Staff at Parafield Gardens High School explain why they implemented MTSS, what the different tiers of intervention look like and what impact they have seen. Parafield Gardens High School is a low-SES government school located 30 minutes north of Adelaide, with many students coming from diverse backgrounds.
Watch MTSS at Parafield Gardens High School (SA) on YouTube.

Duration: 3:39


Kirsty Amos, Principal: Parafield Gardens High School is a large secondary school just north of Adelaide. Approximately 45% of our students speak English as a second language. We have 92 First Nations students. It's a really amazing, diverse, inclusive culture, which we've worked really hard to create.

Beth Pontifex, English Coordinator: Our mainstream classes across Parafield range from 16 students, up to 30 students in a classroom. Lots of our teachers here at Parafield are really open and really willing to trying new things and learning new things. And we've been really lucky that our leadership team has given us as much support as possible to cater for all those students.

Kirsty Amos: A number of our young people were coming to secondary school, but not meeting the standard of education in terms of literacy and numeracy. So we really needed to think about why that was and see if we could do something to change it.

Stasha Demosthenous, Literacy Lead Teacher: A multi-tiered system of supports supports schools in identifying struggling students early and allows them to intervene quickly, so that way then the gaps don't become any larger than what they might already be. Our students, across the tiers of learning here, receive the support and instruction that they actually need. And when they get that, then they are more engaged, they're achieving more success, and it's just a complete flow-on effect and it just keeps going and going.

Kirsty Amos: The Tier 1 interventions are basically the vocab instructional routine and our before, during and after reading activities. And that happens in all subjects across the curriculum: 7 to 12.

Beth Pontifex: When we move to that Tier 2 is where we've got 2 teachers, a couple of SSOs in the room supporting as well. And then our Tier 3 is virtually our one-on-one speech pathologist, Year 7 student, 40-minute session – really targeted.

Christine D’Arcy, Senior Speech Pathologist: Our reading intervention at Tier 2 and Tier 3 is a systematic synthetic phonics program. It aims to improve the students' phonic-decoding and word-reading skills and their sound-awareness skills. So we're looking to see progress in their phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, phonic decoding and word-reading fluency, and their ability to read and write words. We have one single 40-minute lesson and one double 80-minute lesson per week, totaling 120 minutes. Our trained SSOs, who support our teachers in the Tier 2 class, also deliver Tier 3 intervention. They each have a student from those classrooms who have been identified as needing more intensity in a one on one. So, those students are now getting 120 minutes of Tier 2, plus another 80 minutes of Tier 3, to help close the gap for them and prevent them from needing further intervention the following year.

Beth Pontifex: We've had lots of really positive outcomes from our tiers of intervention here at Parafield. Whether you are speaking academically, and you're actually looking at students' diagnostic testing and pre- and post-results, but also wellbeing and engagement in our other classes.

Stasha Demosthenous: When you see them so happy to finally get it and then so excited to see their results, it's incredibly rewarding and it's nice to see that what we're doing is working. I love working in this space. I really do.

Keywords: multi-tiered system of supports