Upper Coomera State College
Location: Northern Gold Coast, Queensland
Upper Coomera SC is an urban Prep to Year 12 school with a highly diverse student population. Around 40 per cent of students are from the lowest SES quartile, and more than 40 nationalities are represented including around 30 per cent of students who are from a Pacific Islander background and 5% of students who are Indigenous.
How Upper Coomera SC has used Gonski funding
Upper Coomera SC decided to use their Gonski funding to improve literacy levels across the school, as well as improving attendance and engagement.
The school invested in teacher skills through coaching and professional development. They employed a number of additional literacy specialists including two full time heads of department to coach and mentor teachers, a part time speech language pathologist, three fulltime teachers aides to provide additional in-class literacy support for struggling students and a half time coordinator to organise reading volunteers. An educational consultant was also engaged to assist with the development of personalised learning programs for all students.
The investment in teachers was matched with investment in resources, including the online reading and maths programs as well as new texts and novels.
The school rolled out the Positive Behaviour for Learning program and employed a student engagement Head of Department and 2 positive behaviours/behaviour management teachers to support students at risk of disengagement.
How Gonski funding has made a difference for students
In 2016 student attendance increased by a minimum of 3 per cent across the college and the number of students with an attendance rate of less than 80 per cent decreased by 40 per cent.
The college has seen an improvement in all NAPLAN test areas. There has also been a noticeable increase in the number of students receiving an A, B or C level of achievement in English.
The most recent School Opinion Survey indicates that teachers are reporting the highest level of satisfaction in five years largely due to their access to professional development.
What the continuation of Gonski funding means to Upper Coomera
Principal Chris Capra says “Ongoing Gonski funding will mean that the college can continue to improve student attendance, engagement and academic success, as has been demonstrated in 2016”