Cunnamulla P-12 State School is an isolated prep to year 12 campus in the Darling Downs/South West Region.
It was founded in 1877 as Cunnamulla’s first school and is situated on the banks of the Warrego River. We are approximately 900km west of Brisbane, with the closest major town being Charleville 200km to the north.
The major industries in the district are sheep and cattle grazing. New industries such as table grapes and cotton have been developed over the past 10 years and the tourism industry is slowly taking off. Due to drought and other influences, the township itself is slowly losing momentum and job prospects are limited. Hence many residents are welfare dependant.
Cunnamulla P-12 State School draws its enrolments from the town of Cunnamulla. The school has on average 120 students, which fluctuates throughout the year. We currently have 38 staff members which includes Admin, Teaching Staff, Teacher Aides, Tutors, an IT Assistant, Community Education Counsellor, Admin Officers, Guidance Officer, School Nurse, Janitor/Groundsman and Cleaners.
The majority of our support services such as EA’s and PEO’s are based in Charleville, Roma or Toowoomba. This means we have often have limited face-to-face access to these services.
Cunnamulla P-12 State School has an Indigenous population of approximately 88%. Students will often move to a different area to be with family members for some months and then return. As a result, students often have quite large gaps in their attendance and need to cope with constant changes in the education environment.
In the past, Cunnamulla had a very negative image due to behaviour management issues, safety issues both in the school and town, absenteeism, a large drop out rate from Years 4 on (resulting in poor outcomes for indigenous students in particular) and student’s poor self-image and confidence resulting in a lack of ambition and belief in their ability to succeed.
The aim of Cunnamulla P-12 State School has been to change the culture of defeat in the school and improve the image of the school in the wider community.
One of our focus points has been to enforce with teachers the importance of building strong caring relationships with their students. There has been an emphasis on the need to bring real-life learning experiences into their classrooms that make use of local context as much as possible.
We challenge our teachers to be truly accountable for the outcomes of their students and examine these outcomes with a view to understanding the real reasons behind student performance and adjust their teaching strategies accordingly. We ask them to ensure that every student in their class has a clear understanding of the challenges facing them and the opportunity to succeed in meeting those challenges at an appropriate level.