Welcome to the 2019 school year. Last week saw our 82 new receptions begin school. Only a few were showing signs of first day nerves and teachers ensured that they were well cared for. We had about 50 parents enjoy a coffee and snack in the Garden Kitchen and a special thankyou goes to the Parent Network members, to Karen Gunton and also to our teachers who managed to be there.

The Learning Conversations that happened in the afternoons last week were very useful, and both teachers and parents had an opportunity to begin the journey to provide strong beginnings for each and every child starting in reception.

This year we start with 652 students R-7.  There are limited spaces for new students at some year levels. It is great to be a sought after school however that unfortunately means that on some occasions people do miss out on getting here. We have settled on 25 classes this year which is at our absolute maximum.

Teachers and students across the school have begun to settle into classroom routines, while at the same time exploring the creative and innovative strategies for making learning engaging. We are furthering the role of students in providing feedback about their learning to aid teachers in tweaking and fine tuning programs as they go along.  This is a focus of not only Woodend School but all schools within our Marion Coast Partnership and is being led by Ms Natar. More will be shared as we progress throughout the year.

Recently, the government has confirmed that year 7 public school students will be taught in high school from term 1, 2022. It has been decided that this will be when all year 7 students move to high school at the same time.

The move will align South Australia’s public schools with the national curriculum taught in high schools making it easier to deliver subjects and improve outcomes for students. Access to dedicated facilities and resources and exposure to different teaching styles will also give each year 7 student opportunities for deeper learning, greater peer interactions, and greater independence and responsibility. For more information visit www.education.sa.gov.au/7tohs

As we move towards this, it will become clearer how we at Woodend School may be effected. In 2022, we will have the students who would have transferred to high school as well as those who would have moved into year 7 go at the same time.  This will amount to approximately 160 students leaving at the same time. That will be this years year 4 and 5 students moving to high school together in 2022.

Later this year we expect to be contacted about designing the new building scheduled for 2020, to replace The Pumpkin Building.  That will be an exciting opportunity for all of us to be involved in.  At the same time, we anticipate creating new play spaces in 2020.  The thinking behind this is going to happen this year and the SRC will play a significant role in this development.  It will include both nature play and commercially purchased equipment.

Some interesting facts about our state in regards to public education;

  • Estimated number of public school students: 176,000
  • Estimated number of reception students starting this year: 13,500
  • Estimated number of year 8 students: 11,000
  • Estimated number of year 12 students: 11,000
  • Estimated number of preschool enrolments: 17,000
  • Estimated number of primary school students: 61,600
  • Estimated number of high school students: 114,400
  • Public schools in SA: 513
  • Public preschools in SA: 404

I look forward to working together as a team to ensure the best education for our 2019 students.

Kind regards,

Steve Freeman