Extra school funding would mean more specialist teachers at Beenleigh High
For Matt O’Hanlon, principal at Beenleigh State High School, any extra public school funding would be used to hire additional teaching staff as well as teachers’ aides.
Beenleigh State High School, in Brisbane’s south, stands to receive an extra $1,041,000 in funding as its share of Labor’s election commitment to invest an additional $3.3 billion into public schools in its first three years of government.
Mr O’Hanlon, an AEU Principal Representative, said that the majority of extra funding that his school had previously received had been spent on employing additional specialist teachers and school staff.
“We have spent nearly $500,000 on additional staffing,” Mr O’Hanlon said. “That includes a guidance officer, a school nurse, a full time community education counsellor and a full time industry liaison officer. It also includes a student participation officer.”
“We hired a wide range of specialist roles because we want to provide programs that help students deal with the complexity of the environment that we're in."
“Attendance is also a really big, issue at our school, so we hired our student participation officer. We can't help students if they aren’t in school,” Mr O’Hanlon said.
Mr O’Hanlon said Beenleigh SHS’s additional staffing had had a positive effect on the student learning program at Beenleigh High.
“We've had cases where students have three years of improvement in reading in only one year,” Mr O’Hanlon said. “We've certainly had improvements in our attendance, but you also have to be mindful of the measures that you use to assess improvement. We're focused on the growth of individual students as well as their achievements.”
Mr O’Hanlon said that school staff are generally supportive of the plans and programs in which Beenleigh High has invested its extra funding.
“Our teachers are on board with why and how we're spending the money, and where we're spending it. They recognise that student wellbeing is a critical factor that sits underneath student learning,” Mr O’Hanlon said.
Beenleigh SHS’s school mission statement is “We Care. We Are Responsible. We Achieve”. The school currently has about 1250 students. Mr O’Hanlon said any new funding the school received as a result of Labor being voted into federal government would be used to hire additional teaching staff to focus on literacy and numeracy.
“We would recruit additional teaching staff as well as teacher aides, mostly in the literacy and numeracy enhancement programs,” Mr O’Hanlon said.
“We would use extra money to increase our focus on refugee students and indigenous students. With extra staffing we could also provide additional case management for students, to help them on an individual level. That's an area where we could really make a difference.”