18 February 2021
Member for Waite: I also rise to make a brief contribution on this 79th report of the committee on the Mitcham Girls High School redevelopment. Mitcham Girls High School is a fantastic school in my electorate and one of the flagship state schools in South Australia. It was selected as a pilot school for the transition of year 7 students into high school, with the school offering a year 7 proposition from the first term of 2020.
By October 2019, we knew we were getting ready for a big increase in students and there was some allocation of funding of $5 million as part of the modular education facilities program to accommodate 900 students then at the school site. It is a fantastic project, which is well and truly required and needed by the school. If I can just touch on the year 7 program, it has been so fantastically taken up with enrolments exceeding expectations in the transition program of last year, this year and for the rollout next year.
Young ladies from right around my electorate have been going to Mitcham High School for the last year or two, and the feeder schools from the system there locally such as Belair Primary, Blackwood Primary and Mitcham Primary have really been focusing and working on this year 7 transition program. I think it has just lifted the whole sense of the Mitcham Girls High School proposition. As part of that, new facilities are needed and it is fantastic to see the government investing in Mitcham Girls High School.
As I said, it is a school that punches above its weight and it does so well in terms of its proposition. There is online learning and, in some recent news on how to use Teams, students were in a TikTok version to help students work remotely during COVID. A great STEM building there was opened a year or two ago, and they are really pushing the science/mathematics/engineering pathways for our future female leaders, and that leads to so much innovation.
Participation in sport is something the school is very proud of, and it has a fantastic drama and arts service and proposition for its students, and certainly at the year 11 and 12 levels the quality of the drama production from Mitcham Girls High School is second to none. The students at that school are winning statewide prizes, which is fantastic. I know last year the school SRC representative participated in R U OK? Day and Wellbeing Week. They had a Wellbeing Week carnival last year as well during all the COVID issues.
It is an holistic school, a school where enrolments are going from strength to strength. It offers an absolutely unique proposition to students all around the state, but in particular in the southern suburbs of Adelaide.
For the last year or two, the school has had principal Linda Baird, who concluded at the end of 2020. Linda had a two-year stint there, and I think she prepared the school so well for the transition of year 7s to high school, overseeing the initial building works, STEM funding and capital funding being spent on the school site. A new principal is starting this year, Nathan Cini. It is a five-year appointment, and this is the first time Mr Cini is acting as a principal, so I wish him all the best in his new role.
I wish the fantastic students and staff all the best for 2021. It is only one of two public girls' schools in South Australia. It is unzoned, so it means that students come from all around Adelaide to attend Mitcham Girls High School. I know that students come from Aldinga, Seaford, Port Adelaide and the northern suburbs to go to this very good high school. At Mitcham they encourage girls to be their very best, and they support the girls as much as they can.
I think their motto is 'Once a Mitcham girl, always a Mitcham girl'. I wish them all the best with this development and the school as it continues to grow in enrolments and provide a fantastic educational opportunity for so many young South Australian women.
Member for Kavel: I acknowledge the contribution of the member for Waite, who has been a determined, consistent and passionate advocate for this project, and is a longstanding supporter not just of Mitcham girls but also public education in our state, having had the benefit of a very fine public school education himself. It is a matter about which he reminds us, and we are appreciative of his consistent advocacy. Speaking myself as the son of two school teachers, I appreciate the representations he makes.
I also acknowledge the leadership of the school governing council. The member for Waite mentioned the consistent advocacy of Linda Baird, who was then the principal, and we certainly wish the incoming principal, Nathan Cini, the very best of our wishes as he sees through the benefits of this project. I recommend the scope of the public works.