Extra classroom added as Pine Hill School grows

Pine Hill School principal Melissa Ward is excited the school is growing from two classrooms to...
Pine Hill School principal Melissa Ward is excited the school is growing from two classrooms to three next year. PHOTO: JESSICA WILSON
Pine Hill School is expanding to make room for its growing roll.

The school will have another classroom of pupils next year, increasing from two classes to three.

School principal Melissa Ward was thrilled.

"We worked really hard and the school’s just come on in leaps and bounds," Miss Ward said.

At present, there are 46 pupils at the school — 30 in the junior class and 16 in the senior class.

The school was expected to start next year with about 42 pupils, and it was thought more would enrol throughout the year.

"We are predicted to keep growing which is really exciting."

Classrooms would be divided into Years 1 and 2, Years 3 and 4, and Years 5 and 6.

Previously, Year 3 pupils who were moving into Year 4 went straight into the senior class, which was "quite a big jump", Miss Ward said.

"Now they get another year in that middle class before they move to the senior class."

She put the growth down to positive word of mouth, and a supportive community and staff.

"All it has taken for a couple of families to come here and then pass word on, and the roll’s just going from strength to strength."

The school also had a transition programme with Family Ties Educare, a nearby daycare centre, which allowed 4-year-olds to visit the school before starting.

"That’s been really beneficial because the children are going home talking about Pine Hill School.

"They’re getting to know who their teacher might be if they come here."

The school had a lot of former refugee children, and Miss Ward was proud of their development.

"It’s been really great learning about their culture and seeing their language come on in leaps and bounds."

A new classroom also meant more teaching staff were required.

The school has two roles advertised, and Miss Ward hoped to have them filled by early November so children and their families would know who their teacher would be.

That allowed her to create management units within the school, so she could delegate some of her many roles.

It was extra incentive to keep staff and attract new ones, she said.

When Miss Ward took on the principal’s role about three years ago, the school had just reached 26 pupils and opened its second classroom.

"I’m really proud of all the hard work we’ve put in to get the roll up and have lots of great, positive chat about the school out there.

"It really is just an amazing little school and really is a treasure up in Pine Hill."

The school was also involved in the Government’s free lunches in schools initiative, and its donation scheme, Board of Trustee’s chairwoman Kirstyn Stanaway said.

"We’re really excited for the work Melissa and the staff are doing," she said.

"It’s a good school to be at."

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