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Chifley College Shalvey Campus

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Location: Shalvey, Western Sydney

Ours is a school which is one of the most disadvantaged schools in the state according to every measure. Many students have low self esteem and have little understanding of building positive relationships and this adversely affects their learning. There are significant undiagnosed learning disabilities.

How has your school used its Gonski funding?

We have employed two additional staff to support lower numbers of students in Stage 4 classes and relief for teachers of each class to meet and determine learning needs. We also implemented a Rock and Water program in all classes to specifically address social and emotional learning. One more teacher was employed to maintain a learning centre where students can work in a one on one situation with a specialist teacher. This centre also acts as a respite for students.

How has Gonski made a positive difference for students?

The Stage 4 arrangement has meant that students have less teachers and more time learning how to learn and how to develop positive relationships with others. There has been a significant decrease in the numbers of suspensions (35%)and negative referrals (56%) since the introduction of the 'Teams'. approach in Stage 4. By having fewer teachers, each team of teachers is able to meet regularly to determine the academic and social needs of the students and plan a course of action. They plot individual progress on literacy numeracy, and personal and social capabilities continuums and are able to discuss success and needs with students to set goals for their future learning. Teachers are also able to refer students more easily to the learning centre for further investigation or for more intensive support.

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

To maintain this success further Gonski funding is imperative. This school sees the success of working with smaller groups of teachers as vital to the continued success of students. Teachers have the opportunity to work collaboratively and students benefit from having a team of teachers collectively work on a plan for improvement for them. The school is more settled with fewer discipline issues. Further funding would also enable the school to continue development of a Gifted and Talented program to encourage and better prepare students for a university pathway.

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