Trent Cowley

Kingston State School, QLD

Gugingin and Yugambeh Speaking Country
Teaching Fellow

When Trent became Principal of Kingston State School two years ago, the school had been identified as a Priority Support Review school characterised by extreme disadvantage, trauma, homelessness, poverty and unemployment. With an exceptional commitment to transformation and the needs of his diverse community, Trent has driven a cultural shift centred on collaboration, lifting expectations, and innovative programs to deliver wrap-around support for his students.

To build staff capacity, Trent encouraged a bank of Knowledgeable Others so his teachers could share their strengths and capabilities. He also fostered a professional learning culture focused on improving student engagement and attendance through building a network of principals from neighbouring schools. The result has been the introduction of a case management system, where every teacher provides feedback around students and are able to share ideas for improvement during structured meetings with school leaders.

Not only have staff focus and morale improved, but Trent’s strategies have also led to a 20% improvement in English levels of achievement within 18 months, with sustained improvement also evident across other key learning areas.

Beyond the classroom, Trent is pioneering work to support students and their families. Under his leadership, Kingston State School will be Queensland’s first FamilyLinQ School Site, with a new $15 million facility housing visiting medical specialists and wrap around support services aimed at supporting the entire community. Parents will also be able to undertake VET certificate courses to upskill as well as better support their children’s learning at home.

Through visible leadership, effective use of data to focus on key outcomes, and holistic support for his students, their families, and the local community, Trent has been a transformative force for his diverse community.