holistic curriculum with a wide range of academic, sporting, creative, and
performance experiences. The school community is committed to the full development of the
unique qualities, abilities and talents of all students. They ensure ongoing commitment to the
New South Wales Quality Teaching and Learning model across the school.
I visited each school for between two to four days. I spent my first day observing and meeting
the school community. I visited classrooms to get a feel of the school and I spoke with many
of the staff. I interviewed three or four people individually at each school for approximately
half an hour. These were: The Principal, a teacher and a parent or community member and in
one school, the psychologist. I spent extra days in the indigenous communities giving the
community more time to get to know and trust me. I gathered a multitude of data through
interviews and observations. I also brought back some excellent classroom programs and
leadership ideas. It was a privilege to work with such committed leaders in their great schools.
The schools visited had common threads that linked effective school leadership to supportive,
positive learning environments.
3. The key research questions used
Key focus question:
How does effective leadership enable early intervention to take place leading to
improved learning environments for students facing difficulties that impact on their
Leadership Fellowship 2007–2008 Report Margaret Eaton 5
Other focus questions:
What can inter-agencies do to support the students with emotional / behaviour
disorders, their schools and families?
What are some of the universal common proactive approaches to successful behaviour
4. Research methodology
For the purpose of the research, I conducted a basic qualitative research study approach to
bring about deeper/richer understandings based on questions around particular educational
values. I hoped that these deeper understandings would lead to positive change both in my
own leadership and also in that of others. Common patterns were sought in a variety of
settings where leaders are making a difference in the area of positive behaviour learning
environments. Close study at a small number of cases are claimed to be effective in keeping a
study clear and precise: (McNiff, Lomax and Whitehead, 1996).
Prior to the school visits, I attended two conferences 2008: Shaping the Future, the North
Coast Primary Principal Association Conference and Challenging Challenging Behaviours,
the Redbank School Conference. I was inspired by key note speakers such as Kathy Lacy,
Celia Lashlie, Professor Tony Attwood and Professor Frank Crowther. Attendance at these
conferences increased my knowledge on leadership and reinforced to me that great leaders are
imperative to effective change in extreme behaviours in our schools. Principals lead teachers
to provide quality teaching and learning for all students.
At the Leadership Conference Shaping the Future, the key note speakers supported the theory
that behaviour management is a subset of a school wide pedagogy culture. They suggest that
behaviour management shouldn’t be separated from teaching and learning practices. Speakers
spoke of our rapidly changing society and the need for leaders to keep abreast of these
changes. Professor Crowther believes that in the next decade we will see one of the most
rebellious generations of teenagers we’ve ever seen. With this in mind, strong and effective
leadership will be of paramount importance for the successful management of young students
who demonstrate extremely challenging behaviours. Professor Crowther stated
“In schools it is important to improve teacher morale, community perceptions and student
ethics. The world and kids have changed but you can keep ahead of it. Don’t be afraid of it. A
good school is in tune.”
Emphasis was also placed on principal well-being and the importance of principals looking
after themselves in order to successfully fulfil the requirements of such a demanding and
challenging professional role.
All of the following findings are reported against my key focus question:
Leadership Fellowship 2007–2008 Report Margaret Eaton 6
How does effective leadership enable early intervention to take place to bring about
improved learning environments for students facing difficulties that impact on their
Quality teaching practices were evident in all of the schools researched.
5.1 Clear and shared focus
It was very evident that each school had a clear and shared focus. One principal said that at
her school it is essential that everyone is ‘on the same page’ and have a shared vision. Whole
school and community consistency gave the students with extremely challenging behaviours
the message that everyone is working towards the same positive outcomes and the
expectations are set by all parties. The parent/carers were given clear guidelines about the
schools welfare policies and procedures and kept well informed, disseminated through
workshops, informative brochures, definitions of welfare systems and the active involvement
of parents/carers in a variety of ways within the school.
