Learning to play the ukulele is just one of the Fun Friday activities for students at Bonville Public School

Multiple benefits bring everyone happiness

Kerri Carr

Tears welled in a parent’s eyes when she learned additional support was being provided to her child thanks to Gonski dollars, Bonville Public School principal Michael Hepi recalls.

“The impact on and increased opportunities available to every child K-6 has been very well received by the school community.”

Bonville Public School received $12,138 worth of Gonski funding for semester 1, 2015.

“Bonville Public School was a school that infrequently attracted additional resources. Having the flexibility to direct resources to meet specific needs has been powerful,” he said.

Mr Hepi said Gonski funds have enabled the school to employ additional learning and support teacher and school learning support officer resources, provide additional time for teachers to collaborate, plan and implement teaching strategies.

He said increased individual support targeting student needs and interests has increased engagement and attendance.

“Students are progressing along the learning continuums at or above expected growth. There has even been a noticeable improvement in the reporting of negative behavioural incidences,” he said.

Several students from Fed Rep Jess McKillop’s class are involved in a Gonski funded reading program to accelerate their learning to grade level.

“I have noticed a huge improvement in the confidence and ability of these students having received the extra support through our Gonski reading program this year,” Ms McKillop said.

“Each student in this group has moved up several reading levels this term and it is great to see my students have such enthusiasm for their learning and pride in their own success. My students are asking me each week to benchmark their reading as they are so excited to see if they have progressed to the next reading level.

“The Gonski reading program has definitely had a significant impact on the teaching and learning outcomes in our classroom,” she said.

Mr Hepi said the simple fact that teachers have time to collaboratively develop and implement effective strategies that make a real difference to individual student learning has been the extremely beneficial.

“Teachers feel supported, staff morale is high and teachers are being rewarded with real growth in student achievement and engagement,” he said.

“Gonski funds have also ensured the successful implementation of Fun Fridays Enrichment Program,” he said.

For the middle session on Fridays, groups of students rotate through three activities. Students get to choose from activities such as ukulele, cooking, drama, gardening and construction, but they must include at least one literacy or numeracy based activity. The literacy and numeracy activities on offer are designed for students’ varying abilities and provide the opportunity for teachers to boost lower ability students or extend higher ability students in these subjects without pulling them out of their regular class.

Letters titled “Giving Our Kids a Boost” are sent to parents of children who are provided with additional support/resources. They state their child “has been targeted to participate in additional programs to ensure they receive the best possible support to reach maximum learning outcomes”.