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Good Counsel Primary School, Innisfail
Motto Seek, Learn and Serve GC-Primary-Innisfail.jpg
Address 96 Rankin Street, INNISFAIL QLD 4860
Postal Address 96 Rankin Street, INNISFAIL QLD 4860
Phone Number (07) 4061 2994
Fax Number (07) 4061 2271
Email Address
Web Site
Total Enrolments 316 Mr Liam M Kenny
Year Levels Offered P-6
Student Population Co-Educational
Principal Mr Liam M Kenny
Parish PriestFr Kerry Crowley
Parish Number (07) 4061 6633

About our School

Good Counsel Primary School is a co-educational Catholic Parish school and is part of the Diocese of Cairns. The school is located in Innisfail, a small rural township, 80km south of Cairns and 270km north of Townsville.

Good Counsel Primary School was named in 1975 but for 72 years prior to this date was known as the Sacred Heart Convent. The school has a great history forged by the Sisters of the Good Samaritan who sailed into Geraldton, as Innisfail was known, on October 21, 1903. Sacred Heart School opened and the Sisters commenced lessons on Monday November 2, 1903, with an enrolment of 42 students.

Continuing a tradition in North Queensland, Good Counsel Primary School was initially headed by the Good Samaritan Sisters followed for a short period of time by the Marist Brothers. In 1982 the first lay Principal was appointed and 1990 saw the final year of religious presence in the school with the withdrawal of the Good Samaritan Sisters.

The school with its central location, sweeping views of the beautiful Johnstone River and overview of the central business district places emphasis upon the whole child within a caring family-oriented atmosphere.

A high community profile, strong partnership with the local Parish and Good Counsel Secondary College, an emphasis and respect for the role of parents in their children’s education, and an enthusiasm to enhance current curriculum trends and innovations, makes for a dynamic, focused and diverse approach to education for tomorrow.

At present the staff comprises 14 full-time teachers, Learning Support teachers specialist Music and school officers, employed in various capacities and programs; part-time groundsman, cleaners, an Assistant to the Principal – Religious Education, Curriculum support teacher, administration staff, part-time IT technicians, part-time Student Counsellor and a Principal. Teachers are fully registered with the College of Queensland Teachers and many hold Bachelor or higher degrees. The Staff is comprised of a mix of experienced and younger teachers, all with a strong commitment to Catholic Education.

Physically the school comprises two main teaching blocks – double storey administration, theatrette and library block, and music, technology and art purpose built learning areas; two Prep units, two adventure playground areas, covered area with ablution block, storage, tuckshop facilities and a multi-purpose hall – Good Samaritan Hall. 

Classrooms are spacious, well resourced and arranged to provide an excellent opportunity for focussed student learning.  Over the past six years extensive building upgrades have been undertaken to refurbish and extend classroom teaching areas, library, technology, staff resource area and a state of the art theatrette. These facilities provide a fabulous area for teaching and learning. 

Good Counsel Primary School has an obligation to maintain a safe physical and emotional environment for students, staff and parents. Our behaviour management policy and practices not only aim to maintain a safe school environment, but also address the need of students to accept personal responsibility for their actions.  This combined with an agreed pastoral care for all will reflect the respect for the learning needs of all students.

Distinctive Curriculum Offerings

The school is well resourced in all Key Learning Areas and teachers are regularly in-serviced to keep abreast of curriculum developments. A Curriculum Support Team facilitates the implementation of all syllabus documents and assists teachers in day to day planning and classroom management.

The Religious Education Curriculum follows the Brisbane Guidelines as required by the Diocese of Cairns. A religious focus is evident across all curriculum areas and the message of Christ is promoted throughout the school community.

A Curriculum Support  Teacher advises teachers on the management and resourcing of literacy groups to cater for the needs of all students and how to engage students in meaningful and challenging teaching experiences.

Numeracy and Literacy are areas of major focus and efforts are made to cater for individual differences, both at the higher and lower levels of academic attainment. The shared role - full time learning support teachers are employed to facilitate these objectives. The school has successfully implemented Role M Maths that assists students in numeracy development from Prep to Year 5.  Additional small group assistance is provided in the area of Literacy with a focus on reading, writing, spelling and comprehension.

The school has a proud tradition within the Performing Arts area, with considerable involvement and success in activities such as Young Performers and Eisteddford competitions.  Our school choir has represented our school at the St Patrick's Concert and many Local and District events throughout the year.

The social and emotional well being of our children is underpinned by Program Achieve and  ‘Social Emotional Learning’ (SEL) . 

Our approach ensures that high standards of teaching are maintained in all curriculum areas, that students receive a well-rounded education, and that particular talents are developed in any given area of the curriculum.

