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									                     School Review Report

                               Prepared for
                       Thornbury High School
                 Northern Metropolitan Region
            School System Development Division
                     - Department of Education -

                                  2007



   School Number                      8797
   Principal                          Peter Egeberg
   School Council President           Linda McCloskey
   Type of Review                     Continuous Improvement
   School Reviewer                    Peter Fotheringham
   Date of Review Meeting at school   24 June 2007

                        DRAFT REPORT
    Date of this Report (final version) July 2007
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Table of Contents


1.0 Executive Summary .................................................................................................................. 3

2.0      Methodology ............................................................................................................................. 5

3.0      School Context ......................................................................................................................... 6

4.0      Evaluation of Performance........................................................................................................ 8
   4.1     Student Learning ............................................................................................................................................... 8

   4.2     Student Pathways and Transitions .................................................................................................................. 17

   4.3      Student Engagement and Wellbeing .............................................................................................................. 21




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Thornbury High School Review Report 2007                                                                                                                  Page 2 of 24
1.0     Executive Summary

On virtually every measure Thornbury High School is an effective school. Illustrative examples of
all components of the DoE Effective Schools Model can be observed at the school. The school,
its leadership, teachers, staff, students, and parents are to be congratulated on how the school
has performed during the 2004 to 2006 period. Improved performance is observed on all
indicators used for school review, with the school moving from below like school group
benchmarks to above during this time. The improvement corresponds to the appointment of a
new principal in late 2003.

The current ethos at Thornbury High School is captured in a quote from the School Self
Evaluation, which is an extract from an award to the school:

      ‘Peter Egeberg and staff have successfully built a teaching and learning environment
      at Thornbury High School that develops and values the talents of students and
      teachers. The school has a greater sense of pride and standing within the community
      that is reflected in improved student performance. Student retention rates and
      enrolments have risen and the school’s final year results have improved markedly.

      Peter and staff worked with the school community to establish a new strategic
      direction and led a three year change process, in which teachers, parents and
      students were involved in planning and making school decisions. Under his
      leadership teachers undertook coaching and mentoring roles and were involved in
      peer observation and action research.

The school has faced substantial challenges during the charter period. The school leadership,
leading by example, has been most successful in meeting those challenges in a strategic
manner. Many concrete actions illustrate the improvement culture being built along with the
determination to allocate resources to the end of improved student performance at Thornbury.
The School leadership is clear about actions that need to taken to achieve further improvement
in student outcomes.

Student learning outcome data indicate generally strong performance patterns at Thornbury High
School. This performance has meant that the school achieved all of the Charter targets that were
set. All VCE indicators show strong performance at this level. There has been a consistent
upward trend in the All Study mean indicator since 2002, demonstrating improvement in absolute
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and comparative terms. Review of individual mean VCE Study scores for 2006 shows all but one
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Study mean to be above the LSG mean for the respective Study. VET and VCAL completion
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Thornbury High School Review Report 2007                                                 Page 3 of 24
rates are above statewide rates. The combined Year 8 and 10 teacher assessment data show a
general downward trend in the percentage of students well below standard in both English and
mathematics. AIM ‘value-added’ to learning measures are also positive.

Trends in the teacher, student, and parent opinion surveys are very positive, with outstanding
results recorded across the 2006 surveys. The majority of variables in each survey are reported
as being in the Excellent band. Student opinion is exceptionally positive, and the teacher and
parent opinion survey scores have generally moved from below benchmarks in 2004 to above in
2006. Students have high motivation levels, confidence in their learning, experience stimulating
learning, and have very good relationships with, and high regard for, teachers. The teacher and
parent surveys reinforce these positive perceptions.

The school does face ongoing challenges to improved performance. The school has identified
four key challenges for the short and medium terms. These are:

1. Staff development.
2. Maintaining VCE results with small cohorts in 2009 and 2010.
3. To be more strategic in future promotion of programs to the school community.
4. A strong and proactive presence in the local community.

The key strategies identified in this report focus on the first two of these challenges. To achieve
the student learning improvements sought over the next few years the suggested emphasis is
placed on the enhancement of the teaching and learning across the school through the use of
teams, purposeful teaching, and ensuring strong alignment of practice with VELS learning
continuum. This focus draws on many other supporting strategies such as the explicit setting of
targets, the use of learning data to monitor improvement, grouping students according to
developmental needs, use of professional learning practices such as coaching and modeling for
explicit teaching, and building and supporting a performance and development culture.

To further advance student engagement and wellbeing outcome key recommended strategies
include further engagement of girls and the ongoing refinement of school practice including
curriculum alignment with VELS Personal, Physical and Social Learning strand and use of data
to inform practice.

In the area of transitions and pathways it is recommended the school continue its current
practices in transition, monitor and refine existing practices, and the excellent provision of
pathways and support for students.


