Anyone who visits a school where Gonski funding is being delivered can see the positive difference extra resources are making to students.
Now a new report details the individual stories of schools which are using their increased funding to change students’ lives - proof of how Gonski is working.
The AEU’s Getting Results: Gonski funding in Australian schools was launched today and profiles 24 schools which are using increased funding to lift student results.
This is the evidence which confirms Gonski funding is a targeted investment which is improving the lives of children across Australia.
That makes it even more difficult to understand why Malcolm Turnbull will not commit to the full six years of Gonski funding, leaving our schools at least $3 billion short of the funding they need to properly educate all their students.
Why would any politician want to stop Gonski funding halfway through when we know that it is making a difference?
Resources create opportunities
Sarah Rudling, principal of Barrack Heights in NSW, spoke at the launch today and outlined how her school had used Gonski funding to create special classes for students with learning difficulties.
This, combined with extra one-to-one support, had allowed many of these students to catch up to their peers and rejoin mainstream classes.
As Sarah said: “Good teaching is labour intensive, we need to invest time in children to get the rewards, and that takes money that too many schools don’t have without Gonski”.
She is just one of 24 principals whose schools are featured in the report, and are given the chance to tell in detail exactly how Gonski funding is making a difference to them.
The schools come from NSW, SA and Queensland – the three States where Gonski funding has been delivered directly to schools since 2014.
Each school has a different story to tell, because every school has their own unique challenges and each has used Gonski in a different way.
Some schools have tackled literacy and numeracy, others have focused on student engagement or lifting Year 12 results through mentoring and one-to-one support.
All of them have used Gonski funding to provide extra individual support and programs for students, giving them opportunities to succeed they didn’t have before.
All have been able to deliver real, tangible improvements for their students in just a few years – whether this is measured by NAPLAN results, attendance and Year 12 completion rates, or university offers.
Here are four schools profiled in the report and doing great things with their Gonski funding:
- Merrylands Public School in Sydney has lifted its HSC results and doubled the number of students receiving university offers in three years thanks to targeted literacy and numeracy programs and one-to-one support for students in upper years.
- Paralowie R-12 School in Adelaide has used Gonski funding to provide individual support to students with disability or learning difficulty and lift their results. Students are improving three times faster than expected in literacy.
- Minimbah State School in Queensland has lifted literacy rates through targeted programs and professional development to lift the quality of teaching. It is also offering speech therapy and hearing tests to ensure it identifies problems that may be stopping children learning.
- Rooty Hill High School in western Sydney has used Gonski funding to give its disadvantaged students the literacy skills and support they need to achieve at school. The school has seen its HSC scores lift thanks to more individual support for students
Targeting disadvantage works
Most of the schools in this report have high levels of disadvantage.
They have high numbers of student from low-SES backgrounds, students from refugee backgrounds with limited English skills, Indigenous students or students with high levels of disability and learning difficulties.
This means many students have complex challenges which needed extra help – from in-class support, extra literacy and numeracy programs and specialists like speech pathologists.
This report is evidence that results improve dramatically when they get this help.
That backs the key recommendation of the Gonski Review: that the best use of resource in our school system is to focus on the schools with high numbers of disadvantaged students.
While Gonski has already achieved great results, the principals in the report agree that their schools need the full six years of Gonski funding to ensure that every student who needs help can get it.
Rooty Hill principal Chris Cawsey says that:
“With the full Gonski we believe we can start to break the cycle of poverty for our poorest students, for all our students to ensure they all have the potential to succeed beyond school.”
Research has shown the huge economic benefits of ensuring all kids leave school with the basic skills they need for work.
We know that needs-based Gonski funding is working to lift results and give kids the best chance of making the most of their education.
We need Malcolm Turnbull to match Labor’s commitment to the full six years of Gonski.