2018 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 305 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.

In 2018, Good Counsel College had two completely new leadership teams. The new continuing team of Principal, Deputy Principal Teaching and Learning and Assistant Principal Faith and Wellbeing who took over from a 6 month transitional leadership team in the same three roles but comprising three experienced Principals. 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, Good Counsel on Show, Feast Day celebrations, Snowies and Japanese visit and trips, Fiver for a Farmer fundraiser, Awards Night, Year 12 Graduation return to Innisfail after 10 years and the Final mass and Assembly. QCS and OP results for year 12s in 2018 was also a highlight.

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 371 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 2018 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 2018 were noticeably poor.  68.9% of students attended 90% or more days. This was identified as an area of concern and attention to attendance was given to the goals for 2019. Of particular concern, was the attendance rate for year 11 and 12 students and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

The enrolment in 2018 stabilised and numbers leaving the school were far fewer 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.

School Annual Improvement

2018 was certainly characterised by change with both the transitional team and continuing teams leading the improvement agenda focused on complete alignment with the Australian Curriculum and preparing for the change to the new senior secondary school system.

The list of the goals set by the Transition Team in 2018 are listed below:

  • By the end of 2018 GCC will stabilize enrolments and then grow by 5%.
  • By 2018 there will be in place responsive and timely communication to families and community as evidenced by the reduction in complaints from parents about unresponsive staff
  • By the end of 2018 the College will have a data plan in place and is being used regularly and led by Middle Leaders.
  • By the end of 2018 have SBSS as the accepted protocol for tracking student behaviour
  • By the end of 2018 staff morale across the College will be trending in a positive direction as evidenced by responses in annual staff satisfaction surveys and Future Forward Forum feedback
  • Develop a culture of challenging students and colleagues to be the best they can be in a positive manner.
  • High levels of trust evidenced through existing feedback mechanisms that are apparent across the school. Interactions are focussed on the spiritual formation, learning, teaching and wellbeing of students and staff.

In summary, the key results for 2018 include the following:

Enrolments stabilised and the exit of students matched the entry numbers.

Parent communication by staff has improved with some teachers continuing to build positive and regular communication via email, telephone and use of parent portal.

Office protocol for greeting parents and speaking with all visitors embedded and consistent. Parent feedback on the enrolment process in 2018 was highly complementary of the inclusion of a post interview conversation with the finance secretary about fees.

SBSS in 2018 use increased dramatically with it now accepted as the protocol for tracking student behaviour.

Completion of a Data plan was reset as a priority for 2019 but data was used by Leadership to track student learning, attendance and results. This information fed into set plan interviews, changes to year 7 staffing for 2019, subject changes in years 11 and 12 and a plan to improve attendance in 2019.

Staff morale was high at the end of 2018 with the loss of only one staff member who moved to Cairns. Two staff took leave for 2019, one was replaced. Two long term staff members left for Brisbane. Neither were replaced. The school is still overstaffed but with this natural attrition, it is tracking in the right direction.

Areas of growth identified in 2018 were student behaviour and pride in the school and NAPLAN results particularly for numeracy in Years 7 and 9.

Future targeted priorities:

The transitional Leadership team targeted technology use (lack of use) as a priority especially given the 1:1 laptop program and its cost. Investigations were undertaken to determine the possibility of changing to e- text books with mixed reviews.

The continuing team settled on a theme at the end of 2018: to develop a culture that fosters learning and wellbeing for all. This was determined by an examination of the data from 2018; satisfaction survey data, attendance data, NAPLAN and SRS data, reports from Learning Support amongst others.

