Teacher-librarian James Jarick and student Taj Wever review a textbook. Taj receives support in an extension program for reading above his grade level.

Support at LaST

Kerri Carr

Gonski equity loadings have enabled a group of students to receive additional support beyond what their classroom teacher has been able to provide for the first time.

Caringbah North Public School principal David Roffe said the school's equity loadings had been amalgamated to allow the school to employ a learning and support teacher (LaST) for an additional one day each week.

In consultation with the class teacher the learning and support teacher developed withdrawal and in-class programs to address targeted students' needs.

"Withdrawal programs focused on intense development of each student's literacy skills," Mr Roffe said.

"The in-class programs addressed both literacy and numeracy development and had the benefit of also assisting other students who were achieving at the same level in the room.

"The LaST has been able to make regular contact with class teachers and monitor student progress, developing and adjusting the programs as needed.

"For teachers, this has meant that they have been able to give additional support to a group of students who have often been difficult to reach due to the lack of available resources.

"Our teachers work extremely hard to cater for the individual needs of every student but without the expertise our LaST is able to share (especially in the area of identification and adjustment), we were never sure that we had adequately addressed the learning needs of this group of students."

Mr Roffe said the benefits for the targeted students had been "considerable" with "significant results" achieved in a short period of time.

"Teachers have seen an increase in engagement and certainly the students are considerably more confident as they are experiencing continuing improvement on a regular basis. As we all know, increased engagement and confidence will only lead to further improvements for these students."

Mr Roffe said if the Gonski funding were to continue and increase to the levels that are recommended by Gonski, then the school could put in place this sort of intervention for all students.

"We could finally achieve an education system that was equitable for all."

Tell your school's story

Education is keen to hear about the programs schools have introduced with their Gonski funding. Please share how the money has assisted your teaching and your students' learning.

Email journal@nswtf.org.au with some brief details.