2019 Annual Report for Good Counsel College, Innisfail
Motto One Spirit in Christ GCC Logo.jpg
Address 66 Owen Street, INNISFAIL QLD 4860
Postal Address PO Box 839, INNISFAIL QLD 4860
Phone Number (07) 4063 5300
Fax Number (07) 4061 4659
Email Address
Web Site
Total Enrolments 357 Ms Catherine Barrett
Year Levels Offered 7-12
Student Population Co-Educational
Principal Ms Catherine Barrett
Parish PriestFr Kerry Crowley PP
Parish Number (07) 4061 6633

About our School

Good Counsel College is a Catholic co-educational school situated on Mamu country in the heart of the township of Innisfail approximately 90 kilometres from Cairns. Local industry in Innisfail and surrounds is characterised by sugar cane, banana and tropical fruit farming and tourist attractions such as the Art deco architecture, Paronella Park, Snapping Tours and the Mamu Skywalk, not to mention the two beautiful rivers a short walk from the College, the North and South Johnstone Rivers. Innisfail is part of the Cassowary Coast and boasts significant populations of the beautiful Cassowary birds as well as crocodiles hence the Snapping tour! Good Counsel College is a Reef Guardian school. Good Counsel College is one of only two 7-12 schools in the town. It draws from schools as far north as Babinda and as far south as Tully.

Many changes characterised 2019 including the leadership team, the timetable, lesson lengths and staff. Throughout the year, the College actively sought to rebuild connections with the Innisfail community. Highlights of the year included: The Opening Mass at Mother of Good Counsel church, Industry Breakfast/ Good Counsel on Show, Feast Day celebrations,  Fiver for a Farmer and Vinnies fundraisers, Awards Night, Year 12 Graduation and the Final mass and Assembly. NAPLAN results showed good improvement particularly for reading in year 9 and over 80% of OP eligible Year 12s received an OP 1-15.

Good Counsel College was formed in 1975 after the merge of the Sacred Heart School for girls conducted by the Sisters of the Good Samaritan since 1903 and, the Mother of Good Counsel School for boys conducted by the Marist Brothers since 1938. The College officially became a Systemic school with Cairns Educational Services in 2015 and re-joined Marist Schools Australia in the same year.  Good Counsel College continued to develop its Catholic Identity in the Marist Way and to link with the rich Marist tradition established by St Marcellin Champagnat. It maintains a strong connection to Mother of Good Counsel Parish Church, integral also to its Catholic identity.

The College Mission Statement espouses the basic values of the College.

Faithful to the Mission of the Church, Good Counsel College educates students to develop attitudes, skills and knowledge to live as free and moral people in a complex world. Within our community we encourage, by word and example, sensitivity to diversity, the growth of spirituality, a sense of self worth and respect for others, and the striving to give of one's best. 

Characteristics of Student Body

Good Counsel College finished the year with 351 students. The Catholic feeder schools that send students to Good Counsel are St Clare's Tully, St John's Silkwood, St Rita's South Johnstone, Good Counsel Primary School, Innisfail and St Rita's Babinda. It also attracted students from the local state schools. In 2019 the percentage of Catholic students enrolled was 53%. Students that identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander was 9.1%. Cultural diversity is relatively low at Good Counsel with the majority of students born in Australia and whose parents were also born in Australia. However, there were small numbers of students with Indian, Filipino, Vietnamese or Thai background. Mostly English is the language spoken at home. Italian heritage is still a common cultural background for many students.

Attendance levels in 2019 were again noticeably poor.  68.9% of students attended 90% or more days. This was identified as an area of concern last year and attention to attendance was given to the goals for 2019. Of particular concern, was the attendance rate for year 9 and 12 students and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

The retention rate dropped in 2019 with the main reason given as leaving the area. A focus on community engagement to continue has been identified as key to improving enrolments and will continue in 2019 as well as targeting new families to the Innisfail area and increasing the school's profile in the community.

School Annual Improvement

Priority 1: Whole school approach to positive relationships for learning
Smart Goals:

  1. By the end of Term 1, 100% of teachers use the four basic rules- respect, responsibility, safety and preparedness as the foundation for their classroom expectations.
  2. By the end of 2019, 100% of teaching staff have been profiled at least once.
  3. By the end of 2019, the whole College has attendance figures >94%
  4. The 2019 Satisfaction survey Category score for Catholic ethos will be >4 for all sectors.
  5. By the end of Semester 1 100% of staff are using Mindfulness for 3-5 minutes at the start of lesson 3 and 5.