In addition, GCPS provides students with a range of opportunities to enter competitions such as the ICAS competitions in English, Writing, Mathematics, Science, Spelling, and Computer skills. Students are also encouraged to participate in the Maths Olympiad and Optiminds. Students have an opportunity to participate in representative sports including cross country, netball, athletics, soccer, cricket, rugby league, rugby union, softball, futsal,league tag, touch football and tennis. The school participates in district inter- school sport for students from Years 4-6 during Terms 3 and 4.

Extra Curricular Activities

The following are important characteristics of the school’s overall extra curricular offerings:-


  • School Choir
  • Class Young Performers
  • Readers Cup
  • Instrumental Music Lessons
  • Curriculum focussed Excursions
  • Mini-Vinnies Student Committees
  • Student Council Executive
  • Mathematics Olympiad Competition
  • ICAS Competitions
  • Year 6 Charters Towers- Longreach Outback Camp
  • Year 5 Chillagoe/ Tinaroo Camp  
  • Year 4 Tableland Excursion
  • School Rugby League teams 10- 12 Year olds 
  • School Futsal teams Junior and Senior
  • School Netball teams Junior and Senior


    Social Climate

    Good Counsel Primary has a culture of being welcoming to all in its community, where each person is viewed as important and valued. The school prides itself on encouraging its students to be self disciplined and providing an environment where students can learn without disruption. Students are encouraged to maintain appropriate standards of behaviour and to respect the rights of all individuals- " Each child has the right to learn".

    GCPS draws its student population from the surrounding Cassowary Coast Region, with families choosing a Catholic education and travelling from as far as Mission Beach to the south, East Palmerston to the west and Babinda to the north.

    Good Counsel recognises the importance of parents as the first educators of their children and actively encourages parental involvement. Through the Parents and Friends Association, parents have a role in determining future direction for the school. Parents are also encouraged to assist in classrooms so that children can enjoy their presence at school and play an active role in assisting with student reading, literacy, maths and technology rotations. Meet and Greet  Nights are organised by the Parents and Friends Association and have been very successful opportunities for families to meet and mix socially. These nights are combined with the Student Council Discos that promote and celebrate the importance of families spending time and having fun together.

    The school is in very close proximity with Good Counsel College and shares a combined Schools Board made up of a cross section of Parents from the Schools' communities. The Board assists the Principals in the development of policy and in the future educational directions of the schools. Given this relationship, Good Counsel Primary is ideally placed for those families looking for a linked Prep - Year 12 education for their children.

    The social fabric of our community is further supported by the school counsellor, the learning support teachers, family involvement in  Social Emotional Learning, and the operation of a strong 'Mini-Vinnies' Association.

    Parent Involvement

    At Good Counsel Primary we encourage strong parental involvement in the life of our school. We believe that children more easily achieve their true potential when parents feel comfortable being an active part of school life.

    Each of us has different gifts to share and generous sharing enriches our school and benefits each individual – both adult and child. Staff at Good Counsel Primary are always happy and open in their sharing with parents. In partnership  parents and teachers,  feel it is important to share not only the aspects of what is being done but also the how and why.  Parents want the best education for their children and our Teachers are willing to work diligently to assist in this process.

    Parental  involvement is facilitated through the following organisations and activities:-

    • Parents and Friends Association
    • Combined Schools' Board
    • Mother of Good Counsel Feast Day
    • Activity Nights (Prep)
    • Friday Prayer Assemblies
    • Mother's Day Morning Tea
    • Father's Day Activities 
    • Class Assistance Programmes
    • Parent Information Meetings
    • Oral and Written Reports – interviews
    • Cultural Theme days
    • Grandparents Day
    • Reconciliation Week
    • NAIDOC Celebrations
    • Class open days
    • Camps/Excursions
    • Sports days
    • Liturgies – both class and whole school
    • Christmas Concert
    • Under 8’s Day and related celebratory days

    Parent Satisfaction

    86% of Parent responses were from families who have been associated with the school for more than two years.  The majority of responses were lodged by parents who had students in Years 2- 4.

    100% of parents state that their child looks forward to going to school and wants to go to school.

    96% of parents agree that the school is a place of learning in a Christian environment which encourages prayer and reflection.

    91% of parents agree that the school is meeting the academic needs of their child and their child enjoys what they are learning at school.

    96% of parents surveyed agree that the school aims to improve the quality of education it provides and are satisfied with the education that their child receives.

    94% of parents agree that this school encourages my child to persist with their learning when it is difficult.

    91% of parents surveyed agree that there is good two- way communication between the staff and parents at school.

    92% of parents are satisfied with the education their child receives at school.

