Extra school funding would mean extra teacher aides at Kurwongbah
For Ann Campbell, principal at Queensland’s Kurwongbah State School, any extra public school funding would make a huge difference in reducing teacher workload and in expanding student reading programs.
Kurwongbah State School, in the Brisbane suburb of Petrie, stands to receive an extra $950,000 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.
Ms Campbell said that the majority of Gonski funding that her school had previously received had been spent to great effect on employing teacher aides to implement guided reading processes across the school.
“The students are really engaged,” Ms Campbell said. “You can see it in the guided reading groups. They are all motivated, they are all excited, because they work with the same person for three days, they engage in conversation, and there is lots of work being done.”
“The children feel successful, so when they are able to read, and they can see that their reading levels are improving, then they get a bit of a kick out of that as well,” Ms Campbell said.
Ms Campbell said that the guided reading groups saw students practicing their reading in groups of six. She said their increased reading levels are now showing benefits in other subjects.
Kurwongbah State School is a co-educational primary school which caters for students from preparatory year to year 6. The school currently has about 930 students. Ms Campbell said her previous Gonski funding had enabled the school to also hire a speech language pathologist and a teacher who worked solely with students at high risk to improve their behaviour and to re-engage them in learning.
Ms Campbell said the success of these efforts meant that the school would invest Labor’s additional $950,000 in expanding these programs further.
“Any extra funding would be focused on improving literacy levels and the engagement of children in classrooms. We know it works, we know we are getting the results,” Ms Campbell said.
“We are looking next year at introducing more teacher aides, and extending those that we have for another hour and a half each day to provide some intensive support into classrooms.”
“However the teachers might decide that their focus changes – it might be a numeracy focus, it might be a writing focus, it might be a spelling focus, depending on the needs of the student cohort,” Ms Campbell said.
Ms Campbell said the other priority for extra funding would be to reduce the workload for staff.
“I think for most of our teachers, the major issue they are facing at the moment would be increased workload,” Ms Campbell said.
“At the moment we employ a Humanities and Social Sciences teacher, and that person looks after the implementation of the curriculum as well as the assessment and reporting.”
“If we could being in additional expertise in other curriculum areas such as Science or the Arts, I think that would be beneficial,” Ms Campbell said.