Priority 2: Developing expert teaching teams
Smart Goals:

  1. By the end of Semester one 90% of year 7s report that they feel supported, engaged with learning and have a sense of belonging at GCC.
  2. By the end of term 1 2019 the College will have a data plan in place.
  3. By the end of 2019, 100% of staff are using Office 365 suite for curriculum file storage.
  4. By the end of 2019, all unit plans specify how the different needs of students are addressed and how multiple opportunities to learn are provided.
  5. By the end of 2019 100% of staff are using and making visible to students learning intentions and success criteria in every lesson.
  6. NAPLAN results for 2019 will show an increase of 20% of students achieving at or above NMS+1 in both years 7 and 9 in Writing results.

Distinctive Curriculum Offerings

As for all secondary schools in the State of QLD, 2019 saw the introduction of the new QCE for year 11s. This impacted on subject offerings although most students could study the subjects they had chosen and curriculum offerings across the college catered for a broad range of study possibilities across all Learning Areas. The new subject of Psychology was a popular choice.

The new religion offering Catholic Faith in Action provided all year 11 students with multiple opportunities to connect with and serve the local community.

Vocational Education courses were a popular option for students with 44/55 students gaining a VET Qualification. Engineering, Manufacturing and Hospitality courses were popular choices for students. Applied Aquatic Practices has been added to the list of Applied subjects for year 11s in 2020.

Online opportunities in 2019 included Education Perfect, Typing Tournament and STILE in Science and Distance education was explored for Japanese and Chinese.

The College offered Japanese and Chinese in years 7-8 in 2019 with very small numbers in the senior school. Japanese is offered 7-12.

All year 10s spend a week on work experience and students in other year levels are offered other appropriate opportunities.

Our Indigenous liaison officer met with the local Elders every Tuesday and began implementing the IVAAR program with Year 11 and 12 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to study culture and connection. Next year this program will be implemented across other year levels.

The 1:1 laptop program in the College also supports Digital Technologies and other IT courses.

Further details about the College Curriculum can be found on the College website under 'Curriculum'.

Extra Curricular Activities

Good Counsel College offered a wide range of extra-curricular activities including:

  • Students are provided with every opportunity for students to compete in a range of sports at district, regional and state levels
  • Instrumental music was offered in 2019 and a group of dance students entered the Dance Eisteddfod. One of our Year 12s won the Innisfail's got Talent competition
  • Good Counsel On Show provided an opportunity for students to perform on the stage through song and drama and show leadership as tour guides
  • There were learning extension and enrichment activities with opportunities for competitions at state and national levels and specialised gifted and talented activities such as science, maths, history, geography, business, poetry, short story and essay competitions, Optiminds as well as Lions Youth, Constitutional Convention, Young Performers and Brain Bee.
  • Opportunities for students to enter public speaking, debating, mock trials, hospitality and cooking competitions
  • Camps and retreats for years 7.11 and 12 occurred in 2019 providing opportunities for students to develop their leadership skills and take opportunity for spiritual formation.
  • Feast Day celebrations also promoted the Marist charism of the College and 6 Year 10 girls attended the 'Ignite' religious conference in 2019
  • The school began a comprehensive plastics recycling program including 'lids for kids' and composting food waste. They also participated in Relay for Life in large numbers and the whole school participated in Clean up Australia by cleaning up Innisfail as they walked to the swimming pool for their swimming carnival.

Further opportunities to engage in community activities is an area of priority for 2020.
Photos and reports on a range of College extra curricular activities can be found on the Good Counsel College Facebook page.

Social Climate

The vertical House system did much to promote family spirit in 2019. It built relationships throughout the student body as students were united and given more opportunity to mix with different age groups within their houses. This also gave greater importance and depth to the leadership development of House Captains. SEL was taught across Years 7-12. The Middle Leader Well-being was reappointed as a Middle Leader Transition and SEL coordinator in 2019 and was responsible for the SEL program. The 7-12 allocation gave opportunities to schedule age appropriate activities including the Men of Honour Program, the anti- Ice Campaign as well as the usual driving and safety programs. This Middle Leader also had specific responsibility for Year 7 and year 6-7 transition issues and programs designed to improve a sense of belonging in 2019.

Anti bullying and anti cyber bullying were addressed in the SEL program. A new email address was provided to students in 2019 for students to confidentially report any issues of not feeling safe in the College and new Student Protection Posters were placed in all rooms. Parents report to Middle Leaders who act swiftly to reports of bullying and processes of restorative justice are used to rebuild relationships. There is a link to the Bullying Policy on the College website.

The SRC met regularly this year. This provided a great level of communication between the students so that student voice could be heard.

Relationship building is a priority for improving behaviour management and a new program was launched in 2019 called Positive Relationships for learning. The time table was altered in 2019 to extend Home room time to 20 minutes to build the profile of the Home room teacher in the pastoral care of students in 2019. This is a continuing priority for 2020.

A full time wellbeing counsellor is available for students. The Middle Leader Learning Support and a team of School Officers worked with students who experienced learning difficulties and have a need for more intensive support for their learning. A youth support worker also worked with disengaged students in 2019. This continues to be an area of focus. In 2020 the Indigenous Liaison officer will have a new gathering space to meet with students and the Elders.

