St Johns Park High School

Location: St Johns Park, suburban Sydney, NSW

St Johns Park High School, a large co-educational school in south-west Sydney, has an enrolment of about 900 students. More than 80 per cent of students are from low-income backgrounds and more than 90 per cent are from non-English-speaking backgrounds representing more than 41 languages including Vietnamese, Cantonese and Assyrian. About 1 per cent of the school population are Aboriginal students.

How St Johns Park High School has used additional needs-based funding

St Johns Park High School has received around $600,000 in additional funding over 2014–16. The funding has been used to introduce MultiLit programs for struggling readers, provide speech therapy to 80 students each week, provide occupational therapy to students in need of this support, offering art therapy to support at-risk students and refugees, upgrading information technology and training teachers to use it effectively; focussing teacher professional learning on innovative student-centred teaching, investing in student leadership programs, and upgrading physical resources which had not been revamped for many years.

How additional funding has made a difference for students

The additional funding allowed the school to build on initiatives and programs begun under National Partnership funding. Literacy and academic achievement has improved across the school, and increased confidence for students has flowed into their academic results. This is evidenced by a significant increase in high ATAR scores over 90 (including 5 over 99), and university offers being made to 146 of 200 school graduates.

What St Johns Park High School could do with additional needs-based funding in the future

Text Box: Success at Risk Under Turnbull From 2016, the school plans to introduce individual learning plans for Years 7 and 11, growing the program across the school in future years. Extra staff will be employed to increase the ability of current teachers to collaborate across the junior and senior years. Future aims are to reduce class sizes to 22, increase the numbers of students undertaking leadership programs, engaging an occupational therapist and school nurse to improve student health and well-being, and continue to upgrade out-of-date facilities. Principal Sue French says: β€œIt will need a full six years of additional needs-based funding to be able to offer all St Johns High students the quality teaching and support they need to excel. This is just a glimpse of what is possible as the playing field for disadvantaged students is levelled.”