2018: Term 3 Week 1

Principal’s News

The Impact of Mobility Adapted from In Sync with Families, Sept 2017.| Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey

Good Afternoon all,

A very interesting factor that influences South Coogee PS each day is the high level of mobility of families within our school community. By choice or not, learners come and go from our school. Research shows that unless we effectively support new learners, they can lose up to nearly a years’ worth of learning.

So what do we do about it at South Coogee PS?

There are many transient families at South Coogee PS that make up our community. We love the fact that we have a ‘mixed bunch’. Families of varying backgrounds, talents and interests that all come together and make up the ‘South Coogee way’.

In the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, many learners are encouraged to apply for independent and non-secular schools at the end of Year 4 to ensure a position in these schools for their high school years. Other factors lead our families into more suitable housing needs. We also have members of the ADF, who are parents representing our country, and are often away from home for very long periods of time. All three groups are affected by MOBILITY.

In 2009, Professor John Hattie published the largest educational study of its time, looking at what actually works to improve student learning. Ranked 138 out of 138, is unmanaged mobility. When students change schools, their achievement often declines precipitously. The focus drawn from this research is Visible Learning.

The effect size of mobility on student achievement is -.34. That’s right, negative. An effect size is a statistical tool used to aggregate data to determine the average impact of various factors and to explore the size of the difference a factor makes. In education, effect sizes can be used to estimate the number of months or years of learning growth a specific intervention is likely to produce.

Hattie suggested that, in education research, an effect size of .40 for any factor is equivalent to about a year’s worth of learning for a year’s worth of schooling. Thus, a situation in which a student changes schools often would equate to the loss of nearly a year of learning for that learner.

As you know the success at South Coogee PS has derived from the research of Prof Hattie and other educational thinkers who have researched and gained evidence of high effect size practises. Interestingly, Alexandra Smith from the Sydney Morning Herald , March 2016, reported, “students who change schools several times do worse in literacy and numeracy than their peers.”* The statistics are confronting. Further data from 2016 states that in NSW alone, 54 000 government school students change schools each year, 1 in 4 students change schools at least once, 55% of school moves occur during the school year and 1 in 8 schools have high levels of student mobility. (The moves recorded in this data do not include forecast moves such as beginning Year 7 or entering an Opportunity Class nor do they include students in the Independent School sector.)

Why is this so, I hear you ask? Transitioning to a new environment is hard. It impacts the academic, social, emotional, physical and spiritual elements of a child…and their family.

At South Coogee PS we take action to combat these statistics by implementing a comprehensive school-based transition program.

So what do we do?

  • Gather Information from Family Members and Teachers

One reason mobility has such a negative impact is because of lost instructional time. When a new student enrols and the teacher knows nothing about that student, it would take months before the correct scaffolds and supports are in place.

To ensure that there aren’t gaps and redundancies in a student’s learning, we gather as much information from family members as possible. We have developed a checklist of information that we want to obtain so teachers get a better sense of the new student’s learning needs.

  • We are ready for them
    • Their name is on the list, wall or any other class-based identification
    • We have a space for them to learn
    • Supplies (books etc) are ready to start the learning
    • We have a friend show them around the school
    • We consider where they can sit to make peer connections
    • All staff have seen an image and any relevant shared information
  • Foster Friendships

In transitioning to a new school, the key to success is often friendships. Students who make a close, personal friend within the first month of enrolling in a school benefit in academic as well as social ways. In fact this then changes the effect size of Mobility!

  • We encourage learners to find out something about each other and connect
  • We subtly engage new friends in conversations with like-minded peers
  • We have friends intentionally engage new students in social activities and introduce them around

It works here!

We don’t feel that the effect size of mobility is accurate here, or that it is contributing to any gap in student achievement. You can be reassured that the outstanding teaching pedagogy of teachers in knowing what assessment capable visible learners know, understand and do, alleviates the negative effect size that potentially can alter student progress as part of a transient community.

If you have to leave – It will be sad to see you go…

But whether you are an Australian Defence Force family, leaving by choice or moving early to an independent or non secular school; the question you need to ask is:

Is the new school putting into action effective strategies to reduce the impact of mobility on my child’s learning?

Trish Fisher


Deputy Principal’s News

ICAS Science Awards

The following students have received awards in the ICAS Science Assessment:


Patrick A in 3D

CJ C in 3R

Emily B in 3D

Chloe D in 3R

Emma F in 3D

Luca G in 3D

Madelyn H in 3R

Daniel M in 3D

Ely A in 4X

Finn B in 4X

Zoe G in 4S

Antonin M in 4S

Eva N in 4X

Madi S in 4X

Darcy B in 5/6A

Liam L in 5/6M


Asher C in 3J

Ike P in 3R

Joseph Y in 3R

Evan S in 3D

Marley D in 4X

Lia M in 4X

Nicholas F in 5/6J

The certificates for these awards will be presented at next week’s 3-6 Assembly on Thursday 2 August at 2pm.

Education Week Assembly – Thursday 9 August 2018

Education Week is on in Week 3 this term and the theme this year is ‘Today’s schools- creating tomorrow’s world’.

To celebrate this event, on Thursday 9 August we will be holding our Education Week Assembly from 9:30-11:00am in the hall. At this assembly our Semester 2 student leaders will receive their Class Captain and Eco Warrior badges and make their formal pledge as a student leader at SCPS. This assembly will also be an opportunity to see some of our wonderful choirs and dance ensembles.

Parents are welcome to remain at school after the assembly to share morning tea with their children. The P&C are hosting a cake stall for all students, parents, grandparents & carers.

We look forward to seeing you at this wonderful celebration of learning at South Coogee PS.

Kind regards,

Marion Walsh-Gay

Deputy Principal

From the Office


One of the main forms of communication between the school and home is via the Skoolbag App. Please download this to your phone so that you keep up to date with news and information from the school.


Shortly you will be receiving an invoice for fees for Semester 2 (Terms 3 & 4). The Semester 1 invoice (Terms 1 & 2) covered all major school contributions, plus any excursions/incursions or sporting activities that occurred during those terms.

This Semester 2 invoice includes all Term 3 & 4 incursions/excursions, sports, and any outstanding fees.

Just a reminder that the school office is now cashless, so please do not send cash to school with your child. Payments should be made online (via the school website or the Skoolbag app).

Group Photos – Tuesday 7th August

On Tuesday August 7, we will be having our group photos taken. The following table outlines the groups and what students need to wear and/or bring for their photos on the day.

Could you please ensure that your child comes to school in the uniform required for their first photo. However, all students must either wear or bring full school uniform, as they will be required to wear it after their final photo has been taken.

 Photos will be available for purchase after the photo day. More information will be provided as soon as we have the details.