    Data Last Updated Tue 17 Jan 2017

    Staff Reporting Data
    Qualification Highest level of attainment Doctoral / Post-doctoral Masters Bachelor degree Diploma Certificate
    % Staff with this qualification 0% 1% 22% 7% 4%

    Workforce composition
    Headcount FTE (Full-time equivalent)
    Teaching Staff27 20.59
    Non-Teaching Staff 22 10.42
    Indigenous 0 0

    Total funds expended on teacher professional development$21685

    Teaching Staff Involved in Professional Development100%

    Major Professional Development Initiatives

    Curriculum and Professional Development focus for Good Counsel Primary School, 2015

    The ongoing rollout and implementation of the Australian Curriculum was a large focus for Good Counsel Primary School, in 2015.  This encompassed, in addition to English, Mathematics, Science, History, and Geography: The Arts, Health and Physical Education and a new Religious Education curriculum.  Many professional development initiatives were undertaken to support our teachers in knowing and interpreting the curriculum along with consolidating their understandings of earlier implemented units of study.  A number of teaching staff were also involved in the writing of units of work for distribution and sharing across the Dioceses. 

    Good Counsel Primary School has always understood the significance of Information Communication Technologies (ICT) and continually upgrade equipment, infrastructure and teacher knowledge, to enable them to deliver the curriculum in engaging, relevant lessons. This brought about a number of important initiatives and changes across the school.

    1.       The purchasing of some 50 ipads, to be used throughout in small groups, whole class and on an individual needs basis.  Additionally, the staff was involved in many hours of professional developments over the year to enhance their knowledge of the use of ipads, the many apps available for education and best classroom practice.

    2.       The introduction of Google Drive and gmail accounts for staff and students.

    3.       An education evening for parents and forums for our students on Cyber Safety.


    Our mission, to Seek, Learn and Serve, guides us in our most important endeavour and that is to provide an education so that each and every student makes progress and consequently gains a feeling of self-worth and confidence.  To do this, the collection and analysis of data, from NAPLAN scores, standardised tests, to classroom grades, has continued to be a significant task for our team, from the Principal, Learning Support, the Curriculum Support teacher to all classroom teachers.  This data analysis had increased the accuracy of allocating educational support to all students.   And ongoing in-servicing of our team members, in these areas, continued through-out the year.

    Staff professional developments during 2015:

    ·         Teaching Technologies

    ·         Early Childhood Conference

    ·         English - Writing

    ·         Exploring the building blocks for language, grammar & punctuation

    ·         THRASS – follow up

    ·         Seven Steps to Writing Success

    ·         Crossing Cultures

    ·         Religious Education – Guidelines

    ·         Circle Solutions

    ·         TREWTH

    ·         Brigance – Early Childhood Screening

    ·         NAPLAN Analysis

    ·         Assessment workshop

    ·         Visible Learning – Effective Feedback

    ·         Explicit Instruction

    ·         Literacy Coaching

    ·         Unit writing

    ·         Consistency of Teacher Judgement

    ·         Curriculum Conference

    ·         PAT online – Primary Focus

    ·         Curriculum Accreditation

    ·         Still Googling

    ·         IT – Google Drive

    ·         Copyright Safe and Fair at School

    ·         Back Care Training

    ·         First Response Fire Safety





    Average staff attendance rate for the school year, based on unplanned absences of sick and emergency leave for periods up to 5 days96%

    Percentage of teaching staff retained from the previous school year97.50%

    Staff Satisfaction

    73% of staff have been at GCPS for over 3 years and 50% for longer than 6 years which provides continuity and stability within the workplace.

    100% of staff agree that GCPS is a place of learning in a Christian environment where  prayer and reflection are encouraged.

    100% of staff agree that behaviour management is consistent at GCPS and that our school encourages student responsibility.

    100% of staff agree that GCPS encourages a climate conducive to learning where clear goals and expectations are set and that they have opportunities to participate in learning communities within the school.

    100% of staff are committed to the school and they feel like a professional.

    100% of staff agree that our workplace has a positive ethos and they are satisfied with the school's performance.


    Data Last Updated Thu Jun 23 2016

    Student Reporting Data
    Average student attendance rates
    Prep YR 1 YR 2 YR 3 YR 4 YR 5 YR 6
    91.97% 92.06% 92.42% 92.76% 93.72% 93.14% 94.22%
    How non-attendance is managed by the school

    At Good Counsel Primary it is an expectation that parents make verbal or written contact with the class teacher or administration if their child is absent on a particular day.  If students have unexplained absences parents are contacted.  Should students be absent for a period of more than two school days in a row the teacher will offer to organise work to be completed at home.  If a pattern of unexplained absences occurrs then the parents are contact and an interview with the Principal is organised.  All class rolls have tables to indicate the variety of reasons that a child could be absent from school on a particular day.  These are saved to the data base and stored at  Administration. If Indigenous students are away then the Indigenous Liaison Officer will follow up with the family via a phone call.  Our Community Liaison Officers meet with the Principal when required to assist with family visits related to truant students.