In all settings there was an emphasis on early intervention. This was achieved in a variety of
ways. The Play to Learn Program bringing more play into the early years was implemented
in the indigenous community school and a crèche was also set up in the school so that
children could be observed at an early age with early intervention and clinical support given
when required. Schools had close contact between the local pre-school and the school with
teacher visits for observation of students with special needs. At the hospital school the value
of early intervention was recognised and an Early Intervention (EI) Class was established in
2007. The 4 year old students were already demonstrating extremely challenging behaviours
5.2 Standards and expectations
The schools had differing standards; however the common thread was that they all had high
expectations. All of the visited schools expected students’ to behave appropriately in the
classroom and playground. Teachers were being proactive in the playground providing some
structured play. In the indigenous community school elders were employed each morning to
ensure students attend school, assist with the breakfast program and to sit under a tree with
the students to share their dreaming in their skin groups. This set the school up for a positive
and healthy start to the day.
Welfare programs were linked closely to Values programs and students were taught explicitly
the core set of rules, expressed clearly and concisely and made easy to follow. The students
were given fair and reasonable instructions and all staff followed through on expectations.
There were clear consequences known and shared by all and an effort was made to keep
consistency between home and school. Positive awards programs were implemented in
classrooms and the playground. Students were taught to be responsible for their own
behaviour from an early age and highly skilled teachers and teacher aides provided support in
the early childhood classrooms. One of the Principals said
“Always try to catch them being good and acknowledge that.”
“Success breeds success.”
Any students who were not going to meet Region’s expectation for positive behaviour for the
learning, was targeted early and support provided. Schools promoted the importance of
Leadership Fellowship 2007–2008 Report Margaret Eaton 7
education to the wider community and sought parent / community support with standards and
Principal/teachers endeavoured to resolve all conflict on the ground before student went
5.3 High levels of collaboration and communication
The importance of collaboration and communication for whole school behaviour management
cannot be overstated. All of the schools I visited were outstanding in this area. Some of the
ways that they achieved this were by providing informative newsletters with parenting tips
and student work samples, regular surveys and workshops for parents, after which feedback
was sought. Parent communication was very regular and at point of need, with parents kept
well informed about issues. The schools welfare policies and procedures were transparent.
The principal, teachers and community strongly supported each other. Communication with
and support from Parents’ and Citizens’ Associations at each school empowered the parent
bodies, which were active in all schools. The community was involved in school decisions.
The teachers regularly discussed issues and the need for consistency between home and
school. Teachers recognised the need for best practice and continued professional learning.
These discussions and further training of whole staff were an essential part of regular staff
meetings. The regional support personnel were accessed and the Principal and teachers liaised
regularly with appropriate support networks. Multi disciplinary teams used productive
brainstorming involving the community to identify the expected outcomes for students with
extremely challenging behaviours and appropriate resources were set in place. Use of
Community Liaison Officer – Background information very important.
5.4 Supportive learning environment
The schools made this a high priority and devoted global funding and teacher training to
support positive learning environments in their school plans. The schools provided additional
funding for resources in early childhood. In one school every Kindergarten class had at least
one teacher aide because the whole school recognised the need for additional support in the
early years. These schools accessed regional and community support to assist the early
The learning environments had appropriate support for students with extremely challenging
behaviours and provided goals that were achievable. The availability of computers was
important to supporting the programs. Every effort was made to ensure a great start to school
for all students. Classes were carefully chosen for new enrolments. Support was set in place
for students with extremely challenging behaviours prior to admission. Teachers were well
trained to support these students and whole class behavioural reward systems were set in
The teachers had well planned programs and these were modified to suit the individual needs
of each student. The teachers sought to gain knowledge of the child to make sure that they
could connect with them and gave the students clear expectations which were achievable.
The Principal gave the teachers the support that they needed by seeking parent involvement in
the early years and by offering parent workshops. Principals also supported staff by ensuring
a smaller student: teacher ratio in early childhood classes and by making sure that children in
these classes had their breaks and ate with supervision to ensure appropriate eating habits,
good nutrition and appropriate play break behaviour. There was a strong focus on Quality
Leadership Fellowship 2007–2008 Report Margaret Eaton 8
Teaching throughout the school with teachers supporting each other and some participating in
lesson studies. One principal said that
“if students are not learning the way you teach then you need to teach the way they learn.”
A supportive learning environment can have a significant bearing on the number of
behavioural issues arising within a school environment. The school leader is the key person to
ensure that their school promotes and provides supportive learning environments.
