Head of science faculty
Brighton Grammar School (Vic)

Since becoming head of secondary science at Brighton Grammar School, Patrick Sanders has been a man on a mission. Sanders was committed to finding a way to lift standards in science education at Brighton Grammar. He worked with subject leaders to drive a full-scale rewrite of the science curriculum. But, according to his nominating colleague, the “real magic” is the fact that Sanders influenced a shift in focus from delivering content, to how to deliver that content. Teaching practice, that colleague says, has changed for the better.

After completing an analysis of the school’s Year 12 science results for the last three years, Sanders determined that, by improving academic literacy in science, ATAR scores would also improve. Collaborating with the school’s P-8 literacy coach, he trialled and implemented literacy enhancement tactics from Robert J Marzano’s ‘Six Step Process for Teaching Academic Vocabulary’ model. And then, to empower other members of staff to use this method, Sanders created an instructional video to teach staff how to apply Marzano’s method in their classes, regardless of subject.

Sanders has also driven a project to lift academic outcomes by producing a Year 7–12 rubric to achieve consistent marking and language for science practical reports. This involved his collaboration with university experts, teachers from other schools, and his own team. The result – after an investment of more than 150 hours of work – was the development of a Year 7–12 unit-by-unit assessment rubric.

Sanders has written several chapters for the new VCE chemistry textbook and digital platforms for Pearson, and has presented at several conferences.

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