Harristown State High School

Location: Toowoomba, QLD

Harristown State High School, located in Toowoomba Qld, has an enrolment of about 1600 students, 75% of whom are from low-income backgrounds. Indigenous students comprise 13% of enrolments, and about 14% are students from non-English-speaking backgrounds representing about 32 different countries. The school has a Special Education Program delivered through an on-site Special Education Unit as well as an off-campus program located at Toowoomba West Special School.

How Harristown State High School has used Gonski funding

Over the period 2014-2016, Harristown SHS has received approximately $1,700,000 in Gonski funding. Key objectives to which the use of this money has been directed are improvements in Yr 7 & Yr 9 NAPLAN reading, spelling and numeracy results, and significantly increasing the number of Yr 12 student attaining their Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE).

A new maths program was introduced, and supported with more teaching staff to allow for creation of flexible student groups, and additional teacher aide time to provide in-class support for both numeracy and literacy. New resources to support student literacy and numeracy skills development were also purchased, and release provided to give teachers time for data analysis, and to prepare individual learning plans for students not achieving NAPLAN National Minimum Standards.

A part-time data analysis position now supports identification of individual students’ QCE attainments and targeting specific strategies as required.

At-risk students for NAPLAN in Yrs 7-9, and for QCE in Yrs 10-12 are supported through a part-time Youth Support Co-Ordinator positon, and school attendance rate improvement targets are supported with additional administrative officer time.

How Gonski funding has made a difference for students

Principal Ken Green says that Harristown SHS has made significant, statistically verifiable progress towards the targets it set for use of the funding, including over 95% of Yr 7 and over 93% of Yr 9 reaching National Minimum Standards in both literacy and numeracy for 2015, together with 93% of Yr 12 students completing their QCE.

What the continuation of Gonski funding means to Harristown State High School

Says Mt Green, “Gonski gave the school the chance to finally implement plans and strategies that have previously only been able to be dreamt about. Having seen how successful they have been, it would be letting down students and the community for it to be discontinued.”

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