    The distance travelled

    Professional development initiatives centred on Information, Communication Technology (ICT) have been the focus for the past three years with interactive whiteboards being installed into all teaching areas. The use of this technology required teacher up-skilling in best classroom practice and how best to deliver the current curriculum content. Learning support and curriculum staff have worked to develop an appropriate analysis technique for the 'at risk' students who require additional support. This information has been collated and then analysed to guide the allocation of student support staff.  In addition,using the NAPLAN testing results to guide improved classroom teaching will also directly assist students.

    Where are we going ?

    The staff at GCPS has identified the need for a monitoring system to track students in the areas of Literacy, Numeracy, NAPLAN, and diagnostic testing. Our Learning Support team and curriculum staff are working to develop a proforma to track students through their years of schooling. The introduction of the Australian Curriculum with the roll out of English, Mathematics, Science and Geography has guided our staff professional development in 2010- 2013. 

    Student Satisfaction


    88% of students feel positive and energised at GCPS while 92% feel happy at school.

    100% of students indicate that they have teachers who are well prepared for school.

    92% of students agree that their teachers are easy to understand and that their teachers explain how they can get more information if required.

    99%  of students agree that there teachers put a lot of energy into teaching their class.

    97% of students feel they are being well prepared for their future.

    93% of students feel good about being a student at GCPS and like school this year.


    Data Last Updated Tue Jun 21 2016

    Reading, Writing & Numeracy Results - Year 3, 2015
    Reading Average Score for the school 427.337
    Average Score for Queensland 410.764
    % students at or above the national benchmark 93.75%
    Writing Average Score for the school 431.411
    Average Score for Queensland 400.538
    % students at or above the national benchmark 100%
    Spelling Average Score for the school 386.093
    Average Score for Queensland 393.185
    % students at or above the national benchmark 100%
    Grammar and Punctuation Average Score for the school 438.31
    Average Score for Queensland 423.055
    % students at or above the national benchmark 100%
    Numeracy Average Score for the school 396.251
    Average Score for Queensland 386.145
    % students at or above the national benchmark 100%

    Data Last Updated Wed Jun 22 2016

    Reading, Writing & Numeracy Results - Year 5, 2015
    Reading Average Score for the school 509.994
    Average Score for Queensland 486.738
    % students at or above the national benchmark 97.142%
    Writing Average Score for the school 494.734
    Average Score for Queensland 464.011
    % students at or above the national benchmark 100%
    Spelling Average Score for the school 489.46
    Average Score for Queensland 485.912
    % students at or above the national benchmark 97.142%
    Grammar and Punctuation Average Score for the school 539.816
    Average Score for Queensland 492.985
    % students at or above the national benchmark 97.142%
    Numeracy Average Score for the school 490.308
    Average Score for Queensland 480.54
    % students at or above the national benchmark 100%

    Data Last Updated Wed Jun 22 2016

    School Funding By Source
    Income 2015

    Australian Government recurrent funding$5,642,205

    State/Territory Government recurrent funding$1,816,018

    Fees, charges and parent contributions$3,082,128

    Other private sources$428,811

    Total gross income (excluding income from government capital grants)$10,969,162

    Deductions 2015

    Income allocated to current capital projects$251,958

    Income allocated to future capital projects and diocesan capital funds$0

    Income allocated to debt servicing (including principal repayments and interest on loans)$768,331


    Total net recurrent income$9,948,873

    Schools And Colleges

    There are 29 Catholic schools and colleges in the Diocese of Cairns. With the exception of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart School at Thursday Island and St Joseph’s Parish School, Weipa, all schools and colleges are within two hours driving time from Cairns.

    The Cairns Diocese has two Prep to Year 12 colleges (St Andrew's Catholic College at Redlynch and MacKillop Catholic College, Mount Peter), 20 primary schools and 7 secondary colleges. Of those, St Augustine's College, Cairns is an All Boys college and St Monica's College, Cairns is an All Girls college. In addition to day schooling, St Augustine's offers boarding for students of St Augustine's and St Monica's. Mount St Bernard College, Herberton (MSB) is a day and boarding secondary college for boys and girls.

    In 2016, Catholic Education opened two new schools to meet growing demand. MacKillop Catholic College is located in the Cairns southern growth corridor at Mount Peter and offers Prep to Year 3 in 2016. It will grow to full Prep to Year 12 status, with the possible early commencement of secondary in 2018. St Joseph’s Parish School opened in Weipa, offering Prep to Year 6.

    In a strong initiative towards social justice engagement, Catholic Education opened a Flexi School for disengaged young people in Cairns and Cooktown in 2015. Holy Spirit College caters for students aged between 11 and 17 who have disengaged from education or for whom enrolling in a mainstream secondary school is not the best alternative. Holy Spirit College has capacity to enrol up to 52 students in Cairns and up to 38 in Cooktown, of whom up to 32 can be weekly boarders drawn from the wider community including HopeVale and WujalWujal.