Sunday, 23 August 2015

Dear Parents and Friends,

Greetings to all!

It is wonderful to be safely back home after a very rewarding experience attending the school principal’s conference in Finland.  Along with 1200 school principals from around the globe I participated in many engaging workshops which looked at current topics on the educational agenda.

Finland was selected as the venue for the conference due to its consistently high performance on The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) data, which ranks student performance on mathematics, science and reading.  Finland also transformed their educational system from mediocre in the 1980’s to one of excellence today.  International indicators show that Finland has one of the most educated citizenries in the world, provides education opportunities in an egalitarian manner, and makes efficient use of resources.

Teaching has become the number one profession among young Finns – above medicine and law – and primary teacher education in Finnish universities is one of the most competitive choices of study.  One of the basic principles of Finnish education is that all people have equal access to high-quality education and training and the potential of every student is maximised.  Their education system is based on trust and responsibility and there are no National tests for pupils in primary school as continuous assessment is used to guide and support students in their learning.

Many of these statements resonate well with the teaching and learning taking place at St Mary’s School where there is a strong emphasis on continuous assessment to inform learning and the capacity building of the teaching staff to enhance learning opportunities.

I will provide further comparisons and share other insights over the coming weeks.

I would also like to congratulate our teaching staff on their commitment to providing high quality teaching to the students of St Mary’s as evidenced in the recent NAPLAN results for Years 3 and 5.  The school achievement average for all aspects of the NAPLAN tests Year 3 were in the top Band 6.  In Year 5 the class average for Reading, Grammar and Punctuation and Numeracy were in the top Band 8 and average for Writing and Spelling in Band 7.  These results show excellent development and positive trends across all aspects of NAPLAN.  We should be proud of our efforts in providing a happy and stimulating learning environment.