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Study highlights key elements in creating an 'outstanding' school


Brigid Veale
11 November 2015
A five-year pilot study by a team of Southern Cross University researchers has identified four elements critical to creating an ‘outstanding’ school.

The results of the study have been published in a book titled ‘Creating the Outstanding School’, published by Oxford Global Press and authored by Professor David Lynch, Jake Madden and Tina Doe.

Professor Lynch said governments across the globe were calling on schools to improve the teaching and learning performance of their schools.

“Socio-economic success in a technologically based global world is requiring all citizens to have high standards of education,” Professor Lynch said.

“The challenge for school principals, who are charged with implementing such school reform agendas, is making pragmatic sense of the enormous volumes of largely disparate education research being conducted around the world.”
The pilot study, conducted under the leadership of Professor Lynch, was undertaken at a Coffs Harbour primary school. The first challenge for the research team was to define what was meant by ‘outstanding’ school.

“We determined that an outstanding school (and hence the goals for this project) is one that can sustainably achieve defined learning outcomes – curriculum elements – in every student. With this definition, researchers worked with a local Coffs Harbour school to see if they could achieve these ends,” Professor Lynch said.

The team focused on English as this was perceived as a key curriculum area for students to excel in and which was then regarded as ‘patchy’ throughout the pilot school.

In the study, and after five years of intensive work by the school and its teachers, the ‘outstanding’ school status in English was achieved.

The researchers concluded that four key elements were at the heart of creating and sustaining the ‘outstanding’ school: