Parents must make an extra effort in helping their
children get ahead at school, according to Paul and Rita Nakhoul, proud dad and
mum of three students at Holy Family Primary School, East Granville.
The couple make sure they spend an hour a day with
Gabriel (Year 3), Tiana (Year 1) and Jeremiah (Kindergarten) to lift their
They especially focus on reading and are seeing
results, with Gabriel scoring high marks in the recent NAPLAN tests and with
both Tiana and Jeremiah reading at above average levels.
Like many students from non-English speaking
backgrounds (NESB), Gabriel is a high performer in the national literacy and
While the results of all Australian students have
flatlined in NAPLAN, children from migrant backgrounds outperform kids from
English-speaking households in Year 3 reading and across all grades in maths.
Paul and Rita, who come from a Lebanese background,
said education was a transforming force, and the school was lifting the
learning for their children.
“We grew up with parents who couldn’t really help us
with our homework and there was one teacher who taught everything,” Rita said.
“Today it’s different. There is a lot of support for
my children and their needs and they are really doing their best and we are
really proud of that.
“We sit down with them after school and read with
them, and follow on from their day at school.
“This school is amazing. We get so much help and support,
and we feed of that and try to help them the best as we can.
“A good education helps all our children’s future. It
will put them in a position where they can find employment, make friends and do
the best they can do.”
Principal Yvette Baird said Holy Family Primary School
is very multi-cultural with many NESB families, and their attitudes towards
“It is very family dependent and while a lot of NESB
families put a lot of emphasis on education, not every family does this,” she said.
“We are a four C school - creativity, collaboration,
communication and critical thinking - and our main idea for this school is our
oral language interaction.
“The children have an awareness of explaining to us
what they are learning and ways to make their learning better.”
Gabriel was quick to praise his teachers and his
parents whom help him with homework.
“It’s all about the teachers, they help me so much,
and my mum and dad who help me too,” he said.
The Nakhoul family have a deep connection with Holy
Family primary school in Granville South with Paul and his eight siblings
having attended in the school in the mid 1980s.
Today, a new generation of Nakhouls are making their
mark at Holy Family.
Rita said both her and Paul’s parents suffered a lot
when they arrived in Australia and had to work hard to give their families a
kick start in life. But she said her parents were unable to offer the
educational support she can give to her children.
“It’s amazing to see how Gabriel’s learning has improved.
He comes home and explains what he has learnt during the day and teaches us,”
Paul and Rita were especially grateful for the
spiritual nurturing his children received at the school.
“God is number one, and
the most important part of all our lives and we give thanks to Him for all our
blessings,” they said.