One of the most disengaged students at Colac Primary School in western Victoria has become one of its best performers in maths, thanks to an intensive program to help him pick up the skills he missed during the pandemic.
The student received the highest marks for Colac Primary in NAPLAN mathematics and has been invited into the Victorian High Ability Program along with five other maths students from the school.
Until last year, no student from the school had been offered a position in the program.
Most Colac Primary students are from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Many of the children are developmentally vulnerable, particularly in language, and come to school with a high level of trauma. They need intensive support.
"Our funding has allowed staff to develop clear instructional models in reading, writing, inquiry, and mathematics," says principal Shelby Papadopoulos.
Nonetheless, finding the funds to give all the students the support they need is a struggle.
The school can afford to provide targeted interventions to students who are 12 months or more behind and any remaining funding goes to early years students six months or more behind.
"We can make the most difference in the early years. But it leaves our students in Years 3 to 6 identified as at-risk only if they're 12 months or more behind because we don't have the resources to give them the extra support."