Location: Outer South-Eastern suburbs, Melbourne, Victoria
Kambrya College has a socioeconomically and culturally diverse student population of 1,200. A high number of students are from low-income backgrounds. About 100 students are from non-English speaking backgrounds, many of whom need English language support. Kambrya became well known in 2016 as the subject of the ABC's series Revolution School.
How Kambyra College has used Gonski funding
Kambrya College received $31,500 in Gonski funding in 2016 as part of its total equity funding package. It has been used to continue and expand programs for students needing extra literacy and numeracy support which were started with National Partnerships funding. Additional staff with specialist expertise have been employed and teaching teams have been formed to work closely with different groups of students depending on their particular needs. Money has also been invested in high quality resources to support students with their learning and development. In 2016 Gonksi funding was used to start a new class for students beginning high school who were struggling academically and didn’t have the literacy and numeracy skills needed to be successful at high school.
How Gonski funding has made a difference for students
In 2008 Kambrya’s academic results were among the lowest 10 per cent of schools in Victoria but there has been a remarkable turnaround since that time. Student results in literacy and numeracy are improving at a rate higher than the national average, and Kambrya senior secondary results over the past four years are in the top 25 to 30 per cent of state schools. The principal, Joanne Wastle, says it simply could not have been achieved without need-based funding, first through the National Partnerships and now through Gonski funding.
The ABC’s Revolution School series largely focused on Kambrya’s work with a team of experts from the University of Melbourne over the previous 18 months, without a lot of attention given to the eight years of additional needs-based resourcing. But the school makes the point that it takes time and resources to provide a school environment that supports leadership, teachers and staff to develop more effective teaching and learning practices and improve performance across the board.
What the continuation of Gonski funding means to Kambrya College
Ms Wastle says the remarkable achievements to date are at risk if needs-based Gonski funding does not continue. The improvements brought about by National Partnerships funding were significant, but the time-limited nature of that funding underlines the requirement for long-term needs-based funding, which is what Gonski was designed to deliver.