Gonski drives student success

Gonski has given Caboolture East State School resources to refine its teaching culture and give its students support to overcome barriers to learning.

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Caboolture East State School, north of Brisbane, has used Gonski to lift the performance of students and turn itself into a high-achieving school

Principal Julieanne Wilson says Gonski has given the school the resources it needs to refine its teaching culture and to give its 700 students the support they need to overcome barriers to learning.

The school’s motto is: “No matter my journey, my pathway to success starts here” and Ms Wilson says Gonski has allowed the school to start thinking for the long-term and not put limits on what students can achieve.

Caboolture East has high numbers of students from low-SES backgrounds and with disability and through use of Gonski funding has recorded strong improvement in results and developed strong links with its local community.

Better teaching, better results

Staff at Caboolture have been able to use its extra resources to focus on four areas: Reading, Numeracy, Writing and “Upper Two Bands” which focuses on its Gifted Students in the top bands of NAPLAN achievement.

They have developed reading, writing and maths programs to ensure consistency in practice across the school, and Gonski funding has also allowed investment in improving teaching practice.

Staff have more time for professional development and to work together on improvement, and the school has been able to employ pedagogical leaders to focus solely on ensuring a consistent approach to teaching in the school.

Mrs Wilson says the school now has a culture where it is normal for staff to watch each others’ lessons and learn from them, and where a cycle of feedback is encouraged.

She says building the skills of teachers, benefits the whole school and helps retain staff by developing their passion for teaching.

For Gifted students the school uses the “Impact” program which is quite expensive to run but which has had great results in challenging and extending Gifted students.

The school is also now able to run programs in conjunction with local universities and TAFEs to show students the opportunities they have after they leave school.

Student improvement is obvious

For reading and maths (and for writing from 2016), students are given diagnostic tests at the start and end of each term. Teachers are able to use this data to inform their teaching and allows the school to track student’s improvements and plan for future targeted area.

The vast majority of NAPLAN data also shows that Caboolture East is consistently improving and the school has seen jumps in NAPLAN data that correlate directly with its focus areas.   

Mrs Wilson says that the school wants to use the full six years of Gonski to enhance the STEM (Science, Technology, Mathematics and Engineering) teaching expertise because these are subjects which will be crucial for their students’ future in the workforce.

Maintaining the full six years of Gonski funding is crucial for Caboolture East – both to extend its existing programs and ensure it has the resources to keep its standards of teaching high and provide professional development to new staff.

Mrs Wilson says that Gonski has given the school some control and certainty over its funding but it needs the full six years to give its students the support and opportunities they need. 


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