Reidy Park showcases new facilities

STEM ROOM: Minister for Education Blair Boyer observes Reidy Park Primary School student Alec build his project.

Charlotte Varcoe

STUDENT leaders at Reidy Park Primary School showcased new facilities to the state’s education minister this week.

Minister for Education Blair Boyer toured the facilities including a new Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) classroom, Reception classrooms and an outdoor area.

The upgrades were part of the previous Labor State Government’s $5.3m funding injection which was first announced by former minister Susan Close in 2017.

While the developments were completed in Term Two last year, Mr Boyer officially presented student leaders and Reidy Park Primary School principal Craig Scerri with a plaque during an intimate opening this week.

Mr Scerri said the students had responded well to the developments across the school including the outdoor space and sandpit.

“Having that area central is so inviting and it just brings a nice calmness and a good feeling about the school,” Mr Scerri said.

“The classrooms were quite dated and dull and now they are bright and vibrant which makes you feel good about being in there and the kids feel good and they are more receptive to their learning.”

He said as well as improved classrooms, the developments had allowed better storage for items such as classroom equipment and student’s school bags – creating a tidier and safer environment.

“Part of the design was having the big cupboards which allows us to have plenty of resources but also get the bags and things out of the way which stops the kids tripping over them and really opens up the learning spaces as well,” Mr Scerri said.

“The other nice thing down in the new rooms is the hearing augmentation which is in there for students with hearing difficulties but what we also notice is it is great for the kids to be able to hear the teachers really clearly but also saves the voices of the teachers as well.”

He said the STEM room remained popular for students while fostering and creating “21st Century skills”.

“To be able to have kids woodworking, 3D printing and robotics, what we really wanted to do was have the kids considering the design process so being posed problems, designing solutions then building it so they can test it and reflect on what they created to them potentially make some improvements,” Mr Scerri said.

“Being able to have access to those types of lessons which are focused on that area can only be a good thing.”

Mr Boyer said he enjoyed touring the facilities, stating it was easy to “get trapped” in an office in the city but believed it was important to come to regions and spend time with teachers and students.

“That way you see the things which you have built with taxpayer money and there is also a great opportunity to tour a school I have not been to before which has a really good reputation, good leaders and teachers,” Mr Boyer said.

“I have been on hundreds of school tours and the students here are confident kids with good manners who are also excited about their learning and keen to talk to some stranger.”

He said having the STEM equipment was fantastic with students showing eagerness and excitement to learn.

“I would have loved to have that when I was in school as programming a robot to do what it is told is unbelievably fun,” he said.

“But it is not just about fun, it is the skills they are going to need in the workplace and things like coding is the equivalent of me learning touch typing when I was in school.”

Mr Boyer said he understood there were challenges in terms of building a workforce which the state needed and with more students invested in learning STEM skills the more would come out of school with a STEM qualification.

“I love to see it in primary aged kids but I especially like seeing them enjoy it,” he said.

“There is a national if not international issue with girls dropping mathematics in high school and we have got to change something around that but it is cutting out 50 per cent of the population to draw from all the jobs requiring those qualifications.”

As well as visiting Reidy Park Primary School, Mr Boyer toured the new Timberlink Facility which will be producing wood products for the technical college.

He also toured the site the college would be built on before meeting with educational representatives.

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