Tuesday 26 November
Hansard of the Legislative Council

Riverside Primary School

[11.42 a.m.]
Mr FINCH (Rosevears) - Mr President, thank you very much. I recently toured one of the largest and best primary schools in Tasmania - of course, it is in my electorate.  It is a credit to its administrators and staff, the community and the Education department, and I am justly proud of it.  I speak of the Riverside Primary School, which, with just under 780 pupils, is a great example of public education.  It has very strong learning outcomes, innovative teaching practices with a strong professional learning culture and an outstanding external environment for learning.  About 96 per cent of the students go on to Riverside High and those who do not probably leave the district before secondary school age.  Most parents would much rather their kids go to Riverside High, the best private school the public system provides in Tasmania.  It is also a great school.

The primary school's principal, Jane Bovill, says she really wants to be as visible as possible and work with the students.  That is not always possible because all principals have high administrative workloads.  It is important, though, in a school of that size to build a strong and collaborative team, which she has been able to do, all members of which are working towards the same goals.  She says it is important to establish whole school expectations and processes in the teaching of literacy and numeracy.  The teaching is also focused on learning assets of students as thinkers, collaborators, communicators, self-managers and researchers, which will set them up for any future pathway, whether it be in tertiary education, the workforce or being a positive member of our community.  It is not just reading, writing and arithmetic - as we used to say, the three Rs, although that is R,W and A - I quote Jane -

Schools can't be responsible for everything

The content should not control what we teach - it should be skills, understanding and dispositions that set up children for the future.  We need to keep our young people curious, creative and resilient thinkers and learners.  She is a great thinker, a great educator.  Jane Bovill says the Education department has been supportive of innovative practice that improves outcomes for students and encourages parent satisfaction, particularly through its annual survey, which has one of the state's highest participation rates.  Jane says that Riverside's strong school association and partnerships with all members of the school community make this school great.  These are elements that will make any school great.

The Education department has thrown its financial support behind Riverside Primary School.  In turn, the school has received a $2.8 million capital project, including a school funding contribution.  It includes new facilities comprising four new classrooms and the upgrading of existing ones, a discovery centre, an external learning plaza, a student kitchen and an astroturf soccer field.

I will let some of the Riverside students have the last words; I will quote some of the comments from a recent grade 6 student survey -

  • 'It's inclusive.'

  • 'Lots of amazing opportunities.'

  • 'We are friendly.'

  • 'Wonderful spaces for learning.'

  • 'I am privileged that I can learn in this school and work in the classrooms.'

  • 'Thank you for giving us an open space with lots of sun and using student voices in the designs.'

  • 'It's a creative space instead of being a boring square box.

  • 'Makes me want to go to school more often.'

They are quotes from the students.  If the students are onside, somebody must be doing something right at Riverside Primary