Monica St Baker

Hanwood Public School, NSW

Teaching Fellow

Despite the challenges of its small size and remoteness, Principal Monica St Baker has embedded contemporary teaching philosophies at Hanwood Public School, and students’ achievements are improving in response.

She has introduced a new flexibility – both in the curriculum, which now supports project-based learning, and in the use of classroom space, encouraging the primary students to, “explore greater levels of academic growth, with feedback, success criteria and reflection.”

Three years in, teachers are mentoring each other in the new approaches, while parents say students are more excited about learning and families more involved.

The community is also part of the transition; teachers regularly invite local people to talk to students about their work or other expertise.

Project work has lifted writing skills above the Australian average in Year 5 NAPLAN, and Hanwood has also risen two bands against the School Excellence Framework.