At Highgate School, students study the Australian Curriculum 9.0. Students in the French Bilingual Binational pathway follow a curriculum that is harmonised and integrates the French and Australian curriculums. Both pathways are delivered using through a trans-disciplinary, inquiry approach and have a strong focus on providing feedback to students to support their next learning steps and goals.
Several subjects are taught by specialist teachers – these vary slightly from year to year depending on site direction. More information on 2023 specialist areas can be found below.
Teachers use a range of formative and summative assessment strategies and incorporate high impact teaching strategies throughout their teaching & learning programs. This approach provides a balance of explicit, differentiated teaching and student-led inquiry learning.
Students also benefit from a range of extra- curricular clubs, competitions and action groups, which provide opportunities for curriculum enrichment and developing new interests.
At the end of 2021, Highgate became a candidate school for the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (PYP). During 2022, we undertook training in inquiry-based approaches to teaching & learning and have used these to develop our Program of Inquiry (PoI). The 2023 PoI incorporates the Australian Curriculum 9.0, the Learner Profile Attributes, Central Ideas and Lines of Inquiry as we move towards accreditation in 2024.
Students in R-2 study four units of Inquiry across the year and students in 3-6 study six units. All students also complete some ‘stand-alone’ units. Teachers communicate the skills and content to be covered in a termly overview.
At Highgate School we recognise that learning support and social/emotional support are equally important and that both contribute to the successful development of every child. We welcome parent volunteers to support these programs, through reading with students in the morning or working with small groups.
Specific intervention for learning, such as reading, writing and maths are provided through several approaches.
Initial intervention happens in the classroom and our teachers are highly skilled at using formative and summative assessments to determine the next steps of learning for each child. This is referred to as Quality Differentiated Teaching Practice (QDTP).
The next wave of intervention is determined through analysis of cohort data, individual assessments and discussions between teachers and parents. The students who are offered this intervention are typically performing below age expectations in a particular area. Intervention is provided through small group support, with an adult and is designed to be short term, focusing on a specific outcome. This wave of intervention includes research-based programs as well as teacher-directed tasks. Parents are notified prior to the intervention commencing. Some of these identified students will have One Plans which have been created between teacher and parent, usually with the involvement of the Assistant Principal for Wellbeing. A One Plan is a record of agreed goals and strategies that will be focused on and are often created following the diagnosis of a specific learning need such as dyslexia. These are reviewed termly.
The third wave of intervention is for students who have qualified for targeted funding through the IESP process. The IESP application process is undertaken in collaboration between the school, parents and Department Support Services. The students who receive this funding typically have multiple barriers to learning. Depending on the level of funding, these students are provided with 1:1 adult support to focus on their One Plan goals during lesson time.
Other support areas include English as an Additional Language (EALD). This is a program that supports eligible students to improve their English language skills and complements the explicit teaching of English in classrooms.
Teachers use processes of continuous assessment to monitor student progress and determine next teaching points. As part of their work, teachers meet regularly to review data and to collaboratively plan curriculum sequences that will meet the needs of individual students. All students undertake standardised testing during the year (in addition to NAPLAN) and this data is used to inform teacher planning and to identify students who are in need of intervention. We have a number of intervention groups and student support officers who work to provide additional instruction for identified students. More information about this can be found here.
As part of our PYP journey, we introduced student learning portfolios which are sent home each term, to enable parents to gain better understanding of their child’s achievement. These are complemented by traditional reporting of grades, with written comments in Maths, English, French (where applicable) and achievement against the Learner Profiles.
In addition to our standard reporting processes, teachers are pro-active in contacting parents with compliments and concerns. We also encourage parents to contact teachers as soon as possible, if something isn’t quite right so that we can work together to resolve any concerns.