5.5 High levels of community and parent involvement
Community and parent involvement was a key feature of the schools visited. The Principal
and staff recognised the value of community involvement. Parent/carers felt important to the
school community. Regular review meetings for students with special education needs took
place with the involvement of parent and inter-agency as equal stakeholders. Open days took
place at least once a term and the schools celebrated successes. In the indigenous setting in
which challenging behaviours were ongoing, the elders programs and the employment of
local community members as teachers and teacher aides assisted the whole school community
to work in positive ways with students exhibiting challenging behaviours. Health Expos and
open day were held once a term.
6. Comments on implications of the findings for the practice of
School leaders plays an integral role in the ways schools work together with their
communities to provide safe and positive, stimulating teaching and learning environments for
all students. The schools I visited each took time to incorporate positive behaviour programs
into their school plans with the purpose of managing extremely challenging behaviours as a
whole school. The programs, and the change they demanded were not always readily accepted
by the school community including the teaching staff; however, good leaders will manage
change positively believing that
“if you always do what you have always done then you will always get what you have always
The common factors which were evident to me from my school visits, my readings, the
conferences I attended and my interviews were:
School leaders recognised the need to have a strong focus on the early years and ensured that
programs were in place for students with extremely challenging behaviours before they were
admitted. The Kindergarten teachers visited these students during pre-school to prepare for
their entry into school. Significant school resources, both human and material, were allocated
for the early years. In most of the schools the kindergarten classes had at least one teacher
aide and, in some cases, two or more. The support given to the teachers and students was well
All of the schools had outstanding community involvement. The principal and staff
welcomed and encouraged parents and community members into the school. The schools
utilised the expertise of parents and community members. The principals were committed to
Leadership Fellowship 2007–2008 Report Margaret Eaton 9
raising their school profile to the wider community and the school communities had a shared
vision. One parent stated
“It doesn’t matter who you approach with a problem, the principal or any of the teachers,
they will take the time to listen.”
In one indigenous community the elders played an integral role in the school every day. The
male elders were hired to pick up the students from home which often meant waking them up
to come to school and the female elders helped with breakfast and telling dreamtime stories to
The schools were practising positive behaviour for learning although they were not all
positive behaviour for learning schools. Many schools in NSW and in other States and
Territories are being trained in a whole school positive behaviour approach to working with
students with behaviour needs. Many of these schools have found the program to be
successful. The management of behavioural issues in the school are the responsibility of the
whole school community. The change process takes time and all staff and students are
involved. All of the schools visited had positive behaviour awards for good behaviour and
celebrated success. The leaders recognised the need for a supportive and stimulating learning
They had high expectations for all students and the message given was clear and concise. The
schools practised Quality Teaching and higher order thinking encouraging every student to do
All staff were encouraged and provided with the funding support to partake in professional
learning and to share their expertise with others.
Inter-agency support was essential in all of the settings. All of the schools had support from
regional personnel and other community links such as the Department of Community
Services. One school worked in partnership with the health department, nurses, social
workers, clinical psychologists and psychiatrists. The team worked collaboratively with the
school and the families. In one of the indigenous communities the school held a health expo
and open day once a term where nurses from the local clinic come to test hearing and give
talks on health issues related to the community. The elders taught bush medicine and the
school band played rock music. A fun day was had by all, young and old. Principals are the
key instigators in liaising with multi-disciplinary teams and providing excellent home-school-
Although some of the schools that I visited were in unique settings, I believe that we can find
some of the universal common proactive approaches to behaviour that will work in any
7. Conclusions and recommendations
In conclusion, I set out on this project with some pre-conceived ideas based on past
experiences with regard to managing students with extremely challenging behaviours
However, I was prepared to conduct my research keeping an open mind and hoping to find
some new and innovative ideas to add to my prior knowledge and perhaps shift my own
Leadership Fellowship 2007–2008 Report Margaret Eaton 10
thinking along the way. What I discovered was that great leaders have supportive learning
environments for all students. Many challenges do get in the way; however, small steps will
allow for positive changes to take place so that the needs of all students can and will be met.