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The school has strong foundations for improvement in place.
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Thornbury High School Review Report 2007                                                   Page 4 of 24
2.0     Methodology

Methodology for this Continuous Improvement Review followed the Continuous Improvement
Review process and included a School pre-visit, analysis of the School Self-Evaluation, School
Level Report, School Charter, the School Annual Implementation Plan, and other associated
data.

The school self evaluation process was undertaken by a working party that included members of
the Leadership Group, teaching and non-teaching staff, and School Council members.

The Review Panel meeting was held on Monday 24th June 2007. In attendance were:

Peter Egeberg            Principal
Karen McCarthy           Curriculum Coordinator
Jan Volkman              NMR SEO
Linda McCloskey          School Council President
Peter Fotheringham       National Curriculum Services Reviewer



Reports to the School Staff and Council occurred as part of the review methodology.




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Thornbury High School Review Report 2007                                              Page 5 of 24
3.0 School Context

Thornbury High School, with a student enrolment of almost 500, is located nine kilometers
northeast of Melbourne. The school was previously called Thornbury-Darebin College, the result
of an amalgamation of two schools, and was located on two sites. As Thornbury High School it is
now on one Year 7 – 12 site.

Its students are drawn from the local mainly residential area. The school is in Like School Group
9 indicating high proportions of families in receipt of Educational Maintenance Allowances and
high proportions of students from Language Other Than English backgrounds. Enrolment trend
data show a long period of falling student numbers, although over the past three years the Year
7 intake has increased and was close to 100 students in 2007. Student enrolment consists of
over 60% boys, approximately 4% of enrolments are Koori students, a similar proportion of
integration students, and a small number of ESL students. Assessment data indicate that
substantial numbers of Year 7 students arrive at the school well below expected learning levels
in literacy and numeracy.

Staffing has been relatively stable, with the majority of teachers having extensive experience at
the school. However the declining enrolment trend has meant the school has been in a situation
of significant over entitlement – from 12 positions in 2003 to 4 in 2007. The reduction in over
entitlement explains the 2005 – 2006 teaching staff retention rate being lower than the statewide
average.

Student and teacher demographic trends have been a key challenge to the school, and will
continue to be as a small cohort of Year 9 and 10 students move through the school. In addition
to this factor, the school has faced other substantial challenges to performance during the
charter period. The 2006 School Level Report shows comparatively low parent and teacher
perceptions in 2003, at the beginning of the charter period.

The school’s vision statement consists of four pillars, and the influences of these on actions are
readily observable in how the school operates. They are:
   Achievement and excellence for all students
   Developing values and fostering personal attributes in each student
   Providing a range of pathways through school and after school
   Fostering students’ unique skills in areas such as arts, music, media, leadership and sport

The school is organised around three phases of learning:
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   Year 7 & 8:             Establishment and support
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   Year 9:                      FROM FINAL REPORT
                            Empowerment and Independence

Thornbury High School Review Report 2007                                                 Page 6 of 24
   Year 10, 11 & 12:       Specialisation and Pathways

Again, distinctive approaches to supporting students at each phase are observable in operations.
The school has a tradition of innovation, and has some high profile and successful programs. A
strong tradition in the use of learning technologies is seen in the establishment of a radio station
in the 1980s with a progression to the current Class TV program aired on Channel 31. The
school has achieved impressive results in music and sport, particularly given its size. It received
Best Band awards along with district sports champions in both 2005 and 2006.

The School Self Evaluation identifies core directions through the school’s overarching
commitment to a set of beliefs:
   That all students regardless of their ability or background are valued members of our school
    community.
   We value academic achievement but also achievement in our practical studies.
   We value performance in the arts, music, sport and media.
   We challenge our high achieving students and support student with learning needs.
   We also value the importance of offering students different learning pathways at school and
    after school




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Thornbury High School Review Report 2007                                                  Page 7 of 24
4.0    Evaluation of Performance

4.1    Student Learning

What outcomes was the school trying to achieve?

The School Charter contained the following broad student learning goal:

To provide a comprehensive, challenging and engaging curriculum for all students, covering all
key learning areas, that enables improved schooling outcomes, particularly in literacy, numeracy
and VCE.

Three Charter Improvement Areas were to improve student achievement in Mathematics/
Numeracy, in Literacy, and VCE results. Year 7-10 targets related to the first two improvement
areas were expressed in terms of school means being at or above the like-school means
(literacy and numeracy), increased percentages of students working above the expected level
(mathematics), and reductions in the percentage of students working below the expected CSF
level to less than 20% (mathematics). At VCE the target was to have the All Studies score at or
above the like-school score.

These intentions provided a challenging context for the charter period.

What did the school achieve?

