Friday, 14 June 2024
    Western Sydney's Marsden Road Public School turns around its performance with science of reading approach

    Western Sydney's Marsden Road Public School turns around its performance with science of reading approach

    Marsden Road Public School, situated in outer western Sydney, has had a transformation in its students’ educational outcomes that have garnered the praise of one of Australia’s most senior education bureaucrats. 

    The school's transformation, from a majority of students leaving with sub-par reading skills to now achieving above-average results in writing and numeracy, is attributed to a concerted effort in teaching methods and a robust approach to literacy.

    The school faced significant challenges such as:

    • 90% of students speak a language other than English.
    • 40% of those students have been speaking English for fewer than three years.
    • 1 in 5 students come from refugee backgrounds or have had "refugee-like-experiences."

    Under the guidance of Principal Manisha Gazula, the school has implemented methods which focus on explicit instruction, for example, meticulously scheduling every minute of student's time to optimise their education. At the start of each year, all students receive a two-week crash course in the Marsden Way, covering skills like walking between classes quietly, forming neat double lines, and greeting teachers politely. Furthermore, instructional practices in the classroom have shifted and they have embraced the science-of-reading model. 

    The model is informed by the latest scientific insights into optimal learning strategies for children. At its core, this approach challenges the notion that reading is innate, instead adopting a structured teaching method. "You wouldn't do that [whole learning] when you're trying to teach a child to play piano or to play any other instrument or to do something new — you would go step by step," Ms Gazula said.

    This success has gained attention from education authorities, including the NSW  Education Department Secretary Murat Dizdar, who recognises the potential of replicating the Marsden Way in other schools facing similar challenges. 

    Mr Dizdar is mandating that all teachers in New South Wales undertake explicit instructions training immediately after the Easter holidays. "On day one, term two, which is a school development day, right across 2,200 schools, we will be undertaking explicit teaching learning, in every single school in New South Wales," Mr Dizdar said.

    In conjunction with innovative teaching methods, Procurement Australia recommends our suite of  Library Solutions to equip students with the materials they need to thrive. Our comprehensive service offers expert advice, a wide range of education materials, and tailored support to meet the diverse needs of students. By ensuring access to printed resources in Languages Other Than English (LOTE), schools can further enhance their literacy programmes, catering to the linguistic diversity of its student body.