Hero: Supporting Innovative NSW Primary Schools to Reach Heroic Heights

Hero: Supporting Innovative NSW Primary Schools to Reach Heroic Heights

Did you know that Hero has been one of the tools helping New South Wales primary schools and their students reach their goals?

With a focus on student agency, visible learning and community engagement, NSW and New Zealand primary schools share a close pedagogical alignment. If you’re familiar with Hero, you’ll know that this future-focussed approach is at the heart of our vision. Afterall, it’s what sparked the creation of our student management software back in 2008!

In 2019, NSW Department of Education staff crossed the ditch on a pedagogical expedition with Social Ventures Australia (SVA), where they saw a number of schools, including The Gardens School (Auckland), flying in their use of Hero. They saw a demonstration of how Hero could make learning visible, increase community engagement, encourage student agency and reflection, and sustainably pave the way forward. They were shown both the administrative functions, as well as the digital student portfolios and live reporting.

“We are part of something that could revolutionise the way we communicate, teach, assess, report and empower students and parents to be actively involved in education.” (iSee Learning Project - Our Journey - video).

The Hero software was trialled in a cluster of NSW primary schools in mid 2020, with teachers and students utilising Hero from the start of the 2021 school year.

The Hero Factor: which functionalities were available to these NSW schools?

Digital Learning Portfolios

Students have the ability to share their learning through posting evidence in the form of rich media, documents and images to their profile, making learning visible for teachers and caregivers. Through their primary years, they build a digital portfolio of their learning which, when woven with teacher feedback, creates rich learning stories that move with them.

Student Agency Through Goal Setting

Hero empowers students to set and achieve their own learning goals in close collaboration with teachers, aligning with the New South Wales curriculum and personalised learning plans. Students take charge of their learning through regular reflection and ongoing learning conversations.

Real-Time Reporting

Hero’s online, real-time reporting functionality serves to foster collaboration in the classroom, and strengthen partnerships between home and school. The ability to access evidence of learning, progress and goal updates enables parents to receive meaningful, up-to-date information about their children’s learning.

Visible Learning

One of Hero's superpowers is the transparency it offers for teachers, students and families to understand student progress and growth, where they are working in the curriculum and what their next steps are at any given time. The online, real time reporting style which Hero encourages prompts intentional recording of learning, to paint a holistic picture of growth and achievement as it happens. Growth goal setting, made visible through Hero, supports students in becoming self-directed, through which they grow to become life-long learners.

“Learning intentions and success criteria are displayed in ‘learner friendly’ language to help our learners know ‘Where am I going?’, ‘How am I going?, and ‘Where to next?’. Our goal, as teachers, is to develop learners who can set goals, articulate what they are learning and know what their next learning steps are. Successful learners strive to use self-regulation strategies when assessing their own work, they ask questions and actively seek feedback.”

Taken from: https://www.southcoogeepublicschool.com/visible-learning/

Community Engagement

Parents can see personalised teachers comments, their child(ren)’s reflections, work samples and even digital badges which may have been awarded. Hero facilitates rich family engagement, where they can actively join the learning conversation and strengthen 3-way learning partnerships through posting, commenting and reacting to content - from anywhere, anytime.

Streamlining Work

Teacher’s time is too valuable to be spent wrangling administrative tasks and navigating app overload. Hero does the heavy lifting - a centralised hub for internal information, assessment data, student progress evidence, learning goals, real-time reporting and easy analysis tools.

Fit, Functional and Flexible for the NSW Context

Our team has worked closely with the Lead facilitator of the iSeeLearning Project, the NSW schools and their in-school facilitators to customise Hero for NSW schools, aligning with the NSW Department of Education’s regulations and reporting requirements.

We’ve been by their side every step of the way, ensuring that Hero powers NSW primary schools as effectively as we do in hundreds of New Zealand primary schools (and a growing cluster in South East Asia)!

NSW specific templates

Hero has a NSW specific template for primary schools, directly reflecting the NSW curriculum and context. Assessments that are templated in Hero and being utilised in NSW primary schools include:

  • Running records

  • Educheck: letter sounds and phonemic skills

  • L3: Vocabulary and Hearing and Recording Sounds in Words

  • Jolly Phonics: sounds and tricky words

  • Letters and Sounds program tracking tool

  • LIPI 1 & 2

  • Phonics Hero program tracking tool

  • Phonological Awareness Diagnostic

  • South Australian Spelling Test

  • Sutherland Phonological Awareness Test

  • PAT

  • SENA 1, 2, 3 & 4


  • Nationally Consistent Collection of Data (NCCD)

Internal pages and custom tags

Behaviour, Wellbeing, Learning Support, Medical Incidents and Parent Contact pages have been customised and tags created for NSW specific and diverse contexts.

Learning Goals

It is important to get the goal templates right for our schools and so our Heroic NSW Schools “received permission from ACARA to use Version 3 of the Literacy and Numeracy Progressions as learning goals which were aligned with syllabus expectations and tracked against a five point scale in six month milestones. Literacy and Numeracy experts from each school collaboratively reworded the 'teacher speak' in the learning goals into student and parent friendly language. This is making learning accessible to all stakeholders'' (iSee Learning Project - Our Journey). This approach has ensured consistency across the schools.

Digital Badges

Achievement should be celebrated! Hero’s Digital Badging functionality gives recognition to students as they reach key milestones in the holistic learning journey, celebrating new achievements or skills acquired. Our NSW Schools are utilising digital badging for Literacy and Numeracy Progressions, as they complete a set of learning goals within a level of learning. Some of our NSW heroes are also using the digital badging feature to “represent their learner dispositions/qualities, in preparation for creating a set of levelled learning goals for these skills” (iSee Learning Project - Our Journey).

Individual School Customisations

When we say that Hero is customisable for schools, we really mean it! After aligning key aspects of the Hero software for the NSW context, we supported schools in further customising their sites. Through Hero’s flexible functionality, our NSW heroes can access a platform that reflects their unique school context and requirements, with check-ins and professional learning sessions to help along the way.

Ready to Reach Heroic Heights?

After working through this trial period with the NSW primary schools involved in the iSee Learning Project, Hero is eager and ready to take to the skies in NSW! We’re thrilled to be engaging with more schools in NSW to support them achieve their goals - making learning more visible, and putting students at the centre of their learning.

Explore our New South Wales website: https://our-hero.com/nsw/

Hero’s full package offering will be available to New South Wales schools in 2022!

To register your interest and stay in the Hero loop, click here!