I have often looked at behaviour as a separate entity believing that we need to adjust our
schools and classes to cater for the individual needs of these highly troubled students. But
what I discovered was that excellent leaders in high performing schools have very few serious
behavioural issues in their schools. I believe this is because great leaders understand that a
shared school vision and a strong commitment to community involvement in the school, along
with Quality Teaching and a collaborative team approach are just a start in the whole school
community approach to catering for the needs of all students in the school.
The following recommendations are made from the research study
1. That State, regional and principal council organisations promote awareness of Positive
Behaviour for Learning strategies and the importance of the roles of principals and other
school leaders in ensuring the success of the implementation of these in their schools.
2. That the Department of Education and Training provide consistent and significant support
to principals and other school leaders in providing appropriate resources to schools so that
they can continue to establish positive teaching and learning environments.
3. That principals and aspiring school leaders
◦ ensure that their schools have shared vision – This was very evident in all of the
schools I went to. The School Leadership Capability Framework state in the
Strategic Domain: “Building school vision and culture – School leaders lead the
school community to develop, articulate and commit to a shared educational vision
focused on quality teaching and learning.” I cannot over state just how important it
is for everyone involved in the school to share a common vision.
◦ develop productive relationships/inspiring others – In the Interpersonal Domain
the School Leadership Capability Framework states that: “School leaders develop
and sustain productive relationships within and beyond the school community. Also
that school leaders inspire, motivate and celebrate achievement.” Many of the
schools I visited didn’t distinguish between the school and the community, but
rather thought of it as one – the school community. The leaders communicated
effectively, encouraging parents/carers and community members to be part of the
school community. By seeing a strong community involvement in action at most of
the schools, I realised the importance of this in the big picture of things when we
are looking at behaviour issues in schools. Support from the whole school
community is essential.
◦ recognise the need for early intervention – This is an essential component when
managing potential behaviour issues that present early. All of the schools that I
visited had strong links to pre-schools and they targeted students with extremely
challenging behaviours before they started school. Appropriate resources were set
in place before the student was admitted wherever possible. They also allocated
Leadership Fellowship 2007–2008 Report Margaret Eaton 11
more human resources to the early years of schooling recognising the need for
targeting these students in smaller than average groups to cater for their special
needs and to establish high expectations at an early age.
◦ provide a supportive environment – The Nine Characteristics of Highly Effective
Schools suggests that every school needs an environment where the school has a safe
and intellectually stimulating learning environment and the students feel respected
and connected with the staff, and are engaged in learning.
◦ ensure that additional support is available in the early years – Classes need to be
carefully chosen for new enrolments with teachers having prior knowledge of the
students wherever possible. Teachers need to make sure that they connect with their
◦ identify sources of support for students with extremely challenging behaviours, such
as: regional personnel, external agencies, Departmental funding support, executive
staff, health services and so on – It is important to make sure children in early
childhood have lesson breaks and eat with teacher supervision. A whole class
behavioural reward system based on whole school student welfare policies works
well and students don’t feel that they are being treated differently. Teaching
programs need to be achievable for all students with recognition given for effort.
Appropriate teacher training should be available to support the implementation of
◦ explore the Positive Behaviour for Learning approach – School leaders should
become well informed with PBL. Some of the schools I visited work on the Positive
Behaviour for Learning approach or positive behaviour intervention and support
model. This latter model defines workable and commonsense practices and all
leaders would benefit from seeking information about this model. This model
recognises the need for strong community involvement in the school. Regional
personnel can provide more information about PBL.
◦ read The Nine characteristics of high performing schools – This publication is
ideal for leaders to rate their own leadership performance. All of the schools that I
researched showed evidence of the nine characteristics. Nearly all of these schools
could manage students with extremely challenging behaviours at the school level.
There was a very close link with high performing schools and positive behaviour for
learning. (Appendix 1)
In closing, my focus question: How does effective leadership enable early intervention to
take place to bring about improved learning environments for students facing
difficulties that impact on their behaviour?
I believe the answer to the question is in the question itself. effective leadership is the
answer. How do we become effective leaders and meet all of the challenges that we encounter
daily with extremely challenging behaviours emerging more and more in students at an early
age? As leaders we must strive for excellence in our own performance and in the performance
of those we lead. We have unlimited resources to guide us in our leadership development such
as: The Leadership Capability Framework, The Quality Teaching in New South Wales Public
Schools documents, our regional structures, our colleagues, principal training days and many
Leadership Fellowship 2007–2008 Report Margaret Eaton 12
more. Great behavioural management strategies are only small helpful tools. You are the
guiding force in building a whole school supportive community with a shared vision to
establish a high performing school with positive behaviour for learning. Remember,
principals perform miracles every day and anything your mind can believe and conceive –
it will achieve.