School Level Report data indicate generally strong performance patterns in student learning at
Thornbury High School. This performance has meant that the school achieved all of the Charter
targets described above (these achievements are described in more detail in following sections).
The school, its leadership, its teachers, and its students are to be congratulated on the
achievements during the 2004 to 2006 period.

Senior Secondary – VCE

All VCE indicators show strong performance at this level. There has been a consistent upward
trend in the All Study mean indicator since 2002, demonstrating improvement in absolute and
comparative terms. The All Study mean increased from 23.1 in 2002 to 28.5 in 2006, and in
doing so, moved from below the LSG mean score to almost 10% higher than the LSG score in
2006. The comparative performance is particularly good given that the LSG mean indicator itself
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increased from 2004 to 2006. The Study Scores of 40 or more indicator shows the school having
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                                     LSG proportion in 2004 and 2006, and more than twice the
similar proportions of scores to the FROM FINAL REPORT

Thornbury High School Review Report 2007                                                    Page 8 of 24
percentage in 2005. The 2005 percentage of scores of 40 or more was higher than the state
percentage in that year.

Review of individual mean VCE Study scores for 2006 shows all but one Study mean to be
above the LSG mean for the respective Study. 17 out of 27 Study Scores were at or above the
LSG 75th percentile scores. The general pattern of performing better than the LSG indicators is
consistent over 2004-2006.

The 2006 Annual Report shows very high VCE completion rates, at almost 100% in the three
years from 2004 to 2006.

Senior Secondary – VET & VCAL

Completion data show an increasing completion rates by students taking VET studies and VCAL.
The percentage of VET units of competency increased from 63.6% in 2004 (below state %) to
78.6% in 2006 (above state %). The percentage of satisfactory completion of VCAL credits has
                                      th
consistently been above the state 75 percentile benchmark percentage.

AIM – Year 7 and 9

Reading

The Year 7 AIM Reading mean increased from 3.8 to 4.0 over the 2004 – 2006 period.
Comparisons with the LSG and state benchmarks show the school performing above LSG mean
benchmarks and marginally below state mean benchmarks.

The 2004 – 2006 Reading data indicate around 10% of students performing above expected
standards – between 8% and 14% depending on the year. The data also show 10% of students
well below standards at VELS Level 3 in 2006.

In 2006 the school Year 9 Reading mean was at the LSG median benchmark and below the
state benchmark. It is interesting to note that there were no Year 9 students below (VELS Level
4) or above (VELS Level 6) recorded in the data.

Reading - Year 7 to Year 9

The ‘value-added’ AIM measures show average growth in VELS units to be 1.0 VELS level for
the whole school and 0.9 of a VELS Level for the matched cohort. This indicates that while the
whole school mean increased by one VELS Level the increase for students who completed the
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AIM in 2004 in Year 7 and again at Year 9 in 2006 at Thornbury HS was marginally less. The
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increase in the state and LSG means was also 0.9 of a VELS Level.
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Thornbury High School Review Report 2007                                              Page 9 of 24
Mathematics – Years 7 & 9

Year 7 AIM Number data reported in the SLR indicate the school mean to be below the LSG and
State mean benchmarks over the 2004-2006 charter period. The data also show higher
percentages of students performing at VELS Level 3, well below expectations. The 2006
proportion was 23%, which was much higher than the percentage in English for the same cohort
of students. The 2006 Year 9 data show the school mean to be at the LSG mean and below the
state mean. As in English there were no Year 9 students below (VELS Level 4) or above (VELS
Level 6) the expected level recorded in the data.

Mathematics - Year 7 to Year 9

The ‘value-added’ AIM measures show average growth in VELS units from 2004 to 2006 to be
0.9 VELS level for the whole school and 0.8 of a VELS Level for the matched cohort, a similar
differential to that observed for Reading. The increase in the LSG mean was 0.7. As a result the
complete school mean ‘caught up’ with the LSG mean between Year 7 and 9. The increase in
the state mean over the same period was 0.8 of a VELS Level.

The 2006 Annual Report shows an increasing percentage of Year 7 students at or above
expected levels for Reading from approximately 42% in 2004 to 52% in 2006. The 2006
proportion for Mathematics was around 40%.

Teacher Assessment – Years 7 – 10

A 2006 whole school measure (Teacher assessments of student progress against the VELS/CSF
– Year levels 8 and 10 combined – SLR page 7) of achievement indicates the following
percentages of students achieving at or above the expected Level for each dimension:

   Reading                            47%
   Writing                            40%
   Speaking & Listening               49%
   Measurement, Chance & Data         40%
   Structure                          25%

These percentages, taken from teachers’ own assessment, show one in every two students (or
less) is achieving at the standard expected in VELS.

