Mahogany Rise Primary School

Location: Frankston North, Melbourne, Victoria

Most of Mahogany Rise’s almost 150 students are from low-income backgrounds. Around one-fifth are from non-English speaking backgrounds and there are a number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. There is a high level of transience in the school’s student population, and a complex mix of student needs.

How Mahogany Rise Primary School has used Gonski funding

Mahogany Rise received about $226,000 in Gonski funding in 2016. Before this it had received needs-based funding from the National Partnership for schools with high numbers of students from low income backgrounds. The money has been used to improve students’ literacy and numeracy skills which are vital for all their learning. Gonski funding has been focussed on oral language learning and teaching, new resources, and programs which support students with specific difficulties which affect their learning.

The Mahogany Rise school community is a complex one, and supporting students and their families requires a range of specialist expertise. Needs-based funding has been used to create a community hub. A student wellbeing coordinator brings together a range of services which includes two speech pathologists, a youth worker, a family engagement worker, an occupational therapist, two psychologists, a paediatrician, a paediatric fellow and a lawyer. This enables them to make informed decisions about their students’ needs and develop more effective strategies for improving their learning outcomes.

How Gonski funding has made a difference for students

Principal John Culley says the results of needs-based funding for Mahogany Rise, a school educating high-needs students in a complex environment, have been positive. Over the past two years, the school’s NAPLAN results have been improving. Year 5 results have shown particularly significant gains, which he attributes to new approaches to teaching and learning which the funding has allowed. The extensive welfare program and outreach to parents, carers and the school community is also helping students and the parent community to feel more engaged with the school.

What the continuation of Gonski funding means to Mahogany Rise Primary School

Mr Culley says that the successful strategies and programs the school has been able to develop and implement are under threat if Gonski funding is not continued. “Gonski funding is vital to the goal of providing equal opportunity and access for all to the best possible education that every child in this country is entitled to. Without the funding, this ‘small school with a big heart’ would be unable to provide the richness in education that this community deserves.”

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