This work was produced by Margaret Eaton, a recipient of a Leadership
Fellowship2007/2008, awarded by the NSW Minister for Education and Training.
I wish to acknowledge the following friends, colleagues and/or family members who gave me
guidance, patience, understanding or positive critical feedback.
My husband Alan, daughter Nicky and son Clint.
Helen for proof reading my report.
My staff at my two most recent schools: Stokers Siding and Kandeer School for Specific
Professor Frank Crowther (Dean of Education, Uni. Of Sthn Qld – specialist in
Educational Leadership. I interviewed Professor Crowther at the “Shaping the Future”
conference for North Coast Primary Principals and he pointed me in the right direction
with my upcoming research.
The principals, staff, psychologists and community representatives who assisted me in my
research at the following schools:
Murwillumbah Infants School, New South Wales – Principal Helen Atkins
Redbank Special School, New South Wales – Principal Ian Luscombe
Clyde Fenton Primary School, Northern Territory – Deputy Principal Tanya Lambert
Lajamanu Community School, Northern Territory – Nicky Fammartino
Pottsville Beach Public School, New South Wales – Principal Deb McKinnon
I would also like to acknowledge the Minister for Education and Training for the Leadership
Leadership Fellowship 2007–2008 Report Margaret Eaton 13
Barker, B.O. The Advantages of Small Schools. Educational Resource Information Centre
(U.S. Department of Education. Article: 2008
Bernard, M E Ph.D. The You Can Do It! Education Early Childhood Program: A Guide for
Working with Parents, ASG’s Education Programs 2004.
A Social – Emotional Learning Curriculum.
Cowling, V., Costin, J., Davidson-Tuck, R., Esler, J., Chapman, A. & Niessen, J. (2005).
Responding to disruptive behaviour in schools: Collaboration and capacity building for early
intervention. Australian e-Journal for the Advancement of Mental Health 4(3)
Dinham, S and Scott, C (Editors). Teaching in Context. ACER, 2000
Duignan, P. and Gurr, David. (2007), Leading Australia’s Schools, Australian Council for
Educational Leaders, Winmalee, NSW.
Fisher,R Prevention and early intervention for children and families. Director General,
Department of Family and Children’s Services (WA).Paper presented at the conference:
Children, Young People and Their Communities: The Future is in our Hands, held 27-28
March 2001 at Launceston Tramsheds Complex, Launceston, Tasmania.This paper was
downloaded from: http://www.aic.gov.au/conferences/cypc/
Hughes, J and Brock, P. (2008), Reform and Resistance in NSW Public Education. Six
Attempt at Major Reform, 1905-1995. Department of Education and Training NSW.
Merriam, S and Associates, (2002), Qualitative Research in Practice, Jossey-Bass, San
Roffey,S Whole Child Teacher’s Resource Book Lower Primary, Rigby 2008.
The Whole Child series provides teachers with the materials to explicitly teach the necessary
skills required for social and emotional wellbeing. It is aligned with the National Framework
for Values in Australian Schooling.
Sanders, M.R., Gooley, S. & Nicholson, J. (2000), Early intervention in conduct problems in
children.Vol. 3 in R. Kosky, A. O’Hanlon, G. Martin & C. Davis (Series Eds.), Clinical
approaches to early intervention in child and adolescent mental health. Adelaide: The
Australian Early Intervention Network for Mental Health in Young People.
Scott, G (Professor) Original 2004 Change Matters: making a difference in education Paper
presented at Online conference School Leadership Development Unit 2005
Wilson, J. and Wing Jan, L. (2008), Smart Thinking. Developing reflection and
metacognition, Primary English Association, Curriculum Corporation, Melbourne.
Leadership Fellowship 2007–2008 Report Margaret Eaton 14
Nine Characteristics of High Performing Schools – from Quality Teaching workshop in Coffs
Harbour on the North Coast in 2008.
