News & Insights

Australian Schools Plus

May 21, 2017
min read

John Pirie Secondary School: Numeracy Intervention Programme

Focus Area






Number of People Involved: 30 STUDENTS (YEAR 8 AND 9)

Established in 2013, Australian Schools Plus connects donors who know the importance of a great education with schools seeking funding for activities and equipment that will have a real impact on their students’ lives.

Previously, philanthropic foundations were unable to make grants directly to disadvantaged schools, as they were not set up so that donations were tax-deductible. Australian Schools Plus provides a bridge for that purpose. Through their Smart Giving programme, they are able to identify schools such as John Pirie Secondary School that need assistance. John Pirie Secondary School urgently needed to introduce a Numeracy Intervention Programme for a targeted group of under-achieving Year 8 and 9 students. These years can be make-or-break, as many of the students arrive at the school with numeracy skills that are well below national standards.

Improving the numeracy skills of young people is a national priority. A strong grasp of numeracy opens career pathways that John Pirie students often aspire to. The Federal Government estimates up to 75%* of the fastest-growing jobs will require science, technology, engineering and maths as a foundation. The school had identified that the nationally-recognised QuickSmart Programme was the ideal approach for these students as it gives them thirty-minute sessions twice a week, with short, focused maths activities. The Bennelong Foundation was able to provide funding to purchase resources and train staff and mentors.  

The programme will initially target students that come in below the national benchmark but still have a strong record of attendance and few behaviour issues. Over a year, around thirty students are expected to benefit. Five teachers and support officers will also be trained to deliver the QuickSmart Programme. They will then be able to train their colleagues so that the programme can be expanded.

* Office of the Chief Scientist 2013, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in the National Interest: A Strategic Approach, Australian Government, Canberra.