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:
The Common Good
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.
Our daily, two-hour literacy block addresses the curriculum content areas of Reading and Viewing, Writing, and Speaking and Listening. Current research identifies five key areas when teaching students to read: phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. Therefore, we teach reading skills explicitly and systematically, while exposing our students to a wide range of good-quality literature from diverse voices.
In Prep and Year 1, the literacy block begins with Multisensory Structured Language (MSL). 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 Spelling Mastery program.
Reading lessons from Prep to Year 6 include the shared analysis of a rich text, linked with the school's termly topic. Evidence-based learning activities cover language comprehension (background knowledge, vocabulary, language structures, verbal reasoning, literacy knowledge) and word recognition (phonological awareness, decoding, sight recognition).
In Writing, students are explicitly taught concepts of grammar and punctuation, before practising such concepts in the construction of a range of sentences, paragraphs, and 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.
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.
Termly Whole-school Topic
Each term, we have a whole-school topic, which permeates all teaching and learning. Each topic commences with explicit teaching through the literacy block, which immerses students in the content and provides them with the deep understanding required to explore further. They then use this knowledge to develop inquiry skills through project-based learning. The units cover the curriculum areas of History, Geography, Sciences, Health and, in the upper years, Civics and Citizenship, and Economics and Business.
Project-based learning encourages motivation, engagement and passion, while also developing research skills and pride through ownership. Where appropriate and meaningful, links are also made with our Religious Education units, providing further opportunity for students to view an issue from a range of diverse perspectives.
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 60 minutes each.
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:
Athletics and Cross Country in the Holt District Interschool competitions
20/20 Cricket Blast competition
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 adjustments, including small group intervention, with an aim to build their confidence and skills mastery within the whole class setting.
Our rigorous and evidence-based Assessment Schedule provides thorough data to pin-point areas of need across the school. Where appropriate, a Personalised Learning Plan (PLP) may be developed for a student, including targeted goals and the adjustments designed to reach such goals. Our experienced and passionate team of Learning Support Officers (LSOs) 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 and Student Voice
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:
Premier’s Reading Challenge
iSea iCare School Ambassador Program
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, 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 a voice.