Dandenong North Primary School

Smart Staff

Dandenong North Primary School faces the challenge of high teacher attrition. Addressing this requires that novice teachers can accelerate performance and effectiveness in order to sustain excellent student outcomes. Supported by Social Ventures Australia, the school has embarked on a comprehensive program called IMOCAD to accelerate the performance of new teachers through intensive induction, coaching, mentoring, observation and appraisal. The school has already seen improved student outcomes in the first year of the partnership, with a 2% increase in NAPLAN outcomes in Year 3.

Dandenong North Primary School is a K-6 Primary School in South Eastern Melbourne, Victoria. The school has the equivalent of 73 staff, and a student enrolment of 692 students, including:

  • 62% of students in the bottom quartile of socio-educational advantage
  • 86% of students from English as Second Language backgrounds
  • 60 families with refugee status arriving in the last year

Dandenong North Primary School experiences high levels of attrition amongst experienced school teachers and leaders, a common issue in schools in low socioeconomic contexts that leads to a loss of critical educational experience. The school therefore has a high proportion of new teachers, with 35% of the staff in 2015 new to teaching or to the school, and faces the challenge of ensuring that these teachers can accelerate their effectiveness in the classroom so as to ensure no loss of student learning.

Dandenong North Primary School is using the resources and support from Social Ventures Australia to create a comprehensive and targeted program of professional learning and support for new teachers that addresses the risk of inexperience. The IMOCAD program aims to accelerate their performance and achieve excellence in teaching and student outcomes, ensuring that the educational expertise is maintained and strengthened within the school.
Accordingly, the school is designing and delivering a combination of –

Induction allows teachers to orient and socialise them to the school, and to guide them through the fundamentals of effective teaching and learning. The school offers intensive induction, with 9 staff supporting novice teachers with 7 hours of induction that leads them through school policies and processes and the instructional model.

Mentoring and Coaching
Mentoring and coaching supports teachers to transition from theory of practice, whilst also enabling experienced teachers to remain energised and gain new knowledge and skills through training in mentoring and coaching. Research shows that mentoring creates objectivity, assists teachers to evaluate their own approaches and to continually improve effectiveness.

Observing teachers who are recognised as highly effective allows experienced teachers to model effective practice to novice teachers, while observing novice teachers to benefit from targeted feedback for specific lessons or strategies. Research shows that feedback from individual classroom profiles derived from systematic observations helps teachers understand their own strengths and weaknesses, and enables them to significantly improve instruction.

Appraisal and Feedback
Appraisals and feedback from experienced teachers, through observation and team-teaching, allows novice teachers to improve effectiveness, with research showing that teacher effectiveness can rise by up to 30% with effective appraisal and feedback (Jensen 2011).
Accordingly, the school is investing in accelerating the effectiveness of novice teachers in order to sustain excellence in teaching and learning. Teachers are provided with targeted development opportunities, and group with experienced teachers who guide their progress and evaluate their growth.