Goovigen State School principal Rob McCullough and teacher aide Mindy Cavanagh with all the students of Goovigen State School. Photo Andrew Thorpe / Central Telegraph
Goovigen State School principal Rob McCullough and teacher aide Mindy Cavanagh with all the students of Goovigen State School. Photo Andrew Thorpe / Central Telegraph Andrew Thorpe

Eight is great for Goovigen principal

THERE aren't many primary schools that could take a sudden 167% increase in student numbers in their stride - but that's exactly what Goovigen State School did this year.

The student population skyrocketed from last year's three students to this year's eight.

Principal Rob McCullough said while such a small student body posed unique challenges for staff and students, the benefits of specialised attention more than outweighed the costs.

"They're not disadvantaged at all. I think they're advantaged," said Mr McCullough.

"There's a music teacher from Biloela who comes out and teaches music, and there's a local girl who does Prospect Creek as well, she's a PE teacher.

"The Year 5s and 6s do Japanese online with students in Brisbane and Kenilworth.

"Our Year 5 boy gets to go on the internet and connect with other students for writing and maths, so he does two hours interacting with other teachers and students so that he's exposed to someone else's voice!"

The school - which is well-resourced, with a computer lab, administration building, modern facilities and playground equipment - used to have 50 to 100 students about a decade ago.

Mr McCullough said the school's population fluctuated with the population of the region.

"At the moment there's not a lot of houses for rent in town, so for people to move in it's really hard," he said.

"But when you look at the data, with the families already here, there are quite a few with small children. There's a need for a school here - in fact there's potential to grow."

The current breakdown of students is three Preps, one Year 1, two Year 2s, a Year 5 and a Year 6.

Mr McCullough said the system he and his two teacher aides developed was running well and a surprising amount of material could be covered with students still working together.

"We're reading a couple of books at the moment together and when they're done (the students) will have to do different things.

"The Preps have to talk about what they liked about the story, what they wanted to hear. The Year 1 has to rewrite the story in another way, while the Year 2s have to do a multimodal presentation - so maybe a PowerPoint with pictures, videos, speechmarks - and create a completely new story.

"We can do one subject, one book, one focus, then break off and do different things.

"I think our Year 2 students are quite high because we expose them to a higher curriculum a lot, but I don't bring down the 5s and 6s. I keep them up and bring the others up with them."

Year 6 student Brooke Collocott said she was looking forward to high school but enjoyed the leadership role she played at Goovigen.

"It's good. The older kids help the younger kids," she said.


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