Spinifex State College, Mount Isa Education and Training Precinct
Location: Spinifex State College in Mount Isa
It is a modern college with a junior campus (Years 7 – 9), a senior campus (years 10 – 12) and a residential campus. About half of the school’s 850 students are from low SES backgrounds, with three quarters in the lowest two SES quartiles. Approximately 11 percent of students have an identified disability, 38 per cent are Indigenous students and 16 per cent of students are from non-English speaking backgrounds.
How [insert school name] has used Gonski funding
Literacy is a significant issue for Spinifex SC students, so the College implemented a reading strategy across the school. This involved employing a literacy coach to build the capacity of heads of department and teachers in explicitly teaching reading. Targeted professional development was provided for staff, and teacher aides have been trained in strategies to provide support for students whose reading levels are significantly below their age cohort.
In the maths area, teachers are benefitting from the provision of technology-based professional development in strategies to improve students’ understanding of mathematical concepts.
Greater administration support has been provided to monitor and track attendance data and follow through as required using newly purchased TrackEd software. Students also benefit from an afternoon homework class which provides the opportunity to gain additional support from teacher aides and volunteer teachers.
How Gonski funding has made a difference for students
The extra funding has produced a range of significant and measurable benefits across the college. NAPLAN data for Years 7 to 9 reading shows upward trends in achievement for students at each of the three Year levels. Meanwhile, Year 12 certificate rates increased in 2015 by 9 per cent, in comparison to the state average of 3.8 per cent.
What the continuation of Gonski funding means to Spinifex SS
Spinifex SC Principal Denise Kostowski believes that the regular funding that schools receive doesn’t address the significant challenges facing the Spinifex learners some of whom have missed significant periods of school. “Without additional needs-based funding we could not provide the extra support for students to begin to close the gaps in their learning,” she says.