Indicators of positive performance can be seen in further analysis of the teacher assessment
data. These include:
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Thornbury High School Review Report 2007                                             Page 10 of 24
   The combined Year 8 and 10 data do show a general downward trend in the percentage of
    students well below standard (Beginning or lower on the old CSF scale). This movement in
    Mathematics to 18% in Measurement, Chance & Data, and 15% in Structure meant the
    school achieved the target of “reductions in the percentage of students working below the
    expected CSF level to less than 20%.”
   An observable trend at Year 8 across all domains of increasing percentages of students at or
    above expected standards. A general reverse of this trend is observable at Year 10.

Comparisons between AIM and Teacher Assessment

Table 1 compares the proportions of students assessed as performing at or above the expected
VELS standards in Year 7 NB. These assessments are taken at different times during Year 7).
The table indicates that teacher assessments for Reading correspond with the AIM data. In
Mathematics there, despite the difference in timing of assessments and content, there is a
significant difference between the two performance measures.

Table 1: Comparison of Teacher Assessment and AIM data – 2006 percentages of students at or
above VELS
                                                                   Teacher
                                   Teacher                      Assessment         Teacher
                    AIM                            AIM
     Year                        Assessment                    Measurement,      Assessment
                  Reading                      Mathematics
                                  Reading                         Chance &        Structure
                                                                    Data
       7           ~ 56%             56%           40%              100%            100%
(Source: AIM data – 2006 Annual Report; Teacher Assessment – pages 9-13 2006 SLR)




Why did the school achieve / not achieve its desired outcomes?

A range of factors has contributed to Thornbury High School’s Student Learning Outcome
performance during 2004 – 2006. These factors include leadership, raised expectations, the use
of purposeful teaching, some targeted literacy and numeracy intervention programs, analysis of
learning data to identify where and how improvements might be made, allocation of additional
resources to improving learning, changes to organisational structures, and approaches to
professional learning.

An important factor in promoting student learning is the possession of agreed beliefs about
learning combined with a clear vision and direction pursued by the school leadership team and
teachers. It is clear to an external observer that the Thornbury school leadership has provided
clear sense of direction that is focused on improvement in instructional practices as the way to
                                      DRAFT REPORT
improved student learning. Leadership has identified where the curriculum improvement focus
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Thornbury High School Review Report 2007                                               Page 11 of 24
needed to be, has included staff in the process, and is providing guidance and support of
improved teaching practice. Many examples of this were identified at the review panel meeting.

Many ‘symbolic’ changes have been made at the school with the intention of lifting expectations,
accountability, and school pride for students. These have been many and have sent a clear
message of what is important at the school. Examples include using Year 12 students as role
models, emphasis on student groupings such as the refocus on houses, a raised profile on the
importance of attendance, and school success in other learning experiences such as performing
arts and sport.

The school is implementing its ‘QUEST’ program at Year 9, the result of Leading Schools Funds.
The LSF submission describes many of the new strategies adopted by the school and designed
to enhance teacher effectiveness. They include:

   The use of multidisciplinary teams that develop plans with goals, challenging targets, and
    strategies using group reflection and data to inform feedback. These Performance and
    Development teams have a
   Creation of Year 8 & 9 teaching teams working collaboratively to develop new pedagogical
    approaches which combines authentic learning with a multiliteracies pedagogy
   The use of peer support, observation, coaching and mentoring to support improved teaching.
   Radically redefined / redesigned existing spaces into a powerful multipurpose flexible
    learning environment which will allow for a range of teaching approaches

A range of innovative approaches have been implemented at the senior secondary level and
have meant improved VCE results, and broadening of options for students.

The school has used various approaches to supporting students struggling in literacy and
numeracy. Examples of intervention practices include reduced class sizes, a 0.5 literacy support
person, the introduction of a high achievers class, and use of testing data to monitor student
progress.

Changes have been made to school organisation to support improved learning. An example is
the introduction of fewer periods during the day using extended time blocks, and the use of
various teacher teams, both multi-disciplinary, year level, and content-based teams.

Student perceptions of the school are described in the relevant Attitudes to School survey
results. All variable mean scores in the Teaching & Learning category of the 2006 Attitudes to
School survey are outstanding, and in the Excellent band of results. Students have high
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motivation levels, confidence in their learning, experience stimulating learning, and have very
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Thornbury High School Review Report 2007                                               Page 12 of 24
Other data sets provide information on factors that may indirectly affect student learning, for
example, the School Organisational Health Questionnaire (SOHQ) and the Parent Opinion
Survey (POS).

SOHQ results for 2004 through 2006 indicate a substantial improvement trend. The general
improvement trend is observable across all the questionnaire’s positive variables, with scores
moving upwards from below benchmarks to above in 2006. While Student and Classroom
Misbehaviour variable scores have trended downward (that is, improved) Excessive Work
Demands and Individual and School Distress scores have increased. While these scores have
deteriorated, the Individual and School Morale scores have improved. An interpretation of this is
that while teachers acknowledge they are working harder, there are still high morale levels,
indicating satisfaction from the effort.

