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Cessnock Public School

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Location: Lower Hunter Valley, New South Wales

Cessnock Public School is a primary school in the lower Hunter Valley of New South Wales. The school has an enrolment of around 320 students. A significant number of the school’s students are from low-income families. Approximately 20 per cent of the student population are of Aboriginal heritage. The school has a special education unit which caters for students with disabilities.

How has your school used its Gonski funding?

Cessnock Public School has been very careful in its use of Gonski funding in the pursuit of optimal student outcomes. Funding has been used to enhance the school’s technology resources, including laptop computers and iPads; speech pathology services have been made available to a very significant number of students across our school; SLSOs have been employed to support students experiencing difficulty with their learning; a range of specific learning programs have been implemented across the school, including programs to assist students experiencing specific difficulties with literacy and numeracy, a visual arts program for students with an interest and talent in this area and an Aboriginal Education program which focuses specifically upon our school’s Aboriginal students.

How has Gonski made a positive difference for students?

There is no doubt Gonski funding has made an enormous difference to students in our school. Students participating in one-on-one and small group targeted support programs for literacy and numeracy have clearly improved their skills, understanding and confidence in these fundamental areas. Those students who have been a part of visual arts activities have clearly gained skills and confidence from these activities and are more engaged with school overall. Aboriginal students who participate in weekly activities based around Aboriginal culture and literacy are without question more engaged in school activities. These students have also developed an enormous sense of pride in their Aboriginal culture and, as a result, have developed a much improved sense of confidence in themselves and their ability to succeed with their studies.

What could your school do with Gonski funding in the future?

Provision of the full Gonski funding model at Cessnock Public school would allow teachers to more fully support our students achieve their full academic potential. The achievements made so far with a fraction of the full model would be significantly amplified, bringing benefit not only to our students, but benefit to our broader local community.

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