Gladstone students benefit from funds boost for schools

GLADSTONE state schools will receive a boost in funding after the Queensland Premier announced $11.2 million to be allocated to central Queensland for literacy and numeracy teaching, including $1.7 million for Gladstone region schools.

Gladstone West State School principal Margie Burrell said literacy and numeracy skills were extremely important, and the allocation of extra funds would be decided after a consultation process with parents and teachers.

Ms Burrell's school will receive $232,428 in funding, second only to Kin Kora State School which was allocated $234,534.

"It's a very exciting proposition to think we're going to have such a large amount of additional funds to build on what we already do really well," she said.

"I'm not exactly sure what we're going to do with it.

"But we'll get our teachers and our parent community together and we'll look at which areas we think we can get the biggest bang for the public's buck.

"We don't want the money to be sitting in the bank earning interest. But we also don't want it to be something we go spending so quickly that we have regrets."

Queensland Teachers' Union Gladstone spokesman Kevin Giles said the funding was less than half the amount promised by the previous Labor government.

While it was welcome, it did not go far enough, he said.

"It's a critical boost for suffering Queensland schools," Mr Giles said. "Queensland has some of the worst funded schools in Australia.

"It doesn't target educational needs of students as proposed in the Gonski report, which was to be based on disadvantage, disabilities, indigenous background, low-income students, and students for whom English is a second language.

"There's a very strong need to acknowledge this money was not won by federal and state members of parliament but by parents and teachers who fought for it," he said.

Gladstone West student Zara Howlett, 5, will benefit from additional education funding.
Gladstone West student Zara Howlett, 5, will benefit from additional education funding. Brenda Strong

Younger students to gain vital literacy and numeracy skills

ZARA Howlett is one of hundreds of early year primary school students in Gladstone who will benefit most from the funding package for state schools announced by Premier Campbell Newman this week.

While it has not yet been announced how schools will spend their funds, the emphasis is on early learning.

Five-year-old Zara started her second year at school this week. While a bit shy, Zara is an avid learner, always wanting to get things right, her mother Debbie Howlett said.

Ms Howlett was surprised by how much Zara had learned in her first year at Gladstone West State School.

She now recognises letters and words, and has taken to announcing letters she likes when she spots them on stop signs.

Ms Howlett said literacy and numeracy skills were essential.

"Literacy and numeracy learning is imperative, from before they start prep.''



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