SORELL School will become the school of choice for families in the South East, East Coast and Eastern Shore if new Principal Jenny Cowling and her staff have any say in it.
Just weeks into her new role as Principal, Ms Cowling says those who currently bypass the school will think again as the school develops its birth to adulthood program.
Ms Cowling, who for the past 5 years has been a mentor to principals across 32 schools in southern Tasmania, doesn’t doubt the challenge ahead, but is confident the uniqueness of Sorell School and its various campus’ will be a catalyst for change and improved outcomes.
“I think what we have is ripe for opportunity,’’ Ms Cowling said.
“We have a new build, we have a unique offering from birth to adulthood learning.
“We do great things, but we need to communicate them better.’’
Ms Cowling who has previously been a principal at Windermere and Maydena, grew up in the North West.
Born in England, she came to Tasmania with her family as a “ten pound pom’’ and attended state schools: “I have a strong sense of social justice’’.
Sorell School is unique in Tasmania.
With a new build on the horizon – construction due to start next year and expected to be completed in five years – the school has several campus’.
Kindergarten at Midway Point; primary and high schools, the trades training centre, farm school and the Heritage Village.
Ms Cowling has already made changes.
Grade six, which was previously on the High School Campus, has been returned to the Primary School.
“We also reviewed out current values and have adopted aspiration, courage, growth and respect,’’ Ms Cowling said.
“We have changed the school’s timetable to include social skills at the start of the day.
“This way we can talk about our values and discuss what they mean.
“We are explicitly teaching what these values mean.’’
Sorell has also been one of the few schools in Tasmania to immediately adopt the Tasmanian Government’s mobile phone policy.
Most schools will implement to phone ban from term two, but Sorell decided to start the year with the policy.
“I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the response,’’ Ms Cowling said.
“The rule is your phone needs to be locked in your locker or bag.
“If it’s heard it is confiscated until the end of the day..
“Our business is learning, first and foremost and I make no apology for it.’’
Ms Cowling said the school had an active school association and very good links with community groups.
With 900 students, 120 staff including 20 new this year, Ms Cowling said the future was bright.