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Tuesday, 14 February 2017
Page: 1020

Ms VAMVAKINOU (Calwell) (16:00): Last week in this place I spoke about the many excellent schools in my electorate and the great achievements of their students and their dedicated teachers. Today I want to highlight another such school, Monmia Primary School, as an example of what can be achieved with a small but significant amount of extra resources and funding.

This state primary school has students from around 50 different cultural and language backgrounds, and serves a community of socioeconomic disadvantage. With some additional equity funding over the past four years, Monmia Primary School has been able to introduce an innovative coaching program for literacy and numeracy teaching. This has allowed them to release teachers from the classroom to train and then coach their colleagues in best-practice teaching for reading, writing and maths. The program has also involved building a consistent approach to language across the school, from foundation year to year six—Invisible Learning—and helping all students to set literacy goals for themselves and take responsibility for their own learning.

The results have been phenomenal. In the latest NAPLAN results, Monmia Primary School was one of only three primary schools in the Brimbank Melton network region that is now high performing, despite ranking as a highly disadvantaged school in terms of its student family occupation, or SFO. The written results were brilliant, but spelling and numeracy levels were also shown to have improved significantly. Overall, there has been a huge growth in the literacy and numeracy skills of all students across years 3 to 5.

I want to congratulate principal Lorraine Bell, assistant principal Vineta Mitrevski and literacy coordinator Natalie Creasy, together with all their colleagues at the school, on their commitment to their students in ensuring that they fulfil their best learning potential.

Monmia Primary School was keenly looking forward, of course, to the additional funding under the Gonski reforms to enable this very successful program to continue. Without this vital funding, the full-time coaches have to return to classroom teaching, which will mean a significant watering-down of the program. It also means there are few resources to provide timely intervention with at-risk children. This is so important in ensuring that the literacy development of all children does not fall behind. The difference in the literacy development of the school students is clearly evident in the results, but this standard of excellence cannot be maintained without the financial support to continue the coaching and teacher support program.

This is just one school that has demonstrated what an incredible turnaround in learning outcomes can be achieved with relatively small but vital additional funding. This is why the Australian Labor Party is so passionate about defending and promoting the funding model known as Gonski. This is why we will continue to highlight the negative impact of the government's lack of commitment to our schools through its failure to deliver on the Gonski reforms.