This has been another busy year for schools working together on the Shine Project. At the end of last year, some schools decided they were happy with the work they had done with Shine and with the way they were implementing the Sounds Like Fun approach. They decided to continue without being part of the Shine network of schools. Two new schools joined at the start of 2019.
The focus for professional development this year has been on supporting Year 4-8 teachers to implement instruction into their classroom programmes about how written English works. This involved using a range of assessments to understand the knowledge students already had, to identify gaps in foundation knowledge and, with the use of beagle, to target instruction to close the gaps identified. Our assessments showed that a lot of students in Years 4 to 8 had gaps in the knowledge that we had assumed they knew. Classroom instruction has focused on teaching to fill these gaps before progressing to teaching about the structure of written English. The power of using assessment to identify gaps and drive instruction has been evident as students’ reassessment results are showing that considerable gains have been made. The results of assessments have also highlighted the need to continue to revise and revisit core strategies to ensure they are secure.
This year, our meetings with Lead Teachers are being held once a term. The aim is to support schools to select the assessments and instructional strategies that fit best with their school while, at the same time, ensuring teachers are supported to continue with the instructional practices that have been shown to make a difference. Because we have already gathered data that shows the success of the Shine initiative, schools are not being asked to complete the same range of assessments as they have been in the past. Rather they are selecting assessments and designing their own paths based on the data they have gathered through working with Shine.
We look forward to presenting another report at the end of 2019, highlighting the progress of students in our Shine network of schools.