I am pleased to highlight the publication of the National Catholic Education Commission’s (NCEC) latest discussion paper, ‘Cognitive foundations: Using a theoretical framework for evidence-based reading instruction and assessment‘. The paper was developed under the guidance of Dr Jennifer Buckingham through the NCEC’s Educational Excellence Standing Committee.

It is part of our national strategic priority to support the continual improvement of educational outcomes for all students, and offers an evidence-based framework for teaching and assessing reading. It is intended to serve as a valuable resource for teachers and school leaders, providing guidance to the NCEC’s work and support dioceses and schools in shaping their policy and practice.

We recognise the pivotal role literacy plays in individual success and societal advancement. As educators, you understand firsthand the profound impact that literacy skills have on academic achievement, lifelong learning, post-school success and overall wellbeing.

While our Catholic schools have not been immune to the declining performance trends experienced across all sectors in recent years, we view these challenges as opportunities for growth and improvement. As outlined in the paper, the evidence of what works best in teaching reading literacy is clear: Students need to be able to read words accurately and quickly, coupled with a broad and deep knowledge and facility with language.

I invite you to read the discussion paper and encourage you to consider how these evidence-based approaches can inform your practice and learning outcomes for your students. We invite your feedback on this paper by emailing our educational excellence advisor, Dr Kevin Trimble.  

I take this opportunity to thank Dr Jennifer Buckingham for her contribution to this paper and the Educational Excellence Standing Committee.

I’m also pleased to announce the release of Term 2 Mastery in Mathematics learning resources for Years 7 & 8 teachers. These resources are freely available to all teachers in all sectors via the Ochre Education website

We thank our pilot dioceses in Adelaide, Port Pirie, Canberra-Goulburn, Melbourne and Parramatta, and their teachers and Catholic Schools NSW who have been working with us to create evidence-based resources aligned to the Australian and Victorian curriculum and the NSW syllabus. 

Again, this work is part of our Excellence strategic priority to support school communities and dioceses with quality resources. Further information is available below. 

Jacinta Collins
National Catholic education executive director