Teachers fight for Gonski
FOR Emerald State School principal Rhonda Jones, the extra funds the school has received through Gonski funding have been invaluable.
Her sentiments were echoed by a group of teachers and principals who gathered earlier this week to support the Gonski bus that came through Emerald.
The Queensland Teachers' Union has started touring the state in the Gonski bus to highlight the success the Gonski needs-based funding is delivering to schools, as the expiration date on current funding arrangements draws nearer on June 30.
The Gonski agreement was designed to ensure all schools reach the minimum amount of funding they need to properly educate all their students.
Gonski funding is based on student needs so schools in regional areas, with a high number of low socio-economic students, students with a disability, indigenous students and students who don't speak English at home, receive extra funds.
Queensland Teachers' Union Central Queensland organiser Dan Coxen said the funding was important to schools in the Central Highlands because they ticked many of the boxes that afforded them extra funding to see improvements in their students.
At Emerald State School, prior to receiving Gonski funding, analysis of school data showed that NAPLAN performance had declined at the higher end of the spectrum over several years.
As a result, the school set ambitious literacy targets for improving the number of students reading at regional and state benchmark levels as well as improving students writing levels.
The plan for the school to achieve these targets focused on professional development to build staff capacity so the staff were more skilled to identify and target student learning needs.
With the benefit of Gonski funding, the school has found the NAPLAN pattern of under-performance has been reversed with the Year 3 and 5 NAPLAN achievement in reading now above the national average and writing on par with the national average.
Ms Jones said without additional needs-based funding both the levels of provision and also the quality of professional development within the school would suffer.