Specific Priorities include: increasing attendance rates especially for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students as well as year 11 and 12 students, increasing a sense of belonging for year 7s, improved use of data to impact on differentiation in the class room, consistent behaviour management and embedding of the four rules of respect, responsibility, safety and preparedness, continuing to embed the Marist charism by sending staff to Mittagong to complete the Footsteps Retreat Program on a rotational basis and engagement with the Marist Schools Association, increased engagement with the Innisfail Community and continuing the relationship with Good Counsel Parish. A particular priority is to ensure year 11 and 12 students are in the correct learning pathways for optimal outcomes at exit and the successful conclusion of the current cohort of year 12s and successful beginning of the new QCE for year 11s. This will include a focus on writing across all year levels with the appropriate embedding of the cognitive verbs.

The need for a central filing system for all school documents and the decision to move to Office 365 away from Google was made in the second half of 2018.

Timetabling structure was identified as a major issue that required significant change. It was identified that all subjects across all year levels were allocated the same amount of lesson time per week, even though the Australian Curriculum has indicative time allocations for different Learning Areas. A major challenge for GCC is the desire to offer a broad range of subjects in small cohorts. This has led in the past few years for a very restrictive timetable and composite Year 11 and 12 classes. Major timetable changes were planned for 2019.

Distinctive Curriculum Offerings

Curriculum offerings across the college catered for a broad range of study possibilities across all Learning Areas.

In 2018, Vocational Education courses were a popular option for students. From the Year 12 group, 23 out of 44 OP-eligible students received a VET Qualification as well as on OP. A further 21 OP-ineligible students received a VET qualification. 10 students also had a school-based traineeship or apprenticeship. Engineering, Manufacturing and Hospitality courses were popular choices for students.

Online opportunities in 2018 included Education Perfect, Typing Tournament and STILE in Science.

The College offered Japanese and Chinese in years 7-12 in 2018 with very small numbers in the senior school.  With two key language teachers departing the College on leave for 2019, Distance Education and other staffing options for 2019 are being explored.

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:

  • A sports program on Thursday afternoons featuring a combination of competitive sports and recreational activities and the opportunity for students to compete in a range of sports at district, regional and state levels
  • Instrumental music was offered in 2018 and a group of dance students entered the Dance Eisteddfod and performed at local festivals
  • 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.
  • Opportunities for students to enter public speaking, debating, mock trials, hospitality and cooking competitions
  • Camps and retreats for all year levels occurred in 2018 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 but has been identified as an area of improvement and will in 2019 be held on the Feast day of Marcellin Champagnat.
  • A trip to the Snowy Mountains including a trip to Canberra
  • A visit from a school in Japan and a school from New Zealand
  • A trip for GCC students of Japanese to Japan in the September holidays.

Further opportunities to engage in community activities is an area of priority for 2019.

Photos and reports on a range of College extra curricular activities can be found on the College website under Sports or News and Events as well as on Good Counsel College Facebook page

Social Climate

The Pastoral Care system underwent a huge change in 2018 as the College moved from having year level based pastoral leaders to house based. This move was made easier by the fact that vertical homerooms were already in place and it lifted house spirit tremendously within the College. 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 move also gave greater importance and depth to the leadership development of House Captains. SEL was taught for one lesson per week in years 7-10 and was included in the Religion Teacher's load. This was identified as inadequate and a dedicated SEL scope and sequence chart for years 7-12 will be developed for 2019. The Middle Leader Well-being will be reappointed as a Middle Leader Transition and SEL coordinator in 2019 and be responsible for the program. SEL will have dedicated time allocated to it 7-12 in 2019 to ensure all year level students have opportunities to access the program and address issues as they arise.

In 2018, anti bullying and anti cyber bullying were addressed in the years 7-10 SEL program. A new email address was provided to students 2018 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 College Leadership (beginning with the Transitional Team and then the continuing team) met fortnightly with the College student leaders. This provided a great level of communication between the new teams and the students so that student voice could be heard. There was much to discuss with the Year 12 Formal Graduation being brought back to the Innisfail Shire Hall from Cairns for the first time in ten years.

Relationship building is a priority for improving behaviour management and a new program was developed for launch in 2019 called Positive Relationships for learning. The time table will be 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.