Mental health is identified as a major issue at the College and was validated by the Student Wellbeing survey in 2019. Headspace psychologists were employed once a fortnight to add to the team of student support and opportunities were made available.

CES education officer Melissa Tressider also supported disengaged students and worked with the Vocations officer to support students and find appropriate career pathways.

The Diverse Learners team met weekly to identify 'at risk' students. This team will undergo changes in 2020 with a focus on Case Management and KPIs.

Parent Engagement

The College has a Parents and Friends Association and information can be found on the College web page. Parents are encouraged to attend P&F meetings and invitations and the dates and times of P&F meetings are published regularly in the College Newsletter each two weeks. Parents also comprise some members of the Good Counsel Parish Combined Schools Board. Parents are also encouraged and welcome to attend College events including assemblies, liturgies, and sports carnivals. Special opportunities for parent involvement include:

  • Parent, Teacher and Student Interviews for oral reporting twice per year
  • Parent Information Nights for students moving from: Primary School to Year 7 and Year 10 into Year 11
  • Parent Information evenings at the commencement of each year
  • Parent Subject Information nights and Subject Expo evenings;
  • College Masses
  • Year 7 Orientation
  • Parent Paperwork is now sent online for all excursions camps etc
  • The Parent Portal provides information about what is happening in the College
  • The College Facebook page is updated regularly
  • The College website is targeted as an area of improvement for 2020

Teachers were encouraged to email parents at the start of the year to introduce themselves.

The Principal joined the CES parent engagement group at the end of 2018.

Parent Satisfaction

MYP Corporation conducted a School Results Survey with parents of Good Counsel College (Innisfail) commencing 15 July 2019 and concluding 5 August 2019. Survey responses were received from 96 out of a total of 515 eligible respondents. This equates to a response rate of 18.6%. Good Counsel College (Innisfail) recorded an overall satisfaction score of 73% (3.64 out of 5).

  • Fair to good areas include: Resources, Student Protection, General, Leadership, Bullying + Behaviour Management, Catholic Ethos, Improvement Processes,
    Learning + Teaching.

Data Last Updated Tue 28 Apr 2020

Staff Reporting Data
Qualification Highest level of attainment Doctoral / Post-doctoral Masters Bachelor degree Diploma Certificate
Number of staff with this qualification 1 1 43 35 1

Workforce composition
Headcount FTE (Full-time equivalent)
Teaching Staff42 38.88334
Non-Teaching Staff 31 24.63946
Indigenous 4 3.1821

Total funds expended on teacher professional development$49493

Teaching Staff Involved in Professional Development100%

Major Professional Development Initiatives

In addition to ongoing curriculum and pastoral professional learning, most staff were engaged in QCAA and CES training for the introduction of the new QCE in 2019. Staff have applied to be markers of external exams.

CES education officers were engaged throughout the year to support staff in the writing of new assessment items and units of work across all curriculum areas in Year 11.

All other PD was to allow SAIP goals to be met e.g. Adolescent brain development and growth mindset, NCCD - explanation and data collection.

The end of year included some PD opportunities to gain a TAE for some staff, and a drone workshop and a photograph and video workshop were also offered.

Patricia Hipwell has been engaged to support our writing goal in 2020 and GCC leadership will work with other schools and Lyn Sharratt to develop our pedagogy framework in 2020.

A very exciting combined initiative took place with Innisfail State College when 13 of our staff went 'on country' for the day at Henrietta Creek to learn about local Indigenous history and culture from Mamu Elders.

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 year84.00%

Staff Satisfaction

MYP Corporation conducted a School Results Survey with staff of Good Counsel College (Innisfail) commencing 15 July 2019 and concluding 5 August 2019. Survey responses were received from 43 out of a total of 56 eligible respondents. This equates to a response rate of 76.8%.

Good Counsel College (Innisfail) recorded an overall satisfaction score of 72% (3.58 out of 5).

  • Best practice areas include: Student Protection, Resources.
  • Fair to good areas include: Catholic Ethos, General, Staff Engagement, Leadership, Improvement Processes, Bullying + Behaviour Management.

Data Last Updated Thu Jul 02 2020

Student Reporting Data
Average student attendance rates
YR 7YR 8 YR 9 YR 10 YR 11 YR 12
93.99% 93.46% 91.11% 92.63% 91.43% 91.15%
How non-attendance is managed by the school

Attendance rates at GCC are below the CES average in all year levels and was identified as an area of concern in 2018. In 2019 only 68.9% of students attended for 90% of the time or better. High absenteeism was particularly noted for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. This was communicated to the Indigenous Liaison Officer who works with families to encourage attendance. A sense of belonging is an area also noted as an area that may be contributing to non-attendance.

