As Minister for Education it is always a good day opening new school facilities – it’s even better when those facilities are in regional NSW. Last week I joined Kevin Anderson to officially open the Parry School for Special Purposes in Tamworth (as pictured).
The relocated $3.5 million school shares the enrolment of students with partner high schools. Students learn new skills in a smaller and highly structured environment. Programs focus on teaching students the social, behavioural and academic skills necessary for them to successfully transition back to their home school.
Kevin Anderson has been a strong local voice for the project and I congratulate him on his advocacy for the new school.
Another highlight from Tamworth was a visit to a Connected Communities school, Hillvue Public. 78 per cent of the students enrolled at Hillvue are Aboriginal and the school has seen huge improvements, as shown by their 2015 NAPLAN results.
Highlights of the latest NAPLAN results include:
- all 2015 Year 3 mean results are well above those achieved in 2014;
- the percentage of Year 3 students in the top three bands for reading has almost doubled from 2014; and
- 60 per cent of all Year 3 students are in the top three bands for writing, compared to nine per cent last year.
Through NSW signing up to the Gonski Agreement the school has received additional funds and has been able to invest in building teaching capacity so the school is able to work more intensively with individual students. It’s very exciting to see their students showing significantly improved results.
Finally, I thoroughly enjoyed catching up with Michael Johnsen in his electorate of Upper Hunter. We stopped in to see teachers and students from Scone Public School to see how they are implementing their Quality Teaching, Successful Students funding.
In a short space of time Michael has also developed a bit of a reputation as a pie connoisseur, so on Michael’s request we made time to taste one of Upper Hunter’s finest (as pictured).