Rooty Hill High School

Location: Rooty Hill, suburban Sydney, NSW

Rooty Hill High School, a large comprehensive co-educational school in western Sydney, had an enrolment in 2016 of 1,125 students, more than half of whom are from culturally and linguistically diverse non-English-speaking backgrounds including more than 5% Aboriginal students and a large number from Asia and the Pacific. 70% of students come from low-income families. Although up to 80% of any Year 7 group are up to 3 years behind grade average on enrolment, the school’s growth data is now above state average.

How Rooty Hill High School has used Gonski funding

Rooty Hill HS received $870,000 in Gonski funding across 2014-2015. The funding has been used to pursue a range of strategies including development of core curriculum capabilities in literacy, numeracy, critical & creative thinking, and use of information and communication technologies; provision of detailed individual learning programs for each student; provision of both junior and senior learning support programs; employment of 3 part-time consultants to assist teachers in developing their own skills; additional paraprofessional staff to support students with learning disabilities; implementation of a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) program that includes an e-portfolio for each student in Yrs 7-10 against which they record achievement and growth against curriculum capabilities.

How Gonski funding has made a difference for students

Rooty Hill HS reports average growth rates of 2-3 years in any 12-month period for the majority of students, and believes this is sustainable using the creative strategies the school has adopted. Principal Christine Cawsey AM says; “… we have been able to use Gonski funding to embed deep professional learning for our teachers and create a culture where it is everybody’s business to improve … the capabilities of our student so that … they are confident, creative and capable learners.”

What Rooty Hill High School could do with Gonski funding in the future

The full Gonski funding would allow RHHS to sustain both growth in performance and a high equity culture by continuing to find innovative ways to engage learners who are starting high schools with capability levels behind their peers in more affluent schools.

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