Green light on progress

Ian Watson
Country Organiser

Federation General Secretary John Dixon (right) heard school's good news stories at the Mid North Coast Gonski Public Education Dinner

Student progress due to the extra resourcing provided by the Gonski loadings were in the spotlight at the Mid North Coast Gonski Public Education Dinner on August 13.

Three schools shared their Gonski good news stories and Federation General Secretary John Dixon gave an overview of the Gonski campaign.

The associations were heartened by local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group representative Helene Jones’ comment: “The stories were relevant and inspiring and I am so very happy that the schools are all working with the Gonski funding to make a real difference in the individual lives of our kids. I will be sure to share these stories.”

Port Macquarie Public School principal Brett Thurgate opened the evening and related the school’s transition to kindergarten program, made possible by Gonski Indigenous student loading dollars.

“The impact is obvious,” Mr Thurgate said.

“Without Gonski we couldn’t do what we have done for our current kindergarten students.”

“The increased attendance rates of Indigenous students is one of many concrete outcomes,” he also said.

“We can see Gonski working.”

The staffed senior study centre at Camden Haven High School was the focus of deputy principal Sharon Westman’s Gonski story.

“Without the low SES loading we couldn’t provide the one-on-one individual support we know some of our students need to achieve their potential in the HSC,” Mrs Westman said.

“Every student in year 11 completed and handed in every one of their assessment tasks last year — that’s never happened before and would not have happened without Gonski.”

Wauchope Public School principal Cameron Osborne outlined the additional literacy programs introduced at the school.

“There is no doubt that this has led to increased improvement in our students reading levels,” Mr Osborne said.

To end the evening, activists discussed the next phase of the campaign.

Port Macquarie TA President Phil von Schoenberg said the next step in local campaigning would involve inviting local state and federal MPs to schools to help celebrate the programs and tangible outcomes the additional recurrent Gonski funding is allowing.

The dinner was organised by Port Macquarie Teachers Association and supported by the Camden Haven and Hastings River associations.

More than 80 principals, teachers, P&C representatives and the local AECG executive attended.

Mr von Schoenberg said: “We we’re so happy with the attendance and saw the night as a way to get the Gonski campaign rolling again in the region.

“A big thanks must be go to the Public Education fund committee. Without their support in endorsing our application to host the event we wouldn’t have been able to make it happen.”