A number of Catholic schools have been recognised by the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) for the encouraging outcomes achieved by students in the latest NAPLAN results.

The information available today on the My School website shows the latest school-level NAPLAN data, helping parents, carers, schools and governments to better understand student performance in the foundational skills of literacy and numeracy.

There were 17 Catholic schools listed in ACARA’s national high performing schools’ list. While all states and territories were represented, nine were schools in the Catholic Archdiocese of Canberra & Goulburn reflecting its strong system-wide focus on literacy, which is showing signs of positive improvement in student learning outcomes.

Student attendance data also published on the My School website showed an improvement in attendance rates in Catholic schools to 90.3 per cent, up from 87.9 per cent in 2022, which is 1.7 percentage points higher than the national attendance rate of 88.6 per cent.

Catholic school levels of students who attended 90 per cent of the year or more increased by 14.8 percentage points to 65.4 per cent (50.5 per cent in 2022), and 3.9 percentage points higher than the national average of 61.5 per cent.

“NAPLAN results across Catholic schools are encouraging with schools performing above or well above the national average in all of the domains tested,” National Catholic education executive director Jacinta Collins said.

“However, we know there is still a way to go to lift results for all schools and all students, particularly those experiencing educational disadvantage such as students from lower socio-economic backgrounds, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, and students with disability, as well as those from regional, rural and remote areas.”

The director of Catholic Education Archdiocese of Canberra & Goulburn Ross Fox recognised the dedicated work of their teachers and school leaders and its significant impact on student academic achievement, reflected in this year’s results.

“Acting on the implications for teaching and learning from a deep understanding of the science of reading and the science of learning has been a challenging journey at times over the last three years,” Mr Fox said.

“The schools identified by ACARA have a sustained track record of improving. I know there are many schools able to show similar improvement in student achievement that are not on this list. All students, teachers and school leaders should be very proud.”

St Joseph’s School Hectorville and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College (OLSH), Enfield, were among the high performing South Australian schools.

“This achievement reflects the collective effort and commitment of our students and staff, we are dedicated to continuous improvement as we strive for excellence,” St Joseph’s principal Liz Thomas said.

OLSH principal Maria Urbano also congratulated her school’s staff and students.

“We are proud of their continual level of commitment to teaching and learning and living out the College’s pillar of OLSH education; We are Heart People who Pursue Excellence.”

Principal of St Joseph’s College Toowoomba, Brendon Willocks, said the school was incredibly proud of their students’ achievements in this year’s NAPLAN results, which also saw it placed among the high performing schools in the country.

“Our dedicated teachers and supportive community play a crucial role in helping our students aspire to excellence and reach their full potential,” Mr Willocks said. “These exceptional outcomes serve as one of the many resounding affirmations of the efficacy of our whole school improvement agenda.”

Ms Collins said one of the great strengths of NAPLAN was its ability to highlight areas students could be supported in their learning and where additional resources or early intervention could be applied to improve literacy and numeracy outcomes.

“The National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC) is currently collaborating across the Catholic sector to address student outcomes in mathematics.

“This work includes our Mastery in Mathematics curriculum resources, with the first phase being launched today via the Ochre Education website, will deliver a full year’s worth of high-quality, evidence-based and adaptable teaching resources for Years 7 and 8 mathematics teachers in Catholic schools by the start of the 2024 school year,” Ms Collins said.

“In addition, Catholic Education Canberra Goulburn and Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools are working with Ochre on primary curriculum resources. The NCEC has also published a series of primary mathematics webinars focusing on Effective Mathematics Teaching and are researching early years literacy and developing a reading framework for use across the Catholic sector.”

NCEC is the peak body for Catholic Education in Australia and is responsible for the national coordination and representation of Catholic schools and school authorities. There are 1,759 Catholic schools educating nearly 794,000 or one in five Australian students and employing over 104,500 staff.

For more information go to the My School website.

Image: Students and teachers from St Joseph’s College Toowoomba, one of the nationally recognised high performing schools.