Research has shown that there is no silver bullet – no single thing that schools can do to
ensure high student performance. Rather, high performing schools tend to show evidence of
the following nine characteristics:
1. Clear and Shared Focus - Everybody knows where they are going and why. The
vision is shared – everybody is involved and all understand their role in achieving the vision.
The vision is developed from common beliefs and values, creating a consistent focus.
2. High Standards and Expectations - Teachers and staff believe that all students can
learn and that they can teach all students. There is recognition of barriers for some students to
overcome, but barriers are not insurmountable. Students become engaged in an ambitious and
rigorous course of study.
3. Effective School Leadership - Effective leadership is required to implement
change processes within the school. This leadership takes many forms. Principles often play
this role but so do teachers and other staff, including those in the regional team. Effective
leaders advocate, nurture and sustain a school culture and instructional program conducive to
student learning and staff professional growth.
4. High Levels of Collaboration and Communication - There is constant collaboration
and communication between and among teachers of all stages. Everybody is involved and
connected, including parents and members of the community, to solve problems and create
5. Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Aligned with Standards -
Curriculum is aligned with the syllabus materials and teaching and learning strategies are
implemented. There is a clear understanding of the assessment system, what is measured in
various assessments and how it is measured.
6. Frequent Monitoring of Teaching and Learning - Teaching and Learning are
continually adjusted based on frequent monitoring of student progress and needs. A variety of
assessment procedures are used. The results of the assessment are used to improve student
performances and also to improve the instructional program.
7. Focused Professional Development - Professional development for all
educators is aligned with the schools and region’s common focus, objectives and high
expectations. It is ongoing and based on high need areas.
8 Supportive Learning Environment - The school has a safe and intellectually
stimulating learning environment. Students feel respected and connected with the staff, and
are engaged in learning. Instruction is personalised and learning environments increase
student contact with teachers.
9 High Levels of Community and Parent Involvement - There is a sense
that the broader educational community has a responsibility to educate students, not just the
teachers and staff in schools. Parents, as well as businesses, social service agencies, and
community/universities all play a vital role in this effort.
Leadership Fellowship 2007–2008 Report Margaret Eaton 15
The same interview questions were asked at each school to the Principal, a teacher and at least
one parent / community member or school counsellor or psychologist.
Interview Questions: These questions all relate to high engagement – low behaviour.
1. Clear and Shared Focus.
What systems does your school have set in place to create a clear and shared focus for
successful engagement in early years of schooling?
2. Standards and Expectations.
What standards and expectations do you have for students in their early years of schooling
to promote high engagement – low negative behaviour?
3. High levels of Collaboration and Communication.
How does communication between principal, teachers, parents and members of the
community effectively enable you to solve problems and create solutions for students who
require additional behavioural support?
4. Supportive Learning Environment
When a school has a safe and intellectually stimulating learning environment, students
feel respected and connected with the staff and are engaged in learning. Quote: Nine
characteristics of High Performing Schools – QT Workshop, Coffs Harbour term 2, 2008.
Can you explain to me what aspects of your school support early years of schooling by
maintaining a supportive learning environment?
5. High Levels of Community and Parent Involvement
In what ways is the broader educational community involved in educating students in their
early years of school.
Leadership Fellowship 2007–2008 Report Margaret Eaton 16
Appendix 3 PLAN
Key Focus Question:
How does effective
leadership enable early
intervention to take
place to bring about
2007- improved learning
NSW environments for
Schools students facing
difficulties that impact
on their behaviour?
“LEADERSHIP FOR Helen Atkins
IN BEHAVIOUR – Public School
EARLY P3 Other focus questions:
INTERVENTION” Principal: What can inter-agencies do
Research Project: Margaret Deb McKinnon to support the families of
Eaton students with emotional /
School What are some of the
Principal: universal common proactive
Ian Luscombe approaches to behaviour?
Lajamanu Erwin Bates
Clyde Fenton CEC Principal Liaison
Primary School Principal: Officer
Principal: Nicole Ex Principal
Bryan Hughes Fammartino Lismore South
DP: Public School –
Tanya Lambert if time permits
Leadership Fellowship 2007–2008 Report Margaret Eaton 17