Balga’s Warriapendi PS puts success in literacy and maths down to ‘whole school approach’

Warriapendi Primary School head students Paw Tha Sue Htoo and Jorja de Rosario with co-principal Natasha Doyle (centre).
Warriapendi Primary School head students Paw Tha Sue Htoo and Jorja de Rosario with co-principal Natasha Doyle (centre).

A “WHOLE” school approach to literacy and mathematics are some of the keys to success for Warriapendi Primary School in Balga, following a Department of Education review.

The Department’s Expert Review Group (ERG) completed an independent review of the school along with East Hamilton Hill Primary School and Wattle Grove Primary School in October 2017, after a request from the Director General.

The ERG provides authoritative studies of schools whose performances demonstrates exemplary practice.

Review findings include the teachers being skilled in their delivery of the curriculum as a high proportion of students perform above expectations and a whole-school approach to curriculum differentiation in literacy and numeracy ensured consistent achievement.

Co-principal Natasha Doyle said the whole school approach from leaders, teachers, gardeners, education assistants and cleaners helped with differentiating learning for multicultural students.

“We have explicit teaching and we have explicit programs that we differentiate to make a difference for children which 80 per cent of them are English as an Additional Language/Dialect (EALD) students and come from many different cultures,” she said.

“They start out in kindergarten not speaking English so for us to excel in National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy later – that is a massive achievement for us.

“We have implemented a whole school reading program where we break up into our ability groups and we make it very small so that we can really hone into what they children need to learn.”

Ms Doyle said the school exposed students as young as three years at its child and parent centre to literacy and numeracy programs.

“A lot of our families don’t do that naturally so we have to start early… in kindergarten we start our Let’s Decode (program) and our daily reviews right down there because it’s the oral language that they need to develop and especially those EALD kids,” she said.

“We actually encourage our families to not speak English at home… if they speak a second language well, they learn our language best.”

She said in 2018, Warriapendi PS would be continuing its Let’s Decode program with Edith Cowan University education lecturer Lorraine Hammond, working on their leadership with The Fogarty Foundation and implement daily reviews throughout the whole school.

Mirrabooka MLA Janine Freeman said Warriapendi was a school of excellence and she had always admired its students, staff and community.

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