Colac Primary School

Location: Rural Victoria

Colac Primary School, located in rural Victoria, has an enrolment of 236 students, most of whom are from low-income backgrounds. Indigenous students comprise 4% of the students, with another 4% comprising students from non-English-speaking backgrounds. About 5% of students are funded for moderate to severe disabilities.

How Colac Primary School has used Gonski funding

During 2016, CPS received about $268,000 in Gonski funding. A large number of Colac PS’ students in the early years are developmentally vulnerable and require language support as well as large numbers of students across the school requiring literacy and numeracy support. Gonski funding has been used to address these needs through creation of 3 new positions - a student well-being case manager to co-ordinate student support services, a part-time speech pathologist to work with Prep students whose language development is 6 or more months behind, and 1.6 specialist staffing to provide targeted literacy and numeracy intervention and support for students 12 or more months behind.

How Gonski funding has made a difference for students

The well-being case manager positon has not been filled so far, which is a disappointment for CPS. The other additional staffing has come on board, and despite having to reconfigure the target group from students 6 or more months behind to those 12 months behind, results have been encouraging. 23 of 25 Year 1 students have achieved 12 months’ growth in their reading capability, with similar results in Year 2. Professional development and coaching for staff in the teaching of literacy & numeracy has resulted in improved student engagement in maths and significant growth for students in Years 3 -5.

What the continuation of Gonski funding means to Colac Primary School

With almost 40% of CPS students more than 6 months behind in literacy and numeracy, Gonski funding would allow continuation of successful interventions made to date. Says Principal Shelby Papadopoulos, “It would be heartbreaking if, having had a sense of what can be achieved through our 2016 Gonski funding, we lost not only the capacity to maintain what has been achieved but also the possibility of being able to make that same difference for all students.”

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