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Tomaree High School

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Location: Port Stephens, NSW

Tomaree High School is an large 7-12 high school located on the Tomaree Peninsula. The school experiences some isolation and is the only local choice high school for the area. We have a large staff with a mix of highly experienced and beginning teachers. The school has a current enrolment of 1205 students, with an Aboriginal population of approximately 9%.The school also has a support faculty of 6 classes that caters for the needs of students with disabilities.

How has your school used its Gonski funding?

In 2017 the school received $586,477 in additional Gonski funding. In 2016 we received $315,365 in additional Gonski funding. The funding has been used to support a variety of student-focused programs as well as supporting quality professional learning opportunities for staff. A major use f funds has been in the employment of additional staff, including an Aboriginal education Engagement Officer to support Aboriginal students, a Technology Support Officer to support all students with the Bring Your Own Device Policy, additional 3 teachers to enable a reduction of class sizes in Year 9 and the establishment of a Big Picture Academy to cater to the diverse needs of learners. Additionally a third Deputy Principal has been employed to enable greater support for staff, students and their families and to drive whole wide improvement in our 3 Strategic Directions of Literacy, Positive School Culture and Inspired Teaching. We have also been nominated as a Bump It Up school and with no additional funding to support the implementation of an enhanced literacy / numeracy program, Gonski funds have been essential.

How has Gonski made a positive difference for students?

The additional staff employed have made a positive contribution to supporting students in the classroom and on a wellbeing level. Students accessing the alternate classes through Big Picture are now attending school with average attendance over 70% improvement. Gonski funds have enabled whole school implementation of programs for Literacy such as TEEC (writing) which is in its third year and last years HSC results showed significant improvement across subject requiring extended writing response. Funds spent on additional professional learning has made an impact in the classroom with teachers gaining the skills to actively engage learners.

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

Gonski funds in the future would be essential to our school t maintain and strengthen programs that cater to different learning needs and enable a more personalised approach to learning. Additional staff will allow us to continue to provide quality personal contact with students and families and ensure we are meeting the needs of the whole child. The school has mapped very specific targets for reading, writing and numeracy in order to meet Department requirements and Gonski funds will be essential to enable the professional learning and staffing to implement quality programs to support student outcomes.

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