A full time wellbeing counsellor was available for students and there was a Student Wellbeing Leader who assisted both the counsellor and Pastoral Leaders in working with students who are in need. 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. (Verified students). A youth support worker also worked with disengaged students in 2018. This continues to be an area of focus.

Mental health is identified as a major issue at the College and was validated by the Student Wellbeing survey in 2018. Headspace psychologists were employed once a fortnight to add to the team of student support and opportunities were made available for as many staff as possible to complete the Mental Health First aid course at the end of 2018.

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 fortnightly to identify 'at risk' students.

The Student Representative Council existed but met infrequently and was targeted as an area of improvement for student voice in 2019.

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
  • Catholic Education Week Open Day
  • 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 2019
  • Teachers were encouraged at the end of 2018 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

All parents were invited to complete the Satisfaction surveys sent out in June 2018. The response rate was 23.5% or 125/536 eligible respondents. The overall satisfaction was 74% or 3.72/5. The following represents the highest and lowest scores given by parents.

Catholic Ethos

GCC is a welcoming and caring community where everyone is treated with respect 3.91

GCC has encouraged me to think about faith 3.34


GCC provides me with clear, timely relevant information 3.9

GCC has a good reputation in the local community 3.63

Learning and Teaching

At GCC prepares students for the technological demands of our world 3.83

GCC provides relevant and quality learning support programs to students who need assistance 3.46

Extension programs 3.43.

Bullying and Behaviour Management

The school has effective anti-bullying strategies in place 3.47

The school has consistent and clear strategies for managing student behaviour 3.59

The school treats students from all backgrounds with respect 3.95


Grounds buildings etc well maintained 4.26 (highest score given by parents)

Parents are consulted about how resources are allocated within the school 3.36

Improvement processes

GCC has a clear understanding of its strengths and weaknesses 3.5

GCC encourages parents to have a say in planning for the future 3.6


We are happy that the college has a one to one laptop program 4.19

The College Newsletter is an important and necessary source of information 4.09

We would like to see teachers use more technology in the curriculum 3.3 (the lowest score given by parents)

Data Last Updated Thu 23 May 2019

Staff Reporting Data
Qualification Highest level of attainment Doctoral / Post-doctoral Masters Bachelor degree Diploma Certificate
Number of staff with this qualification 1 2 17 18 0

Workforce composition
Headcount FTE (Full-time equivalent)
Teaching Staff42 40.11
Non-Teaching Staff 32 23.75
Indigenous 4 3.18

Total funds expended on teacher professional development$54965

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. Collaborative sessions were attended voluntarily by small groups of staff to complete the QCAA online modules.

CES education officers were engaged throughout the year to support staff in the writing of new units of work across most curriculum areas. This was to bring all curriculum areas into alignment with the Australian Curriculum and the RE curriculum. This was a major work especially with the need to be focused on the new QCE.

The other significant PD focus (and cost) in 2018 was sending ten staff to the Digital Technologies Conference on the Sunshine Coast in August. The group of ten comprised the ELearning coordinator, the continuing principal and IT support officer, the TL, English and Science heads of department and a variety of other teachers. Not sure of its value but it did support the need to be flexible with the choice of device purchases for 2019.

The end of year included some PD opportunities to learn more about Office 365 (in response to the decision to change over from Google to Office 365 as the school platform)

A literacy collaborative met throughout the year to prepare for the embedding of the cognitive verbs across the curriculum.

 Many staff completed the Mental First Aid for Youth course in response to the student well- being survey data and anecdotal knowledge of student mental health.

Average staff attendance rate for the school year, based on unplanned absences of sick and emergency leave for periods up to 5 days95%

Percentage of teaching staff retained from the previous school year80.00%

Staff Satisfaction

All staff were invited to complete the Satisfaction surveys and given time in a staff meeting to do so. The response rate was 64/84 76.2% and the overall Satisfaction rating given was 80% or 4/5. In general staff were the most generous responders and it is uncertain whether the results indicate the 2017 climate, the transition leadership team or the new team.

