Innovation and Agility
In a year significantly impacted by COVID-9 restrictions, WBHS once again demonstrated innovation and agility in providing a quality education for all students. Parents and staff worked closely together to ensure minimal disruption to learning as we transitioned from face-to-face teaching to online learning and back again. For more than three months, our dedicated teachers developed and posted quality learning materials to an online learning platform and conducted lessons via regular cloud-based conferences.
These efforts were strongly supported by our Technology Support Team, who ensured that all students had access to computers and the internet, and our very capable and compassionate Welfare Team who made thousands of phone calls to check on the wellbeing of our students and provide targeted support to our students and their families.
Throughout 2021, WBHS provided learning support to our Stage 6 students via our Senior Study - a dedicated space within the school Library supervised by experienced and enthusiastic members of staff. Students engaged with a structured study skills program, completed independent study, worked on assessment tasks, and participated in collaborative learning activities in a safe and supportive learning environment. Our Careers Adviser provided support and advice on post-school opportunities and preparation for the workforce. Tutorials were conducted by subject specialists, and research assistance and a diverse range of resources were also accessed by our senior students.
Commendable HSC Results
Despite significant disruptions to their senior studies, our Year 12 students achieved commendable results in the HSC. Our students achieved 32 Band 6's and 161 Band 5's across 30 courses.
One of our students was recognised as a Top Achiever, placing third in the state in Design and Technology and 19 students were named as Distinguished Achievers. The work of our students was shortlisted for HSC showcases and exhibitions including ARTEXPRESS and First Class (Visual Arts). Further details are provided elsewhere on this website.
Outstanding Commitment to Professional Learning
To support the provision of quality learning experiences for our students, WBHS teachers completed hundreds of hours of professional learning. Courses addressing such diverse issues as explicit teaching, differentiation, high potential and gifted education, literacy, numeracy, assessment and feedback, student wellbeing and leadership. These were completed almost exclusively online as COVID-19 restrictions were applied.
Effective collaborative practice was evident in every faculty. Expertise was readily shared, quality programs and learning materials were collegially developed, and personal and professional support was always forthcoming.
Accreditation of Early Career Teachers
Three of our Early Career Teachers successfully attained accreditation from the NSW Education Standards Authority as Proficient Teachers. They were ably supported throughout the year by supervisors and colleagues who provided ongoing mentoring, coaching and targeted professional learning. A further four teachers formally maintained their Proficient Teacher accreditation, demonstrating that their teaching practice continues to meet the requirements of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.
Record Number of Students Receive Early Entry to University Courses
Despite the impact of COVID-19 restrictions, a record number of WBHS students received early entry to university courses in 2021. While the ATAR continues to be the main selection tool used by most universities, many also use alternative means of assessing a student’s ability to succeed in tertiary education. Students were accepted into a diverse array of programs including architecture, engineering, information technology, law, science, teaching, nursing and the arts.
Best Practice Teams
Our cross-faculty Best Practice Teams continued their great work in developing the capacity of both teaching and non-teaching staff to guide us towards the achievement of our School Improvement Plan targets. Intensive evidence- based, locally developed professional learning was undertaken by all teachers in the areas of Literacy, Numeracy, Explicit Teaching and Future Focused Learning, utilising the considerable expertise of staff members.
Professional Experience Placements for Teacher Education Students
In year once again impacted by COVID-19 restrictions, Warners Bay High School provided mentoring support to 26 students from the University of Newcastle. Twenty-two of these pre-service teachers were enrolled in Undergraduate programs and four in Post-graduate studies.
Eight pre-service teachers who commenced their placements with the expectation that they would be teaching face-to-face, were required to adapt to the online learning environment as students worked from home. Despite these unusual circumstances, all eight of these students successfully completed their Professional Experience placements, thanks in no small part to the dexterity of their colleague teachers. The time and effort invested by the teachers who mentored these students and the faculties who hosted them in these extraordinary times was greatly appreciated.
WBHS also provided professional support and resources to ten Hunter Region schools who hosted a further 79 pre-service teachers.
Hub School Program
Warners Bay High School continued to work in close partnership with the University of Newcastle on the Department of Education Professional Experience Hub School Program throughout 2021. Two formal research projects were completed: one assessing the impact of professional experience placements on the preparedness of the Early Career Teacher, and the other examining the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on professional experience placements. The results of these investigations are to be published in a Springer publication in 2022.
WBHS staff members also participated in a research project examining the role of School Co-ordinators in successful professional experience placements. The findings of this research were published by the Department of Education and were used to inform quality sustainable practices in professional experience placements.
WBHS was successful in its application to continue to operate as a Hub School in phase two of this program and will be working closely with the University of Newcastle to further improve the professional experiences of pre-service students across the state.
High Potential and Gifted Education
During 2021 a new High Potential and Gifted Education Policy was implemented across all Department of Education schools. This policy promotes engagement and challenge for every student across the intellectual, creative, social-emotional and physical domains of potential. Warners Bay High School’s HPGE Steering Committee conducted a deep evaluation of our existing procedures, programs and practices, to ensure they reflect contemporary research and best practice. New targets and strategies for talent development are now embedded in our school’s Strategic Improvement Plan.