The 2006 Parent Opinion Survey variable scores are generally above statewide median scores,
indicating very high proportions of parents responding with agreement to survey items. An
example of this is in General Satisfaction variable core that moved from well below the state 25th
percentile in 2003 to the 90th percentile in 2006




How effectively did the school manage its resources to support the achievement
of its desired outcomes?

The school clearly allocates its time, teacher, and financial resources to areas that will enhance
student learning. Discussion during the review panel meeting highlighted many examples where
the school’s resource allocation has been clearly aligned with intentions to improve student
learning.

The previous section described various factors that have contributed to the achievements in
student learning at Thornbury High School. These have required substantial resource allocation.
Examples include resource allocation to literacy intervention and support, smaller class sizes,
timetabling, and teacher team meetings. Professional development resource allocation has
focused on purposeful teaching approaches.




What can the school do in the future to continue to improve?

                                     DRAFT REPORT
Thornbury High School has very strong foundations in place for further improvement in student
learning to be achieved. While REMOVE THIS WATERMARK the foundations in place
                               student learning data is generally good
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Thornbury High School Review Report 2007                                                Page 13 of 24
provide the opportunity for even stronger performance. The school has its high level settings,
such as culture of raised expectations, the recent development of school values, and a ‘four-
pillars’ approach to vision. The recommendations in this report are designed to complement
those of the school and hopefully assist in focusing the actions around improving instructional
practice and student learning.

The student learning data does identify some challenges for the future. These include:

   Maintaining the improvement trend at VCE
   Tackling low levels of numeracy and literacy in new Year 7 enrolments.
   Further reductions in the proportions of students well below expected standards, as indicated
    by the teacher assessment and AIM data.
   Increasing the proportion of students at or above expected standards, currently at around
    one in every two students in Years 7 – 10.

Goals

The first and fourth pillars of the school vision are particularly relevant to the establishment of
Student Learning Goals. The pillars that should be reflected in the goals are:

   Achievement and excellence for all students
   Fostering students’ unique skills in areas such as arts, music, media, leadership and sport

Goals should reflect a focus on this strategic vision, and at the same time address the issues
raised in the data. A literal interpretation of the notions of achievement and excellence in the
school and Victorian contexts is achieving high standards of whole learning for all students as
described in VELS. The goal at Years 7 – 10 should also help create a sense of urgency around
improving the current situation of one in every two students achieving at standards. Suggested
student learning goal are:

To ensure that the greatest proportion of Years 7 to 10 students as possible reach (or exceed)
the expected VELS standards in English and Mathematics.

A similar goal could be developed that encompassed student achievement in other VELS
domains as appropriate to the fourth pillar.

At VCE a continuation of the previous Charter goal worded as simply as:

To maintain the improvement in student learning at VCE.


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Thornbury High School Review Report 2007                                                  Page 14 of 24
Targets

It is suggested that the Strategic Plan targets associated with the goals described above
incorporate measures of increasing proportions of Years 7 to 10 students achieving at or above
the Standards over the 2007-2010 period.

   By 2011 75% of deemed capable students be at or above the Victorian Essential Learning
    Standards appropriate to their year level in English and Mathematics (using the whole school
    teacher assessment indicator).
   By 2010 the school achieve an AIM matched cohort ‘value-added’ of greater than 1.0 for
    Reading and Mathematics.
   By 2011 an increase in the VCE All Study Mean Score to 30

The effect of such targets is to further enhance the high expectations for learning for all students
as well as requiring an understanding of value-added approaches to mapping student learning.
Other targets for consideration might include increasing the percentage of A grades by 2011.

A year-by-year measure of adequate progress toward the targets should also be established.

Suggested Key Improvement Strategies

Key Improvement Strategies will form the basis of the Strategic Plan and Annual Implementation
Plans during the 2007 – 2010 period. A limited number of Key Improvement Strategies are
suggested below. The suggestions are made with the intention of complementing the school’s
multi-faceted existing good practice described in the Self Evaluation and the Annual
Implementation Plan and hopefully provide a focus for the existing strategy. These have an
emphasis upon achieving further improvement in teaching practice through direct and indirect
methods. The strategies imply focus on both making good practice even better, and bringing
each classroom’s practice up to a consistent and agreed high level. It should be noted that Key
Improvement Strategies could apply across the three student outcomes.

