Cabramatta High School has been ranked among the top NAPLAN performers in the last year, national data shows. The school is one of several NSW schools identified by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) as high achieving in NAPLAN results, published in February.
So, what does that mean for Sydney West’s school?
Most importantly, the students showed above-average literacy and numeracy results compared with pupils of similar socio-educational backgrounds in the state and on the national level.
Speaking on the release of the My School data for 2022, Cabramatta High School Principal Lachlan Erskine welcomed the news. He said the school’s focus on writing and literacy pays dividends and ensures that Cabramatta High School continued to deliver excellent results.
“We have always been really strong in numeracy and our literacy results were good too, but we recognised there was an opportunity to have an extra focus in that area,” he said.
Mr Erskine explained that the school linked literacy experts with subject matter experts to help develop new learning resources.
“The introduction of literacy lessons has been another important step. Our Year 7 to 10 students have two lessons a fortnight, where they focus on things like grammar and writing in different styles,” he said.
For the principal, the literacy sessions that are held separately from regular English lessons are paramount in boosting the school’s NAPLAN results.
“These are explicit literacy lessons where teachers help students with language, complex sentences, extending vocabulary, and teaching persuasive and imaginative text types,” Erskine said.
In NSW, the schools on the high-achieving list include Catholic, independent and state schools, with the range from high-fee private schools such as Tara Anglican School for Girls to disadvantaged schools including Fairfield Heights Public and Canley Vale High.
The key to lifting results at Cabramatta High School was a ‘forensic examination of student results to identify their weaknesses’. They are now above or well above average in writing, spelling and grammar in both year 7 and year 9 when compared with students with a similar background.
The school also had above-average numeracy results in years 7 and 9.
“Maths masterclasses were set up for students to concentrate on specific concepts, such as measurement or fractions, and to provide catch-up instruction if they had fallen behind. For many families at the school, the education of their children is their number-one priority, and parents set high expectations for them,” Erskine said.