Another factor is the isolation of Innisfail where medical facilities are few or travel to sporting events is far away.  Students often need to take a whole day off if they need to see a Dr or specialist in Cairns or attend a district sporting event or trial which is an explained absence but still an absence from learning which needs to be considered.

Good Counsel College attendance at school is monitored in a number of ways and by a number of people.

Rolls are marked in Homeroom. Unexplained absences result in school officers sending a text message home to parents. Processes for following up on regular non- attendance was an area of focus for 2019. Prizes were given out to students who attended 100% of a term with a major prize given to a year 11 student who had 100% attendance for the entire year. These incentives combined with publicising statistics about days off v. learning lost had a small impact on Year 11 and year 7 students. Parents need more education.

Monitoring procedures for students signing in and out are also in place as well as being off-site at appointments during the day.

At a pastoral level, Year Level Coordinators as well as the Student Wellbeing Leader monitor attendance for a variety of reasons to ensure the wellbeing of students is maintained. Where required the College will intervene where there is extended absence to ascertain a reason and offer support to both to the student and family to have the student return to school and where necessary involve outside agencies. These matters are discussed at the Diverse Learners team meetings.

The enrolment process includes a conversation with parents regarding the need to take holidays only in holiday time and the need to seek approval from the principal to take holidays outside of this time.

Year 10 to 12 Apparent Retention Rate76.3
Post-School Destination Information

This is a summary of the post-school destinations of students from Good Counsel College who completed Year 12 and gained a Senior Statement in 2018.  The results are from the Year 12 Completers Survey, which is conducted approximately six months after students completed Year 12.

39 out of 65 Year 12 completers from this school responded to the 2019 survey.  Results may not be representative of all Year 12 completers at this school.

In 2019, 97.4% of Year 12 completers from Good Counsel College were engaged in education, training or employment in the year after they completed school.

Of the 39 respondents, 69.2% continued in some recognised form of education and training.  The most common study destination was bachelor degree.

A further 28.2% transitioned directly into paid employment and no further study. 

Student Satisfaction

MYP Corporation conducted a School Results Survey with students of Good Counsel College (Innisfail) commencing 15 July 2019 and concluding 5 August 2019. Survey responses were received from 231 out of a total of 367 eligible respondents. This equates to a response rate of 62.9%.  Good Counsel College (Innisfail) recorded an overall satisfaction score of 72% (3.59 out of 5).

  • Fair to good areas include: General, Resources, Learning + Teaching, Leadership, Catholic Ethos, Student Protection, Bullying + Behaviour Management, Improvement Processes.




Data Last Updated Tue Apr 28 2020

Reading, Writing & Numeracy Results - Year 7, 2019
Reading Average Score for the school 550.7
Average Score for Queensland 545.02
% students at or above the national benchmark 96.7%
Writing Average Score for the school 492.8
Average Score for Queensland 503.56
% students at or above the national benchmark 88.5%
Spelling Average Score for the school 546.3
Average Score for Queensland 543.73
% students at or above the national benchmark 96.6%
Grammar and Punctuation Average Score for the school 558.6
Average Score for Queensland 542.01
% students at or above the national benchmark 96.6%
Numeracy Average Score for the school 567.3
Average Score for Queensland 550.35
% students at or above the national benchmark 98.3%

Data Last Updated Mon Mar 30 2020

Reading, Writing & Numeracy Results - Year 9, 2019
Reading Average Score for the school 579.7
Average Score for Queensland 576.34
% students at or above the national benchmark 96.1%
Writing Average Score for the school 524.9
Average Score for Queensland 534.99
% students at or above the national benchmark 74.5%
Spelling Average Score for the school 578.8
Average Score for Queensland 580
% students at or above the national benchmark 97.9%
Grammar and Punctuation Average Score for the school 570.3
Average Score for Queensland 573.07
% students at or above the national benchmark 93.8%
Numeracy Average Score for the school 575.3
Average Score for Queensland 588.82
% students at or above the national benchmark 98%

Data Last Updated Mon Mar 30 2020

No Naplan Data Available
School Funding By Source
Income 2019

Australian Government recurrent funding$5,219,818

State/Territory Government recurrent funding$1,490,102

Fees, charges and parent contributions$1,325,375

Other private sources$142,950

Total gross income (excluding income from government capital grants)$8,178,245

Deductions 2019

Income allocated to current capital projects$145,032

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

Income allocated to debt servicing (including principal repayments and interest on loans)$328,848


Total net recurrent income$473,880

School Annual Reports

Catholic schools in the Diocese of Cairns meet their annual reporting requirements under the Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 (the Act) Section 423 (1) by updating their information on this section of the Cairns Catholic Education website. Information contained in each section of the report relates to the previous calendar year. The required information is published by 30 June each year, excepting post-school destinations data for Year 12 completers which is published by 30 September.