Provide clear and focused instructional leadership

   Leadership, at all levels in the school:
      o Communicates a clear commitment to the achievement of high performance standards
          for all students as described in the suggested Student Learning Outcome Goal, and
          creates a sense of urgency about improvement and achievement of the 7 – 10 goal.
      o Continues to make the guidance, direction and support of sustained improvement in
          teaching practice a priority focus for its resource allocation and other actions as the way
          to improved student learning.
                                    DRAFT REPORT
   Incorporation in the Leadership Team Charter a section that communicates a clear
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    instructional focus through purpose, role, and improvement focus statements.
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Thornbury High School Review Report 2007                                                 Page 15 of 24
   Communicate the key annual improvement objectives of the leadership team to staff in
    support of the performance and development teams and process.

Use focused and explicit instruction

   Ongoing implementation of the use of instruction that is focused precisely on building directly
    on what students already know and are able to do and that takes them to the next level of
    understanding (as described in VELS standards and progression points)

Use Teacher Teams to further enhance teacher capacity and practice

   Regular meetings of Performance and Development Teams and Professional Learning Area
    Teams that have a clear plan similar to that described for the Leadership Team and
    including:
       Incorporating clear targets for improvement expressed in terms of percentage of
        students to be at or above expected VELS standards derived from the Strategic Plan
        targets
       Identify teaching approaches and activities that will lead to achievement of the targets
       Review alignment of programs, explicit teaching practice, assessment instruments,
        teaching materials, use of ICT, and intervention programs with the domain standards
        and progression points as described in the VELS
       Identifying and discuss student work that meets those standards.
       Focus professional learning on explicit/purposeful teaching.
       Professional Development activities based on measures of student progress as a guide
        for where improvements in teaching practice are needed.
       Seek Performance and Development Culture accreditation

Provide intervention support to struggling students in English and Mathematics

   Review existing intervention strategies in English and mathematics to gauge effectiveness
   Investigate the use of ‘in-class’ groupings to enhance student learning outcomes
   Investigate approaches and strategies that content-based teachers (i.e. other than English)
    can use to improve student literacy.

Continue School and Classroom Organisational Structures that support improvement in
teaching practice and student learning, for example:

   To continue use of Teams focused on improvement
   The use of extended blocks of time in conjunction with improved instructional practice.
   Continue intervention support   DRAFT REPORT
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Thornbury High School Review Report 2007                                               Page 16 of 24
4.2      Student Pathways and Transitions

What outcomes was the school trying to achieve?

The School Charter contained the following goal that was related to student pathways and
transitions:

That the curriculum provision of the school, including its teaching and learning practices,
encourage a greater commitment by students to their schooling throughout the secondary years
and to improved post-school participation in tertiary studies.

Targets associate with this goal included:

     To increase real retention to be at or above the like-school group means.
     To increase the percentage of students enrolling in tertiary studies.

Additional school intentions for the student pathways and transition outcome were to:

     Provide successful transition support at various stages of the student’s school experience.
      These included settled starts to the beginning of school, smooth transition through the, and
      support to students exiting the school.
     Ensure all Year 10 and Year 9 at risk students had a pathway plan.
     Increase Year enrolments to 100 students.




What did the school achieve?

The school achieved both targets set for this student outcome. There has been an increase in
the percentage of students enrolling in tertiary studies, with a large jump in the percentage of
students offered university places. 2005 ‘On Track’ data show that around 90% of students were
offered a tertiary place at either a university or a TAFE. This consisted of 50% enrolled in a
university course, 27% enrolled in a TAFE course, 8% deferred for a year to either work or travel
and another 8% taking up a traineeship or an apprenticeship. The remaining 8% entered the
work force directly.

Real Year 7 to 10 retention rates were consistently above the LSG median over the charter
period, thereby achieving the target. The real retention rate was 67.5% in 2006 compared with
the LSG median of 62.5% and a state median of 71.6%. Year 10 – 11, Year 11 – 12, and Year 7
                                     DRAFT REPORT
-12 real retention rates were all above the LSG median rates in 2006.
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Thornbury High School Review Report 2007                                                Page 17 of 24
Apparent retention rates, while fluctuating, have generally been in middle 50 percent range of
LSG and state means.

Other school achievements in pathways and transition included:

   All Year 10 students completed a pathway plan with plans reviewed in subsequent years.
   Year 9 at risk students provided with a pathways plan.
   All exit students that have not found employment or an alternative educational settings have
    been provided with ongoing support and assistance
   An increase in year 7 enrolments by 30 students over the charter period.

The 2006 Parent Opinion Survey Transitions variable score was 5.55, a score similar to the State
75th percentile score for this variable, and placing the school in the Excellent band of this section
of the opinion survey report.

Why did the school achieve / not achieve its desired outcomes?

The 2006 Annual Report states that:

“We see this (On Track) data as a reflection of the school’s vision to encourage academic
excellence and to provide a range of pathways to future success. Much of the credit should go to
the VCE teachers and the Careers and MIPS team who have assisted our hard working students
into the pathways they wanted.”

