Yarrabah State School

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Location: Yarrabah, Queensland

Yarrabah State School is a three campus Pre-Prep to Year 10 school in the Far North Queensland community of Yarrabah. The community faces complex inter-generational challenges including high unemployment and families living in poverty. It has a population of approximately 3500 residents, with a school enrolment of approximately 500 students. All the students are of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent. The majority of teaching staff who are non-Indigenous. Most students speak Kriol/Yarrie Lingo as their home language and are taught Standard Australian English as an additional language at school. The school has a Special Education Unit supporting students with disabilities.

How Yarrabah has used its Gonski funding

Yarrabah has invested in additional staffing to support a more effective reading program across the school. A Deputy Principal – Education Services and a Reading/Phonics Coach have been engaged to lead the reading team (teachers and education assistants) in classroom delivery to ensure all classroom teachers teach reading effectively and efficiently and follow the school’s Phonics Strategy.

Yarrabah has also purchased additional Education Assistant time to support the school’s reading program and professional development of teacher aides. Students are tested regularly to track their progress and identify the sorts of support which will best meet their learning needs.

How Gonski funding has made a difference for students

Yarrabah’s students face a range of challenges in their everyday life and improving their education achievement over the long-term is complex. It is encouraging that improvements are slowly being made through focussing on effective literacy programs for children in the early childhood years and developing a language program for all students, both initiatives tailored for the learning needs of Yarrabah’s students.

What Yarrabah could do with Gonski in the future

The principal Jason Evert says that the full six years of Gonski funding would enable Yarrabah to support long term educational improvement of its students by investing in the community through employing and collectively empowering local staff. It would enable greater access to the types of resources needed to best support students facing complex disadvantages, such as physical resources they wouldn’t otherwise have access to, and better support for students with disabilities.

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