With the Minister for Education, I spent a day visiting several local schools including Seaview High School, Darling Primary School and Marion Primary School.
At Seaview High School, we inspected the site of the school’s new performance arts building being constructed as part of the State Government’s Building Better School’s programme. Student Presidents Rhys and Casey then interviewed the Minister and me, asking all kinds of great questions including our own experiences at school. It was fantastic to speak with such thoughtful young people.
With over 40 per cent of its students from a non-English speaking background, Darlington Primary School does amazing work with its English language programs. The Minister and I were very impressed to hear about the intensive English language program which began in 2012 and is led by Lisa Sims, and also to meet students who have participated in the program including year seven students Zainab and Saud who began with no English and are now fluent English speakers and school ambassadors.
As the Minister and I were led around Darlington Primary’s School’s courtyard, we were treated to beautiful student artwork decorating the space and ranging from painted asphalt games to colour murals, including totem mosaics by Mrs Tragaras’ and Miss Thia’s classes inspired by the work of Torres Strait Islander artist Brian Robinson.
The last destination on our tour was Marion Primary School where we saw Mr Nathan Starling’s Room 10 class working on an impressive engineering project—they were recreating the Sydney Opera House using popsicles! Marion Primary School has an open plan without corridors, enabling students to move freely between classrooms and contributing to a positive community atmosphere. A major contribution to the school’s culture has been made by principal Cheryl Ross who has done a superb job in growing the school and will sadly be retiring soon. She certainly leaves big shoes to fill!