This is indicative of efforts of teachers and students in all aspects of the pathways and transition
outcome, and they should be congratulated. The school has developed some sound structures
and processes to support students as they enter, progress through, and exit the school.

Other successful practices identified in the School Self Evaluation include:

   Membership of the Inner Northern VET cluster enabling Year 10 and 11 students to choose
    from a wider range of subjects.
   Effective implementation of MIPS funding and resources.
   The development of appropriate tracking processes resulting in a maximum number of
    students having achieved a positive transition.
   The school has created a culture of ‘community’ that makes former students welcomed and
    confident in returning to the school for support.
   The Principal coordinated transition program including a review and overhaul of the existing
    transition programs to a purposeful and curriculum focused approach with more meaningful
                                    DRAFT REPORT
    programs (forensic science, Media projects, debating, maths games).
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Thornbury High School Review Report 2007                                                 Page 18 of 24
   The Principal successfully targeted all the School Councils and year 5&6 teachers of our
    feeder schools.




How effectively did the school manage its resources to support the achievement
of its desired outcomes?

The School is proactive in supporting pathways and transition programs and initiatives and has a
clear focus on the importance of this area. Significant resources have been allocated to
supporting transition as evidenced by the enhanced transition programs, MIPS funding including
appointment of a coordinator and youth worker and establishment of a careers/MIPS resource
centre, student counseling, and professional development provided to staff to deliver VCAL and
VET programs. The LCP network is used to support the VET cluster, the World of Work
resources for VCAL students and the Structured Workplace Learning for VET students.




What can the school do in the future to continue to improve?

The Goals and Key Improvement Strategies contained in the 2007 AIP and Self Evaluation
provide appropriate inclusions for the Strategic Plan. The student learning outcome targets are
also applicable to the transition and pathways outcome by ensuring students are at the levels
expected for smooth transition between sections of the school.

Goals

That the curriculum provision of the school, including its teaching and learning practices,
encourage a greater commitment by students to their schooling throughout the secondary years
and to improved post-school participation in tertiary studies.

To provide a range of pathways through school and after school.

Targets
   All Year 10-12 students to have a MIP.

Key Improvement Strategies

Review and refine existing school transition practices as described in the School Self Evaluation:
   An appropriate resource allocation is required to address the pathways for the current year
    9&10 groups.                   DRAFT REPORT
   Re-evaluate the VCAL program to continue to meet student needs (counselling, quality
                            REMOVE THIS WATERMARK
    teachers, rigour etc)           FROM FINAL REPORT
Thornbury High School Review Report 2007                                                Page 19 of 24
   A review of the timetable to address the increasing demand of Australian School Based
    Apprenticeships
   Review work experience at year 10, investigate Community Service and VET work
    placements
   To maintain relationships with current feeder schools but be more strategic with a particular
    focus on girls and high achieving students
   To develop partnerships with local council, education institutions (e.g. Latrobe) and Business
    (e.g. Grocon)




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Thornbury High School Review Report 2007                                               Page 20 of 24
4.3    Student Engagement and Wellbeing

What outcomes was the school trying to achieve?

The School Charter contained a goal related to the Learning Environment that emphasised an
environment, “which is caring and welcoming, and provides opportunities for the academic and
personal development of all students.” These intentions were to be achieved through providing a
“positive, stimulating and harmonious learning environment” and a “safe, well-developed and
attractive physical environment.”

More specific improvements were to reduce student absences by an average of 2 days per year
and to increase student engagement in learning and connectedness to school as measured in
the student opinion survey.

What did the school achieve?

Thornbury High School has achieved some outstanding results in the data related to
engagement and wellbeing. The strong performance in this outcome, as in the other two student
outcomes, is undoubtedly the result of strong and active leadership, teachers who develop sound
relationships with their students, motivated students, and parents who value what the school
provides. The school achieved the targets it established in the Charter.

The 2006 Attitudes to School Survey data is outstanding, and the highest seen by the reviewer.
All but one variable score on the survey (Years 7 – 12 combined results) are reported as being in
the Excellent band (at or above the state 75th percentile scores). In fact all of these variables
were above the state 90th percentile. The one variable below this marker was Classroom
Behaviour, which was at the state 71st percentile, and this, viewed in isolation, is a very strong
result as well. Scores on the Student Safety and Connectedness to Peers were consistently in
the Excellent band during 2004 – 2006.

Within the data there is some difference between boys and girls at some year levels in
responses to the Classroom Behaviour and Student Safety variables, with boys responding more
positively to the survey than girls.

The average number of days absent per FTE student across the school in 2006 was 14.9 days.
The average number of days absent per student headcount across the school has declined from
20.9 days in 2002 (the 2005 statewide average was 16.2 days). Each Year Level average days
                                       DRAFT REPORT
absent was at or below the state mean for the relevant Year Level.
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Thornbury High School Review Report 2007                                                 Page 21 of 24
Why did the school achieve / not achieve its desired outcomes?

