Transforming the way we teach reading: Lessons learnt from Churchill Primary

How can schools dramatically improve their students’ reading? Here’s your chance to get insights straight from educators who’ve made it happen.

Date: Wednesday 15 May

Time: 7pm – 8pm AEST

Location: Online

How can schools dramatically improve their students’ reading? Here’s your chance to get insights straight from educators who’ve made it happen.

In this special Grattan Institute online event series, our Deputy Education Program Director, Amy Haywood, will talk with school leaders from two of the case study schools profiled in Grattan’s recent report, The Reading Guarantee: How to give every child the best chance of success.

Churchill Primary School in regional Victoria and Parafield Gardens High School in suburban Adelaide have both overhauled their approach to teaching reading and helping struggling students to catch up – with stunning success.

In this first webinar, Amy will speak with Jacquie Burrows and Halie McColl, the Principal and Learning Specialist from Churchill Primary. They will discuss their school’s switch to a structured reading approach, where students are explicitly and systematically taught key reading skills.

The shift required significant investment in and training of all staff, and for staff to have the confidence to let go of old practices. But the payoffs have been remarkable – student results have increased dramatically, fewer students need catch-up support, and student behaviour has improved too.

Jacquie and Halie will talk about why – and how – they overhauled their approach to teaching reading. And we will set aside time so they can answer your questions.

Whether you’re a school leader, teacher, parent, or anyone passionate about giving all students a fair chance at reading success, you won’t want to miss these valuable insights straight from the classroom.


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Amy Haywood


Amy is the Deputy Director of Grattan Institute’s Education Program. She is a former teacher and brings this practical experience to her work as an education policy researcher. Before joining Grattan, Amy worked as a manager in Deloitte Access Economics’ Education Policy team.

Jacquie Burrows


Jacquie has been a primary school principal and teacher for more than a decade. Over the past six years, Jacquie and her leadership team have led Churchill Primary’s change to a structured literacy approach to teaching reading. Last year, she was named on the Financial Review’s list of most powerful people in education.

Halie McColl


Halie is a Learning Specialist and Classroom Teacher at Churchill Primary School. Outside the classroom, she supports other teachers as an instructional coach in literacy and is involved in the design and management of the school’s knowledge-rich curriculum.