Without Gonski needs-based funding Murray High School would not be able to run its program for students at risk of disengaging from school, says principal Richard Schell.
Gonski dollars have provided a youth worker (a trained carpenter) to work with a teacher to run the Hands on Learning program, which uses building projects as a platform for students to increase their connection to school and experience success.
Mr Schell said that since the program started at the school last year 100 per cent of students at risk of leaving school early continue to attend school. The deputy principal is also spending less time resolving issues among students.
Up to 15 students from years 8 to 10 participate in the program, which runs one day per week. Some students are in the program for just a term, others for a year or longer.
Students start their day by organising breakfast and talking around a table. Each student sets a mini goal, such as improving listening skills.
Then they begin work on a building project. So far the social worker, teacher and students have worked together to build a barbecue, pizza oven, shade area, hut and shed. They have also done some work at a local primary school.
Apart from learning physical skills, the team projects offer students the opportunity to acquire skills they need to succeed in the workforce like collaboration, problem solving and communication.
Mr Schell said the students are proud of what they’ve achieved and are more positive about being at school.
He said communication between Hands on Learning staff and the students’ regular classroom teachers had helped the students’ regular teachers build relationships with their students.
“The school extended the program this year and is looking to extend it further next year,” Mr Schell added.