A key to the school’s outstanding achievement of its intended outcomes for Engagement and
Wellbeing has been the range of initiatives implemented by the school to provide a stimulating
and supportive school environment. As was the case described in the student learning section of
this report, changes have been the result of strong school leadership and teacher efforts. The
School Self Evaluation and 2006 Annual Report describe many of these new and previously
existing activities that include a mix of classroom based and whole-school approaches.

The school administers an annual bullying survey to establish student perceptions about the
types and location of any bullying, the identification of students who are involved, and students’
own suggestions about actions for improvement. The 2006 Annual Report discusses the results
of the 2006 survey that indicated the overwhelming majority of students feel safe at the school, a
very minor percentage of students identified as bullying others (1%), and a decrease in bullying
since the previous survey.

The school has established either new or reviewed Promotions, Discipline, and Homework
policies. These are complemented by other general strategies that are effective including
leadership initiatives (SRC, Captains, Student run full school assemblies, House Captains, Peer
Support, Mentoring, Coaching, Houses), celebrations of achievement, and whole school extra
curricula activities.

The school has also introduced new approaches to raise the profile of the importance of
attending school. This has been particularly effective at VCE level and a new electronic
attendance system has been introduced.

The 2006 Parent Opinion Survey identifies some factors that, from parents’ perspectives, have
helped with student engagement and wellbeing outcomes. This can be seen in the School
Climate section of the parent survey. The 2006 survey placed the school scores for School
Improvement, Teacher Morale, Behaviour Management, Stimulating Learning, Learning Focus
and Homework were in the Excellent band of the report. Student Safety, Classroom Behaviour,
and Connectedness to School were also in the Excellent band.

Very positive Staff Opinion Survey responses in 2006 place the school scores for Student
Motivation, Student Misbehaviour, Effective Discipline Policy, Student Orientation, Student
Decision-making, and Learning Environment in the Excellent band of the Staff Opinion Survey.
Combined, these indicators indicate positive staff perceptions about student engagement and
wellbeing.                         DRAFT REPORT
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                                 FROM FINAL REPORT
Thornbury High School Review Report 2007                                                Page 22 of 24
How effectively did the school manage its resources to support the achievement
of its desired outcomes?

The School has devoted substantial resources to this outcome in reflection of its important
status. Time, staff, and other resources have been allocated to strategies. Resources have
been devoted to establishing and supporting significant efforts that are specifically designed to
address engagement and wellbeing matters such as described above. Specific resource
allocation examples extracted from the School Self Evaluation include:

   A greater focus on monitoring attendance within the subschools. The introduction of a new
    attendance program, clear directions and expectations regarding the Promotions Policy and
    the effective use of support staff such as youth worker, welfare co-ordinator, MIPS co-
    ordinator to assist in supporting students.
   The introduction of a four period day has resulted in all staff reviewing the content and
    delivery of their curriculum that focuses on improved student engagement and provides the
    opportunity for students to complete tasks uninterrupted. The introduction of an innovative
    program in Year 9 has improved student engagement and learning.
   Introduction and continuation of parent groups including Music, Sport, Overseas camps,
    Council, Parents Association and Alumni




What can the school do in the future to continue to improve?

The Self Evaluation and 2006 Annual Report identify what the school needs to do to achieve
further improvement along with potential approaches.

The goals and strategies discussed in the student learning outcome are equally valid for the
engagement and wellbeing outcome. Those aspects of the VELS domains directly related to
engagement and development of relationships should be a focus in this outcome as well.

Suggested Goals, Targets, and Key Improvement Strategies for consideration are:

Goals

To develop values and fostering personal attributes in each student

To achieve further improvement is student attendance.

To improve girls perceptions about classroom behaviour and safety.
                                   DRAFT REPORT
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Thornbury High School Review Report 2007                                                Page 23 of 24
Targets

To increase girls agreement responses to the Attitudes to School Survey Student Safety and
Classroom Behaviour variables and their scores by 2010.

A decrease in the whole school absence rate to twelve days per FTE student by 2010.

Key Improvement Strategies

Investigate and implement approaches to improving girls perceptions including:

   Use of focus groups to identify perception, issues, and solutions.
   Curriculum Alignment
   Ongoing monitoring of achievements in the VELS Personal, Physical and Social Learning
    strand.
   Ensure maintenance of the current focus on ICT components as a vehicle for delivering
    engaging and relevant curriculum.
   Refinement of existing approaches as described in the School Self Evaluation




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                                 FROM FINAL REPORT
Thornbury High School Review Report 2007                                           Page 24 of 24

								
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