Forest Lake State High School

Location: Brisbane, Queensland

Forest Lake State High School in outer suburban Brisbane has an enrolment of around 1450 students from diverse backgrounds. Over half are from low-income backgrounds, and around 40 different language groups are represented in the school. These include students from the Pacific Islands and New Zealand (about 20 per cent) and students from Vietnam (1.3 per cent), with 5 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent. Forest Lake also educates a number of students with various disabilities in an inclusive manner across the school.

How Forest Lake has used its Gonski funding

Forest Lake received approximately $220,000 Gonski funding in 2014 and $488,000 in 2015.

The additional funding has been invested in a whole-school approach to lifting the performance of all students in literacy and numeracy and raising achievement in the senior years to improve students’ post-school options.

New specialist reading and numeracy programs have been bought in, staff have benefited from greater levels of professional learning and development, and quality new resources to support new programs have been purchased. Additional teacher hours have also been allocated to give additional support to students where it is most needed across Years 7 to 12.

How Gonski funding has made a difference for students

Tom Beck (then acting principal) says that the additional funding has paid huge dividends. These include major gains in reading scores for students in Years 7 to 9, with double the expected gains in achievement scores on reading tests.

There have also been major improvements in Year 12 achievement. In 2015, 100 per cent of Forest Lake’s 218 Year 12 students passed the equivalent of 5 out of 6 subjects and all graduated with a QCE. In the Queensland Core Skills Test for Year 12 students, Forest Lake’s results were above the state average for the first time ever in 2015.

What Forest Lake could do with Gonski in the future

With the full six years of Gonski funding Forest Lake would continue and extend the highly successful strategies it has put in place to date. Mr Beck says that what has been achieved with Gonski funding sums up what public education is about. Continuing it would ensure that Forest Lake could continue to achieve such impressive outcomes for its predominantly working class student population.a

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