Hayes Park Public School
Location: Dapto, suburban Wollongong, New South Wales
Hayes Park has 540 students in 21 mainstream classes and a support class for students with moderate to severe intellectual disabilities. Two-thirds of the school’s students are from low-income backgrounds and the number is growing. Indigenous students make up 6 per cent of the school population and 8 per cent of students are from a non-English speaking background.
How Hayes Park Public School has used Gonski funding
Hayes Park Public School received around $109,000 in needs-based Gonski funding in 2015, $135,000 in 2016 and $285,000 in 2017. Hayes Park has created new positions and increased hours of specialist staff in order to more effectively case manage students with particular literacy and numeracy learning support needs, including a fully qualified speech therapist one day a week. Funds have been used to employ a specialist teacher to coordinate the running of the Learning Lab over the period of a year, through topping up the department’s allocation. A computer coordinator is now employed one day a week to improve the quality of the school’s technology and staff and student access and use of IT.
How Gonski funding has made a difference for students
Hayes Park Principal Phil Seymour says the additional funding has made a significant impact on the learning and performance of students. “This is the first time we have ever had any supplementary funds that we can utilise to meet the particular needs of our students. Whilst it is early days yet, we are confident that the results will continue and more and more of our students will reach their potential in literacy.”
The Learning Lab has been the most successful Gonski-funded initiative. It is an intensive program of 40-minute sessions five days per week, and 96 children having ‘graduated’ since Term 3, 2015. At the end of Term 4 2016, 46 students were in the program with an average growth of 7.5 reading levels, with 24 per cent of students achieving growth of 10 or more reading levels.
What the continuation of Gonski funding means to Hayes Park Primary School
Mr Seymour says the Learning Lab and other initiatives are an incredible benefit to the school’s students, staff and community and would not be possible without the continuation of current funding levels. With the full roll-out of Gonski funds the school could not only continue with the Learning Lab but extend it to numeracy and cater for a wider and different range of students.