Warwick Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - MAR­IAN FAA Mar­ian.Faa@war­wick­dai­

RE­SULTS are in and smaller schools around the South­ern Downs have shown they are a cut above the rest when it comes to meet­ing na­tional min­i­mum stan­dards in ed­u­ca­tion.

Anal­y­sis of data from the 2018 NA­PLAN test­ing shows schools such as Wheat­vale State School and St Pa­trick’s State School in Al­lora are per­form­ing best in most ar­eas of pri­mary school test­ing.

Every Year 3 and 5 stu­dent from Wheat­vale achieved above the na­tional stan­dard in every cat­e­gory, ex­cept read­ing.

The NA­PLAN test­ing mea­sures core skills in read­ing, writ­ing, gram­mar and punc­tu­a­tion, spell­ing and nu­mer­acy.

Go­ing from a school with more than 30 kids in one class, the move to Wheat­vale State School was one Deuchar par­ent An­drew Dunn has never re­gret­ted, de­spite the longer com­mute each day.

Two years af­ter the big move, Mr Dunn’s eight-yearold son Peter sat the NA­PLAN test for the first time.

He said a re­laxed at­ti­tude from teach­ers made stu­dents feel pre­pared for the exam, which mea­sures stu­dents in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 through­out Aus­tralia.

“They took a re­ally soft ap­proach in the lead-up and it wasn’t an is­sue at all,” Mr Dunn said.

“I think they did things to make the kids feel like it was some­thing spe­cial and not a test.”

Mr Dunn sees first­hand the level of care and at­ten­tion stu­dents at Wheat­vale re­ceive when he helps out with par­ent read­ing on a Thurs­day morn­ing.

“Your cer­tainly get an idea of the stan­dard and if the kids are hav­ing any prob­lems they get su­per­vised very well,” he said.

Peter shares a com­bined Year 3 and 4 class­room with 13 other stu­dents.

“I think they are less likely to fall through the cracks in a small school,” Mr Dunn said.

But go­ing be­yond an aca­demic fo­cus could be the key to Wheat­vale’s suc­cess.

Mr Dunn said the school com­mu­nity cre­ated a fun and sup­port­ive en­vi­ron­ment that made chil­dren want to go to school.

“Even when we were on hol­i­days, Peter was ask­ing to go back to class,” Mr Dunn said.

“I think if a stu­dent is go­ing to be suc­cess­ful they need to be happy at school – if they don’t like the en­vi­ron­ment they won’t have their think­ing cap on all the time.”

Other small schools around the South­ern Downs stacked up when the re­sults came in.

Every Year 3 stu­dent at St Pa­trick’s School in Al­lora achieved above the min­i­mum stan­dard in writ­ing, spell­ing and gram­mar and punc­tu­a­tion.

Year 5 stu­dents ranked highly in read­ing and nu­mer­acy.

Scots PGC Col­lege in War­wick also stood out with high achiev­ers across the board.

. For a full break­down of NA­PLAN re­sult from schools across the South­ern Downs visit the War­wick Daily News web­site.

Photo: So­phie Lester

A LOVE FOR LEARN­ING: Wheat­vale State School was one of the best per­form­ing schools in the South­ern Downs re­gion.

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