Circulation figures double

Kerri Carr

Zak Wynter (back left) credits the MultiLit program for helping him to read faster. He is pictured with teacher Margaret Finlay and Montana Banning. Photo: Jason Nicholas

Borrowings from Engadine High School’s library have risen 50 per cent.

Principal Joanne Jarvis credits this in part to Gonski funding because it has facilitated higher literacy levels among students.

She said Gonski funding enabled learning assistance and support teachers (LAS) to undertake professional learning about MultiLit, a program to address the needs of students with reading disabilities, and the purchase of associated resources.

LAS teacher Debbie Cairns said: “Professional learning allows us to build staff capacity. We are able to transmit new research and strategies to classroom teachers and then we are able to integrate this into classroom practice.

“Due to the funding we are able to fund the Reading On Program. Once students have completed MultiLit they transition to this program which allows them to consolidate their decoding skills and improve fluency by working with the school learning support officer (SLSO).”

Spell It resources have been purchased and LAS teachers have received training about dyslexia, again thanks to Gonski funding.

Ms Jarvis said Gonski money has proved invaluable.

“We have not previously had access to National Partnership money, yet we still have students with specific individual learning needs that require significant support and intervention,” she said.

Ms Jarvis said Gonski funding has provided extra LAS teachers for in-class support and small group withdrawal of students and extra SLSO support.

“This year, we are employing SLSO support in the form of university students who are training to be teachers to provide individual support for students in literacy and numeracy. There will also be a new mentoring scheme for students at risk of disengaging from school. We have rebadged the Learning Support team as the Every Student, Every School team and broadened its scope for targeted intervention.”

The school has employed a teacher to develop Personalised Learning Plans for Indigenous students, and Gonski dollars have purchased additional time for a teacher from the mathematics faculty to individually target students who have shown poor growth on NAPLAN data.

Gonski money has also enabled the school’s LAS teachers to attend professional learning experiences about autism and processing disorders and the purchase of Chilled resources to better understand students with anxiety.

Ms Jarvis said she has been able to give more time to LAS teachers to methodically target and evaluate students for disability provision for the HSC.

The school has purchased some additional test material to better identify the learning needs of all year 6 students enrolled to attend the school.

“The additional diagnostic test that we conduct in September gives out LAS teachers additional data to identify students who are struggling, or those who are gifted.

“They then contact their primary school colleague and the parents of the students so that a Personalised Learning Plan is in place for the start of high school, as opposed to later in term 1,” Ms Jarvis said.

“We have a great system in place now to support these students.”