Gonski Boosting Literacy

Extra resources have helped Eagleby South State School lift literacy and numeracy and better support students with disability. 


Gonski helping teachers help kids
Targeted funding has created a motivated and well-supported team of teachers who are working together to lift students’ literacy rates.
Principal Andrew Barnes says Gonski has recognised the school’s high needs and has allowed it to build a motivated and well-supported team of teachers who were delivering great results for their students.
Eagleby South State School is a Prep to Year 7 school near Logan City, halfway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast. The majority of its students are from the lowest SES quartile and around 20 per cent have English as a second language.
The school has high numbers of enrolments from outside its local area, due in part to the school’s success in educating at risk children, including a number of students in out-of-home care who are enrolled at the school.

Helping teachers focus on literacy and numeracy
Mr Barnes says Gonski funding is helping support teachers in the classroom and improve what they do, and this has been the key to the school’s success.
“We have focused on lifting literacy and numeracy for all students because these are the basics of a child’s learning,” he said.
With its Gonski funding the school has been able to:

  • Employ and train extra teacher aides with a focus on Prep to Year 3 literacy.
  • Introduce ‘Rip-it Up Reading’, a program designed to address students’ Working Memory difficulties.
  • Bring in an expert pedagogical coach to support school-wide approaches to literacy and numeracy teaching and a new reading framework.
  • Focus on identifying and supporting students with intellectual disabilities.

Results lifting for all kids
The results have been swift and dramatic. Between 2013 and 2015 the school’s NAPLAN results soared.
In all areas of NAPLAN for both Years 3 and 5, the percentage of students attaining the minimum standards is now around the national average. The school is now performing ‘substantially above’ the expected level of improvement since 2008 in all areas of NAPLAN, with strong results in Writing in particular.

For the youngest students, those in Years 1 and 2, over 50 per cent of the school’s junior cohort is now reading at age level, and Eagleby South’s grade 6 and 7 cohorts have over 70 per cent of students reading at age level, up from 50 per cent in 2013.

This is just the start
Mr Barnes says that the results show that targeted funding can help turn around results in a low-SES school and that investing in children in the early years of school can pay off quickly.
“National Partnerships funding provided a foundation for improvement but Gonski funding has provided the means build on these foundations,” Mr Barnes said.
But the school’s needs are still high and it is eagerly waiting for increases in funding so it can keep expanding its programs.
With the full six years of Gonski it would be able to increase the number of Teacher Aides for literacy and numeracy, and allow the school to buy extra Learning Support specialist hours to improve students’ writing outcomes.
It would also allow the purchase of extra Guidance Officer time to assist in assessment and identification of special needs and disability.
“This is a major issue for us, and many other low SES schools. Although 12 per cent of students have a verified disability we have many others who need support in class.”
Many Eagleby South students don’t have access to information technology at home and the school wants to provide more IT resources so students don’t miss out on access to computers and information.
“We need to make sure that our kids don’t miss out on opportunities because of where they live or where they go to school. Gonski is helping us do that,” Mr Barnes said.

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