Through Fresh Eyes

Prairiewood High School

The case study refers to leadership reflections as new leaders in a small Sydney High School (360 students). The school leaders focused on enhancing community profile in order to build enrolments and community confidence in the school.

Case Study

The case-study uses a range of contemporary evaluation rolls for strategic planning and evaluative thinking and unpacks the role of culture and context in evidenced based practice. The session specifically:

  • Evaluated the need to reason and explicitly unpack a problem of practice
  • Considered a range assessment and reflection processes
  • Reflected on context and culture and its importance in successful school evaluation and change

Participants used the processes of the case study to address a contextual problem of practice in their school community.


The concluding learnings shared by the presenters included:

  • Importance of critically analysing data at all stages of the project- make data bespoke
  • Processes are elastic, not static, we need to abandon a rigid continuum model and allow for more loops
  • Purpose: Always be clear about ‘the why’- when the focus becomes on compliance and timeline and the ‘why’ is lost, the true focus of the work is lost and staff buy in diminishes
  • You should be able to defend the evaluation as methodically and conceptually robust
  • Evaluative thinking is important mindset and skill set; it’s important to ask the right questions and suspend judgement. Be open to alternative explanations

Specific reference to Gonski 2.0


Recommendation 21:

Enhance school and system internal self-review and external quality assurance processes, for the purposes of monitoring and reviewing student learning gain and achievement.



Finding 17:

To sustain continuous improvement, Australian schools need access to: valid and reliable evidence of effective teaching practice; independent and rigorous evaluations of commercial and other teaching and educational interventions; and the most recent findings on educational innovation and research – in an accessible format that can be readily translated into classroom use.

Through Fresh Eyes Handout