Education Minister John Gardner visits Port Augusta

VISIT: Education Minister John Gardner and state Member for Stuart Dan van Holst Pellekaan together with students and teachers from Port Augusta Secondary School's Clontarf program. PHOTO: provided.
VISIT: Education Minister John Gardner and state Member for Stuart Dan van Holst Pellekaan together with students and teachers from Port Augusta Secondary School's Clontarf program. PHOTO: provided.

Education Minister John Gardner is excited for what the future holds for Port Augusta Secondary School (PASS) following his visit to Port Augusta on Thursday.

Mr Gardner spent time with students involved in the Clontarf Foundation program, while also discussing plans for the school's funding through the state government's $56 million capital works package.

The package is set to help PASS build its capacity of 700 students up to 900 by 2022, accommodating for both the predicted growth in public school students and moving Year 7 into high school.

While the exact amount of funding the school will receive has not been confirmed, Mr Gardner believes PASS can expect a grant in the range of $4-6 million.

"That growth will see some very exciting new facilities at the school," he said.

"We had a look at the facilities for STEM and art that they have, and those are terrific, but with the Year 7s coming into high school, there will need to be some extra specialist learning areas and some extra classrooms." 

The Clontarf program has been operating across Australia for many years, but was introduced in South Australia for the first time this year, with PASS named as one of four pilot academies.

The program aims to improve the education, discipline, life skills, self-esteem and employment prospects of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men.

Mr Gardner said the program targets high school-aged students who are at risk of disengaging from education, using sport as a motivator to keep young men in school.

"We were so impressed today meeting a group of those students in the Clontarf program," he said.

"They are really motivated, they are really excited about being part of that program, but most importantly, they’re really excited about being at school."

Mr Gardner also spent time at Tafe SA, exploring the possibility of rolling out more flexible education models that would enable Year 11 students to begin apprenticeships or traineeships while still completing their South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE).

The Education Minister finished off his visit with a meeting with all of the principals, deputy principals and chairs of governing councils from every learning institution in Port Augusta.

State Member for Stuart Dan van Holst Pellekaan organised the meeting, as he believed it was important to bring together all of the local leaders in education.

"I wanted to bring together a meeting for all of the key leaders from those learning institutions to have the opportunity to engage with each other and the minister," he explained.

EDUCATION: John Gardner, second from left, and Dan van Holst Pellekaan, right, meet with Tafe SA representatives Robyn O'Dea, John McAuliffe and Shanon Pillion. PHOTO: provided.

EDUCATION: John Gardner, second from left, and Dan van Holst Pellekaan, right, meet with Tafe SA representatives Robyn O'Dea, John McAuliffe and Shanon Pillion. PHOTO: provided.