School programs give ‘significant’ boost to student performance

Gonski funding is helping schools implement and maintain programs that are making a significant difference to student performance.

Merrylands High School, which is pressing ahead with initiatives to boost student performance, revealed statistics collated over the last four years which shows the ‘significant’ impact the programs are having.

Principal, Lila Mularczyk, said Gonski funding has helped her school maintain programs that are directly contributing towards improving all-round student performance.

“Since Gonski money has been coming in, we’ve been working on the engagement program, which has seen some very significant results” Mularczyk said.

“We also have teachers who are engaged helping students who have had great gaps in their learning,” Mularczyk said, referring to her school’s integrated curriculum.

“The integrated curriculum means we have a teacher for a number of core subjects, which includes specialist roles as well,” Mularczyk said.

For example, one teacher will teach math, science, history and English, and then go to specialist places such as visual arts and music.

The school provides extensive professional learning for teachers who are teaching the core subjects and makes sure they collaborate in a cross-training context.

The Merrylands High School principal shared some statistics to illustrate the programs’ effectiveness.

“Last year, our students’ university offers trebled, and 63% of those attending university were first-generation university attendees in their family,” Mularczyk said.

The attendance rate at the school has also more than doubled since the engagement program was implemented.

“Our attendance rate has increased by 7%, up from 3% the previous year - which is significant,” Mularczyk said, adding the profound follow-on effect that such results can have for the broader community.

“The capacity building this has for the community - not just for these families and children, but for others - is amazing.”

In the last two years, Merrylands High School has also seen a 20.2% increase in ATAR pathways over the period of 3-4 years, with 23% of students noted in the BOSTES distinguished achievements list.