Reviews of underperforming public schools have raised concerns about the failure to introduce the national curriculum, lower than expected results on national tests and lack of leadership.
Each of the five schools audited this year by the Education Department’s expert review group has been advised to make significant improvements.
The review of Denmark Primary School said achievement standards were “unsatisfactory” and progress of capable students on national literacy and numeracy tests was “alarmingly slow”.
Teachers had little understanding of how to use test data to drive improvement and had given insufficient attention to implementing the national curriculum, putting Denmark at a disadvantage compared with other WA schools.
When the review group visited Bateman Primary School in June it said the leadership team lacked unity and raised concerns about the “absence of strategic and operational plans to implement the Australian Curriculum”. At South Padbury Primary School, student achievement in literacy and numeracy dropped below the expected mean in 18 of the 30 areas assessed in 2010 and 2011.
The review of Central Midlands Senior High School said it lacked a whole-school approach to lifting achievement or specific planning for curriculum implementation.
Leonora District High School was also criticised for having a big proportion of students performing at a low standard.
Education director-general Sharyn O’Neill said the Australian Curriculum set out what all students should be taught, so it was essential principals and teachers knew its requirements.
“One of the reasons I ask the expert review group to investigate a school is to find out why students may be under-achieving and whether the school is functioning as well as it could be,” she said.