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Supporting Disadvantaged Students at Burnside State School

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Supporting Disadvantaged Students at Burnside State School

Sound Waves Literacy 26/6/24


At Firefly Education we believe all children have an equal right to a quality education, which is why we established the Disadvantaged Students Program. This program is designed to ensure financially disadvantaged students across Australia don’t have to go without important resources. We caught up with Burnside State School who are just one of the schools who participate in the program.

How has it worked for Burnside State School?

After finding out about the program, Tennille Laycock from Burnside State School reached out with concerns about students who were coming to school without the supplies they needed to support their learning in the classroom. ‘We used the program successfully last year and we found it so beneficial, we requested the additional resources again this year.’

Tennille described the program as being, ‘extremely beneficial for the students, advantageous for the teachers (reducing preparation time), and a great support for our whole school community.’ Burnside State School has a few students who are accessing resources through the Disadvantaged Students Program in every year level, which highlights its value in ensuring all students have the opportunity for success.

How do schools identify students in need?

‘It’s common for schools to have some families within their community who are living below the poverty line. Every day, these students are faced with the many challenges that this presents.’ Tennille pointed out that given the rapidly increasing cost of living – many families are currently struggling to ‘put food on the table, let alone provide school books.’

‘Learning resources are placed on our booklists before the new school year begins. We wait 2-3 weeks and communicate with parents who may be experiencing delays in accessing the resources. We then follow up with families and collate information regarding the number of students without books.’

How can schools support their disadvantaged students?

Equal access to learning resources

Burnside State School’s experience using the Firefly Education Disadvantaged Students Program highlights the need for all students to have equal access to learning resources. By taking advantage of the program, schools can provide the same learning opportunities to all of their students and help reduce the stigma felt by families who cannot provide the necessary resources.

Choose a program with options to differentiate

Being able to cater to all ability levels in the classroom is important. Choosing a program with options for differentiation addresses the diverse learning needs that come with teaching disadvantaged students. In turn, this assists in bridging the achievement gaps and academic challenges that are evident. When asked how Burnside is finding the structure of Sound Waves, Tennille said that, ‘every student’s work can be easily differentiated as the sounds being covered remain the same but the complexity of the work can increase or decrease depending on each student’s needs.’

Professional development for teachers

Providing ongoing training helps teachers effectively address the unique needs of disadvantaged students. Building proficiency in delivering your programs means you’re on the right track to increasing instructional effectiveness, and the ability to identify and address learning gaps.

Tennille said that teachers at Burnside State School are, ‘enjoying the structure and consistency of Sound Waves’, and that, ‘all teachers are becoming increasingly confident with the program.’ Firefly Education offers free PD that can be tailored to support the needs of the staff in your school.

Where can you find out more?

Does your school have a student that would benefit from the Firefly Education Disadvantaged Students Program? Contact us to find out more information.

Please note: Any student identified for the program must be in a year level where a Firefly Education series is currently booklisted.

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