Harvey Primary School congratulated on wonderful achievement

I wish to extend my formal congratulations to Harvey Primary School and the surrounding community for receiving one of our state’s most prestigious education awards.

Of the 750 schools in Western Australia, Harvey Primary School is now among only five to have been presented with an Excellence in Public Education award from the Director-General of Education.

The award recognises academic performance, engagement with the community and overall commitment to students.

The Department of Education’s independent review group is tasked with finding schools that are shining lights.

The group found that the whole education system could learn a lot from Harvey Primary School. Harvey is a standout due to its ability to capitalise on strengths, work towards challenging targets and build good working relationships with the community.

Located 150 kilometres south of Perth in the town of Harvey, the primary school has an enrolment of 307 students, many of whom have an Italian heritage, with an increasing proportion from Asian countries.

Improved student learning has been the school’s overriding priority. Cooperative learning programs across all year levels have seen a dramatic increase in students’ reading and numeracy skills.

Analysis of state and national testing for years 3, 5 and 7 has shown that the school is consistently above typical performance levels and in some cases well above expectations. Students at this school now strive to be successful and are rightly proud of their success.

In a wider sense, the school has successfully fostered a culture which promotes mutual respect, high expectations and accountability.

All staff—from teachers and their support staff to the friendly faces at the front desk—have taken individual and collective responsibility for their students’ learning and wellbeing.

Teachers know the children’s needs and have the talent and the professionalism to meet those expectations.

This has created a safe and engaging environment that has seen students take great steps outside the classroom.

This week the school competed at the celebrated Bunbury Eisteddfod in the dance category for the first time and placed third. Last Saturday the school won the primary division of the Bunbury Drama Festival.

The award for exemplary performance has been a direct outcome of the school’s strong vision, which has become a shared understanding of what could and should be achieved.

Parents and community members have become allies of the school’s leadership team in their determination to deliver high-quality learning experiences.

Strong collaboration has created a culture which promotes a sense of pride, belonging, care and respect.

A long-term corporate partner, Alcoa, has supported numerous programs that promote good physical and mental health, environmental awareness and first aid.

Other good friends of the school include the Harvey Rotary Club and the local branch of the Business and Professional Women’s Association.

I have also taken an active interest in the school and am very proud to have been involved and supportive in a practical way. The school and its students have also developed a strong social conscience and have fundraised thousands of dollars for Children’s Leukaemia and Cancer Research Foundation.

It is clear that there is something special about the Harvey Primary School, and the award recognises this. None of these improvements, however, happened overnight.

It could not have been achieved without a determined desire for improvement. Principal Colin Brand has displayed leadership which has been characterised as strong and decisive with clear vision and direction.

It has been a seven-year journey at Harvey for Colin, and the very good people who have backed his foresight and initiative.

The significance of this award for the town of Harvey is not to be underestimated. The great local primary school, which the community has invested its time and efforts in, is a source of pride for Harvey.

Knowing that their children are actively engaged in a safe and happy learning environment gives great confidence to parents in our community.

It provides them with great hope for their children’s future, the future of education in the town and also for the town itself.

In concluding, once again I congratulate the school, its partners, the local community—all of those who are part of this wonderful success story—and acknowledge and congratulate everyone at the Harvey Primary School for their success with this award.