Winmalee Public principal Kate Ford did not expect her "fantastic" school to be recognised for their terrific literacy and numeracy test results recently, let alone that she would start giving regular advice to the NSW Education Minister about what they did right.
Mrs Ford is one of 10 leading NSW public school principals who met for the first time on Friday May 6 and are now in a ground-breaking advisory group to help drive school excellence and improvement across NSW.
"I'm incredible proud ... this is a significant achievement for us all and the recognition of all the hard work we do each day is greatly appreciated," she said.
"At Winmalee we have a strong focus on vocabulary, writing and mathematical comprehension, and encourage students to use multiple learning strategies to solve problems."
Premier Dominic Perrottet said the Ambassador Schools Principal Advisory Group will provide an ongoing roundtable to discuss issues affecting public schools and evidence-based ways of lifting outcomes. Ambassador Schools are schools performing above and beyond other similar schools.
"The group will share their insights... to have a direct, positive impact on education policies," he said.
Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said the aim is to study the practices these schools have in place and see how they can be scaled up across the state.
It is Mrs Ford's 5th year as a principal at the school - she has been principal at three schools in total.
"We have a strong focus on high expectations for all our students both academically and in their sense of wellbeing," she said of the Winmalee school community.
"We work alongside our students and parents [with] student success as the key driving factor. I think we have achieved a good balance of curriculum and extra curriculum activities [that] allows our students to experience success inside and outside the classroom."
The 352-student school had the great result of about 60 per cent of Year 3 and 5 students in the top two bands for reading and numeracy in national assessments [Naplan].
Over her career Mrs Ford has worked in "many different settings and roles within in the Department of Education and taken inspiration from all the people I have worked with ... I view every day as an opportunity to learn".
Ms Mitchell said the primary and secondary schools selected in the group were a diverse mix of city and regional. She looked forward to hearing from "these dynamic educators ... chairing the group and learning from their wide-ranging experiences".
The advisory group will meet with the minister quarterly over the next two years. The other schools are: Millthorpe Public, Fairvale High, Auburn North, Bonnyrigg Heights, Huntingdon Public, Macarthur Girls High, Charlestown South Public, Cabramatta High and Mathoura Public School.
Mrs Ford said "meeting with the minister was a great opportunity to have robust conversations about school success and to listen to the stories of the other nine schools. I am really looking forward to the future meetings".
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