Targeting individual learning

The Rivers Secondary College

Extra Gonski funding has gone a long way at the Lismore High Campus of The Rivers Secondary College in northeast New South Wales. And it’s producing strong results for both students and teachers.

A raft of new strategies and resources to target individual learning and students with learning difficulties have been made possible by the extra funding.

Working closely with students to identify and overcome barriers to learning, Lismore High has introduced a new projectbased curriculum and teaching program. There’s also a new senior study program for Year 11 and 12 students, using individual planning sessions as well as group activities focused on enabling students to achieve their academic goals.

The school has employed an Aboriginal Community Officer to work more closely with families and is running a tutoring program for Indigenous students, providing tailored packages of individual support for Aboriginal students. Meanwhile the extra funding has also allowed more targeted support for EALD (English as an additional language or dialect) students.

The changes have been backed by a substantial investment in new technology, including the purchase of educational software that supports learning in literacy and numeracy and new computers. All students in Years 7 and 8 now have access to their own laptops, which has freed up access for students to other computer laboratory spaces.

As a result of these and other changes over the past two years of additional funding, school attendance rates are the highest in five years, and HSC results are the most improved in ten years while literacy and numeracy results are above state average.

The Gonski funding has also allowed the school to increase its budget for professional learning so all teachers could undertake intensive training in the new project-based system. This provides a consistency of approach which benefits students.

Student behaviour in class has dramatically improved and students, staff and parents are all very positive about the project based learning program.

Under the Turnbull Government’s new funding plan, Lismore High Campus will miss out on $1.6 million of funding it expected to receive over 2018 and 2019.