On Wednesday, December 11 Eden Public School held its annual presentation day at Eden Marine High School.
Principal John Davidson described it as “One of the most important days of the year for us as we can showcase our achievements and recognise the talents of students and staff who have supported us through the year.”
Mr Davidson said it had been a busy year all around for all public schools in NSW. He spoke with the Magnet about how funding model changes will benefit Eden Public School, his enthusiasm for the job, how proud he is of how the school goes the extra mile for the children, how committed his teaching staff are and how the community supports the school.
“We changed back from regional status down to a more localised administration. We’re now part of the 33-strong Far South Coast network of schools, starting from just north of Batemans Bay and coming down to us in Eden.
“We’re on the threshold of huge change.
“There will be much more local decision making. Schools will have more autonomy to make decisions, and of course that means more accountability resting on schools.
“There are significant changes in how we will be funded and we will get 70 per cent of our funding to administer.
“We will also have greater choice in how we staff our schools, as both the Gonski model and state government Resource Allocation Model flows to schools.
“In a nutshell, instead of all schools getting funded on a per capita basis, they’ll now be funded on factors of need. All schools get a base rate but there will be a loading on socioeconomic disadvantage, the age of the school, the percentage of indigenous enrolments, remoteness, the number of kids with special needs and from a non-English speaking background.
“Money will go to those schools that need it most and that’s hugely important for us.
“The reality is that Eden is, as we all know, socioeconomically disadvantaged. Business is struggling, major employers are running down, and there’s not much money in families pockets. Studies show that socioeconomic disadvantage is a huge factor to kids achieving.
“So I very much welcome these (funding) changes. Education is a pathway to a happy future for all our kids and these changes will help us to do more for them.
“This allows me capacity to employ additional staff, run additional programs. We’ve identified through NAPLAN results we need to improve our writing outcomes so funding will be made available to fund writing programs.
“Money will also be used to support teachers learning so we can have targeted literacy and numeracy groups in operation.
“I’m really proud to be the principal of this school because of the difference we are making. The statistics show we are making improvement.
“We do all we can to provide that little bit extra, our koori dancers and our breakfast club program and the kids in the choir at Christmas on Imlay, are all good examples of that.
“The other thing that we know is education is the pathway to success for all kids, especially for those kids that might be doing it tough. Kids that get to year 12 stand an 80 per cent chance of permanent employment. Aboriginal kids that get to year 12 live for an average of 15 years longer, and have lower levels of incarceration and substance abuse.
“It’s our capacity to provide enrichment to our kids that I’m proud of. The way the kids respond, the joy and pleasure they get out of it – that’s what makes the job worthwhile and that’s how we know the school is doing good things here.
“We really do believe that we have close links with our community as evidence by our Legends of League support to get the kids to from Sydney.
SEFE gave us the bus, and we received thousands of dollars for food and accommodation. We get support from BiLo, Campbell Page, we have an active after school sport program run by staff volunteers.
“The staff of this school are really, really wonderful and they are consistently giving up their time to give more to the kids.
“Education is the pathway to a happy future for all our kids.”