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St Agnes' Primary School Highett - Logo.

Learning & Teaching

Our team of passionate educators is committed to delivering a rigorous and contemporary learning program, guided by the Victorian Curriculum and elevated through regular professional development. The four capabilities of the Victorian Curriculum promote the holistic development of our students and include: Critical and Creative Thinking, Personal and Social Capability, Intercultural Understanding and Ethical Understanding. For more information about the Victorian Curriculum, visit https://victoriancurriculum.vcaa.vic.edu.au/.

Education in Faith

At St Agnes’, our Religious Education program encourages students to think like global citizens, in order to make sense of the world and its events through a lens of Catholic values. The Religious Education Curriculum and the principles of Catholic Social Teaching are used in conjunction to plan authentic and engaging learning experiences. The Catholic Social Teaching principles include: 

  • Dignity of the Human Person

  • Common Good

  • Subsidiarity and Participation

  • Solidarity

  • Preferential Option for the Poor

  • Economic Justice

  • Stewardship of Creation

  • Promotion of Peace

 

The Sacramental program enables students to explore, and be initiated into, the Catholic faith and its traditions. We prepare our students for the healing and initiation sacraments of First Reconciliation in Year 3, First Eucharist in Year 4 and Confirmation in Year 6.

 

We welcome family members to participate in their child’s faith journey through class and whole-school liturgies, celebrations of Mass and family faith nights. Cross-curriculum links provide further opportunities for our students to explore their faith, encouraging them to take action towards a just world. To this end, our Year 6 Social Justice Leaders coordinate the planning and implementations of our annual ‘Shine The Light’ Social Justice Day, where students work collaboratively to further a cause important to them.

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English

Our daily, two-hour literacy block addresses the curriculum content areas of Reading and Viewing, Writing, and Speaking and Listening. We believe in a careful balance of direct instruction and explicit teaching, while exposing our students to a wide range of good quality literature from diverse voices. 

 

In Prep and Year 1, the literacy block starts with explicit teaching of phonics, using the Multisensory Structured Language (MSL) approach. MSL incorporates five essential steps for effective reading instruction: identifying letter sounds, sounding out words, fluency, accuracy and comprehension. Students in Years 2 to 6 receive direct instruction around sound-letter patterns and spelling generalisations, using the evidence-based Spelling Mastery program. 

 

Reading sessions start with a whole class shared text with a clear focus, before moving into guided reading and small group work. Such an approach allows for targeted teaching, based on personalised goals. In the Writing program, students are explicitly taught concepts of grammar and punctuation, before practising such concepts in the construction of a range of text types. Students learn to use text features and structure to entertain, persuade or inform the reader or viewer, all while developing their author’s voice.

Mathematics

Our Mathematics program is underpinned by the three areas of the Victorian Mathematics Curriculum: Number and Algebra, Measurement and Geometry, and Statistics and Probability. Our rigorous assessment strategies assist in identifying every child’s point of need, in order to enable targeted planning and teaching. 

 

Students are exposed to a range of hands-on experiences that promote understanding, fluency, problem-solving and reasoning. The daily, one-hour block commences with mental mathematics skills, before balancing individual, small group and whole class activities to engage and inspire problem solvers.

Inquiry

Each term, we have a whole-school unit, through which students engage in an inquiry-based approach to learning. The units cover the Curriculum areas of History, Geography, Sciences, Health and, in the upper years, Civics and Citizenship, and Economics and Business. Each unit commences with explicit teaching, which immerses students in the topic and provides them with the understandings required to explore it further. 

 

Project-based learning encourages motivation, deeper engagement and passion, while also developing research skills and pride through ownership. Where appropriate and meaningful, the unit is linked closely with our Religious Education focus, providing further opportunity for students to view an issue from a range of diverse perspectives.

Specialist Program

 Our school’s specialist program includes Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Italian and Physical Education. Our students love the opportunity to work with each of our dedicated and talented specialist teachers once a week for 40 minutes each.

Sport

At St Agnes’, we understand the importance of sport in developing teamwork skills, strength, personal and community health, and promoting overall wellbeing. In addition to the scheduled Physical Education lesson, students participate in weekly class sport. Our students remain active throughout the day also, with regular ‘brain breaks’ and movement, keeping their minds fresh and ready to learn. 

 

In addition to these embedded practices, all students from Prep to Year 4 participate in an annual, two week intensive swimming program. Each year in December, our students in Years 5 and 6 participate in an open water safety program at a local surf life saving club. As students reach middle and senior school, there are further opportunities to participate in extracurricular or interschool sport events. Morning Cross Country training is a particular highlight of our Years 3 to 6 students in the lead-up to the main event. Terms 2 and 3 sees the Years 5 and 6 students participate in weekly, friendly games of netball and football with students from nearby schools. Other extracurricular sporting events include: 

  • Swimming Squad

  • Athletics and Cross Country in the Holt District Interschool competitions

  • 20/20 Cricket Blast competition

  • Hooptime Basketball

Interventions

Our staff works together to foster a learning community, where all students and their needs are known. Being a smaller school enables us to promptly identify students who would benefit from small group intervention, with an aim to build their confidence and skills mastery within the whole class setting. 

 

Our Tier 2 literacy interventions include MiniLit (focusing on phonics and decoding) and Rocket Reading (in which students can practise skills taught in the former). Our experienced and passionate team of Learning Support Officers works across the school, both in a whole class and small group capacity, to support teachers in meeting each student’s needs in all learning areas.

Extracurricular Opportunities

We provide our students with every opportunity to thrive by catering for a wide range of interests and passions. Some of our extracurricular offerings include: 

  • Maths Olympiad

  • Library Club 

  • Premier’s Reading Challenge

  • School Choir

  • Tennis Club

  • iSea iCare School Ambassador Program

  • Mini Vinnies

  • Prep and Year 6 Buddy Program

  • Instrumental Music Program

  • School camps and excursions

  • Biennial Whole-school Production, alternating with a Visual Arts Show

 

Our Student Leadership Program empowers students to use their voice to influence how their school is run. In Year 6, students take ownership of roles that include: School Captain, Sport / House Captain, Science and Technologies Captain, Library Captain, Sustainability Captain, Social Justice Captain, Arts Captain and SRC Captain. Each year level also democratically elects a representative to join our SRC Captains on the Student Representative Council, so students of all ages have the opportunity to have a say.