Bingara Central School News, October 13, 2011 (Week 1, Term 4)

October 14, 2011

The school building, classrooms and grounds are all in excellent order and provide a welcoming environment for students and staff to return to after the holidays.

Now that the warmer weather has arrived we are renovating the front lawn and this week Primary Industries students are assisting relieving groundsman Rob Coombes in planting grass runners. We expect the grass to cover during this summer growing season. We welcome Rob to his role and wish Trevor Galvin an enjoyable break over the next six weeks of leave.

In the last week of Term 3 I invited Michael Wilson from the Armidale Office to conduct a parent school attitude survey. Michael phoned 42 randomly selected families of students in both primary and secondary. Michael’s first question asked how likely parents were to recommend Bingara Central School as a good place to learn? The responses were recorded on a scale of 0 to 10 where 10 was strongly recommended and are shown in the accompanying graph.

It is my assessment that the school’s performance is highly rated by a large majority of parents with the peak responses for the whole school centred on 8/10. Just as pleasing is the support parents have for both Primary and Secondary departments. As one parents commented “it is very difficult to get 10/10”, even though three parents did give that score. The ranking was backed up by many positive comments about teachers and teaching ability, class sizes, community links, classes through to Year 12 and the positive and friendly ‘feel’ when people visit the school. 

I also acknowledge that there were responses that were not so favourable and that these should not be ignored. There were also some responses that were inaccurate. For example, “the curriculum and choices offered are not as extensive as in larger schools”. In fact the Primary curriculum is uniformly similar across the breadth and the variety of courses being studied by our secondary students is much more extensive than I have experienced in larger high schools. This is because we develop individual learning plans for secondary students, particularly in Stages 5 and 6, to meet individual needs and provide creative solutions to achieve this.

However, although the averaged responses are very good I feel we need to be doing still better. To this end we are evaluating a structural organisation that places emphasis on the middle years of schooling from Year 5 to Year 8. We are building the student wellbeing program PBL and beginning a community awareness campaign this week. Our focus for the National Partnerships funding agreement over the remaining two years will be on the senior years of highschool from Year 9 to Year 12 ensuring the best individual outcomes are achieved by our students. We will be maintaining Quicksmart and Multilit programs as well. 

It is clear that the future prospects for our school and its students are positive and that there remains much that can be achieved. 

Mark Vale,