Earlier this month the 2016 NAPLAN results were released resulting in a number of media articles critiquing how well Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 students have performed throughout Australia. Federal Education Minister, Simon Birmingham expressed his concern for what has been referred to as flat-lining. Minister Birmingham stated that "we need to focus on evidence-based measures that will get results for our students." We couldn’t agree more! At St Patrick's, we have outstanding teachers, continually reflecting on their practice. During the Staff Professional Development Week in June, Ms Selena Fisk and Mr Troy Schultz, on behalf of the Data Team, presented to the teaching staff our School Improvement Plan. This plan identified key areas for development and two of these were students’ writing skills and reading comprehension skills (two of the testing areas of NAPLAN). Teaching these skills does not purely sit in the traditional English lessons. We are all teachers of literacy and therefore we are all committed to playing our role in implementing these evidence-based measures.

Although we use our NAPLAN data, along with other information, to inform our Teaching and Learning, we are also mindful that the information is a point in time snapshot and is only one aspect of your son's growth and performance. The author of 'An American Rhetoric', William Whyte Watt said "do not put your faith in what statistics say until you carefully consider what they do not say". What is meant by this in this instance, is that in addition to analysing such data as NAPLAN, we will continue to nurture your son's social, emotional and spiritual development, committed to providing a holistic education.

Next Tuesday and Wednesday our Year 12 OP eligible cohort will sit the state moderating exam known as the Queensland Core Skills Test (QCST). This is a culmination of 12 years of schooling and a full year ‘bolt on’ preparation program. The students are well prepared and ready to give their absolute best in this test. Thanks to Ms Selena Fisk, Program Leader Student Data & Performance, our men are well aware of the significant improvements they have made individually and as a group in the preparation program. We thank all their teachers, Years 5 to 12 along with the current QCS program teachers, for all the work they have done in preparing them. We wish them all the best for the two days – ‘fight the good fight’ Year 12 men!

Ms Elizabeth Gaber - Dean of Administration and Business Intelligence