Students across the region are all feeling very excited to see their friends and return to their normal routines as they head back to school for the new year, following the devastating fires during the holidays.
In Tumut at McAuley Catholic Central School, student numbers are level compared to previous years with an enrollment of 337 students from K-10. There are 24 new Kindergarten students who started on Thursday, January 30, with a morning tea held to celebrate the milestone. The school also welcomed Jennifer Cutliffe as the new Year 3/4 teacher.
At Tumut Public School there is a “slight increase” in student numbers, with 50 Kindergarten students starting on Monday, February 3. The Kindergarten class is slightly larger than last year’s cohort. The school welcomed Paul Tarbit as the new Year 4 teacher on Wednesday morning, January 29.
Franklin Public School had a good number of enrollments this year, with the intake being only slightly down compared to previous years. The school has 12 classroom teachers this year, of which four are new. Jarrod Crane is the new Kindergarten teacher, Fiona Craim is teaching Year 1/2, Emily Nagel is teaching Year 5/6 and KJ is joining the school as a Year 5/6 Student Welfare Officer.
At Gadara School “numbers are up across the board,” which staff members are really pleased with. Students returned to school on Wednesday, January 29, and were greeted by lots of familiar faces, as there are no new teachers starting this Term.
In Brungle at Brungle Public School, student numbers are up by one this year, with three new Kindergarten students starting on Monday, February 3. With 14 students in total and no new teachers this Term, everyone is excited for “a nice gentle start” to the school year.
In Batlow at St Mary’s Primary School, student numbers are slightly down from last year with a total of 45 students. There are seven new Kindergarten students, and a new Year 2/3/4 teacher, Maddison Crazier. The school community was hit hard by the bushfires, with one teacher and four families losing their homes. One student’s family owned the Batlow Service Station that burnt down on January 4, so they have had to move. St Mary’s is supporting students and their families on a “case-to-case” basis to help assist them through the coming months. The school was also given over 200 backpacks earlier this month from the Holy Family Primary School in Gowrie, ACT, each filled with supplies for students in St Mary’s archdiocese.
In Adelong at Adelong Public School, student numbers remain level compared to previous years. Five new Kindergarten students started on Wednesday, January 29. All students seemed “in good spirits” and were “happy to be back” upon returning the same day. No students lost their homes in the recent fires but many lost land and farming sheds. Counselors were available for all students during the first week back, and the school also received backpacks full of supplies to help them through the year.
At St Joseph’s Primary School numbers are “very much up,” with 48 students in total. The Kindergarten class of 10 started on Thursday, having grown from six students last year. The school has expanded from two classes to three, and has also welcomed Jeff Foulfby as a new teacher. The recent fires had a “devastating effect” on the school community, of which most families were impacted. St Joseph’s sister school provided backpacks full of supplies for students, and the school held a morning tea before school started to “touch base with families.” All the students who returned on Wednesday, January 29, had “beautiful big smiling faces”, with staff saying they are all “very resilient.”
In Talbingo at Talbingo Public School, student numbers are up to eight this year, up one from last year. There are two new Kindergarten students who started on Thursday, January 30. All of the students’ families were evacuated during the fires, with some parents staying behind to defend their properties. 50 per cent of the school’s playground was destroyed by the blaze, with the school maze left totally destroyed. The RFS and other volunteer firefighters worked hard battling the fire as it approached the schools sheds, but luckily all the classroom buildings remained untouched.