The following is a summary of the highest and lowest scores given:

Catholic Ethos

GCC is a welcoming and caring community where everyone is treated with respect 4.28


The leadership team model and expect high standards from staff 4.33

I am provided with adequate feedback on my work 3.75

Staff engagement

My team/department members work productively together 4.30

I am comfortable expressing my opinions at GCC 3.73

New staff are provided with an effective induction program 3.64

Student protection

I understand my obligations under the student protection processes 4.67

Bullying and Behaviour Management

The school sets a high standard for behaviour 4.06

The current student behaviour support programs are effectively implemented across whole school 3.65


GCC provide me with the professional training to do my job well 3.81

Grounds buildings outdoor facilities well- presented and maintained 4.5

Improvement processes

I have confidence in the future direction of GCC 4.02

Good Counsel College SAIP has been clearly articulated 3.14 (lowest score given by staff)


GCC provides relevant and high quality learning support programs to identified students 3.45

Data Last Updated Tue Apr 23 2019

Student Reporting Data
Average student attendance rates
YR 7YR 8 YR 9 YR 10 YR 11 YR 12
95.71% 93.08% 92.04% 90.97% 91.4% 88.89%
How non-attendance is managed by the school

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

At the administrative level, the DP Administration has operational responsibility for ensuring systems are in place to accurately record attendance. Should students not attend school, parents/caregivers are expected to inform the school immediately. Should this not occur, then parents/caregivers are contacted before the first morning break of non-attendance. 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.

Year 10 to 12 Apparent Retention Rate98.4
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

Catholic Education Services conducted a School Results Survey with students of Good Counsel College (Innisfail) in 2018.

Good Counsel College (Innisfail) provides educational services to students from 215 families.

Survey responses were received from 304 out of a total of 381 eligible respondents. 

Good Counsel College recorded an overall satisfaction score of 69% (3.47 out of 5).

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

Data Last Updated Tue Nov 19 2019

Reading, Writing & Numeracy Results - Year 7, 2018
Reading Average Score for the school 539.2
Average Score for Queensland 549.4
% students at or above the national benchmark 92.2%
Writing Average Score for the school 502.3
Average Score for Queensland 506.4
% students at or above the national benchmark 85.7%
Spelling Average Score for the school 540.4
Average Score for Queensland 554.7
% students at or above the national benchmark 93.8%
Grammar and Punctuation Average Score for the school 560.6
Average Score for Queensland 553.8
% students at or above the national benchmark 96.8%
Numeracy Average Score for the school 529.7
Average Score for Queensland 549
% students at or above the national benchmark 92.2%

Data Last Updated Thu May 30 2019

Reading, Writing & Numeracy Results - Year 9, 2018
Reading Average Score for the school 592.4
Average Score for Queensland 590.1
% students at or above the national benchmark 85%
Writing Average Score for the school 515.1
Average Score for Queensland 543.4
% students at or above the national benchmark 72.1%
Spelling Average Score for the school 572.4
Average Score for Queensland 590.4
% students at or above the national benchmark 93.2%
Grammar and Punctuation Average Score for the school 596.8
Average Score for Queensland 598.3
% students at or above the national benchmark 94.8%
Numeracy Average Score for the school 564.7
Average Score for Queensland 587.5
% students at or above the national benchmark 89.8%

Data Last Updated Thu May 30 2019

No Naplan Data Available
School Funding By Source
Income 2018

Australian Government recurrent funding$7,125,454

State/Territory Government recurrent funding$1,967,855

Fees, charges and parent contributions$3,717,848

Other private sources$414,451

Total gross income (excluding income from government capital grants)$13,225,608

Deductions 2018

Income allocated to current capital projects$336,284

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

Income allocated to debt servicing (including principal repayments and interest on loans)$1,209,253


Total net recurrent income$1,406,794

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.