This project was an Australian Government initiative to identify effective practices to support literacy development in low SES primary schools. It was implemented in conjunction with the Australian Primary Principals Association, Griffith University and the Australian Catholic University. It involved 60 primary school principals from low SES schools from the Government, Catholic and Independent sectors in Western Australia, Northern Territory, South Australia and Queensland.
The project had an initial emphasis on five modules, which were delivered in a series of professional development workshops. These workshops linked to supported activities in schools, implementation tasks with related materials and online communications. The modules were designed so that principals could use the material for professional learning with their teachers and for the development of the schools as professional learning communities.
Literacy Achievement Advisors were appointed in each state and territory to support principals in putting their new knowledge and skills into action and to provide consistency in the data gathering on the implementation of the project.
Surveys and interviews demonstrated significant improvements in principal and teacher knowledge of the reading process and how to teach it. In the relatively short timeframe of the intervention, student achievement also showed improvements in a range of literacy areas. Emeritus Professor John MacBeath from the University of Cambridge, an external evaluator, made the following comments:
"This is a highly impressive piece of work offering demonstrable benefits to principals, teachers, support staff and to students".
"This study is not only impressive in its reach and rigour but has a great deal to say to school leaders and teachers about the art of the possible, even in the least propitious of circumstances".