Katoomba High School

Location: Katoomba - Blue Mountains, NSW

Katoomba High School, a comprehensive secondary school in the Blue Mountains of NSW, has an enrolment of about 670 students about half of whom are from low-income backgrounds. There are about 10% Aboriginal students, and 10% from non-English-speaking backgrounds. The school also has a support faculty that caters fort the needs of students with disabilities.

How Katoomba High School has used Gonski funding

Katoomba HS has received over $200,000 in Gonski funding, including approximately $120,000 in 2015. The funding has been used to employ additional staff to boost student literacy & numeracy outcomes across the school, establish a Learning Hub which provides extra support for students with emotional or behavioural needs, offer HSC tutoring for Year 12 students which incorporates individual mentoring, hire a voice teacher to allow students to explore their singing talents, establish the Birriban bush regeneration and landcare project to provide a place where Aboriginal culture is shared and nurtured, and to develop a motorcycle program aimed at increasing engagement and leadership among at-risk students.

How Gonski funding has made a difference for students

Principal Jenny Boyall says that Gonski funding has allowed greater flexibility and creativity to invest in the school according to the particular needs of students. Although it’s early days, the additional funding has resulted in “increased engagement, improved academic results and an enhanced sense of belonging and connectedness for students and the community.”

What Katoomba High School could do with Gonski funding in the future

The full Gonski funding would enable KHS to build on progress since 2014, expanding individual student support, building teacher capacity through more professional development, extending Birriban to include a bush tucker garden, outdoor learning area and provide more opportunity for Aboriginal community members to engage with students, and further developing existing support programs and curriculum areas. Says Ms Boyall, “… we’ve only just begun, and investment in our young people is worth fighting for.”

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