Primary role a familiar one

New Alkimos Primary School principal Andy Gorton at the site of the new school for 2016. Picture: Martin Kennealey        d439859
New Alkimos Primary School principal Andy Gorton at the site of the new school for 2016. Picture: Martin Kennealey        d439859

STARTING a school again was too good an opportunity to miss for principal Andy Gorton.

Last term, Mr Gorton finished his post at East Butler Primary School, where he had been foundation principal to take up the same role at the first public school in Alkimos.

The Quinns Rocks resident said he applied for the post at the school in Trinity Estate for “the opportunity and the challenge and the excitement of opening a new school again”.

“I got appointed (at East Butler) this time in 2006 – that opened in 2007,” he said.

“Other than teaching in the country which I love, opening East Butler was the highlight (of my career).”

Construction of the $12.2 million school is well under way at the site on Benenden Avenue, and Mr Gorton said they expected the school to start with 300 students in 2016.

He said it would be purpose built for 440 students, with 14 classroooms, an art room, inclusive education classroom, hard courts, three playgrounds and space for transportable classrooms when needed.

“I want it to be like East Butler because I want it to be the hub of the community, reflecting what the community needs,” he said.

“(Alkimos) is very similar (to Butler) in that there’s lots of young families, lots of first home buyers. We are going to put a nature playground in – that will be in the early childhood area.”

Mr Gorton said a similar playground at East Butler was popular. “It’s got rocks and sticks and big tractor tyres – every day we go there are kids playing on it,” he said.

With emphasis on the ongoing learning for teachers as well as students, Mr Gorton said he wanted there to be a big focus on student mental health and wellbeing.

He said preparation over the next few months would include deciding on a name for the school, and whether to apply for independent public school status, recruiting staff and selecting uniforms, a motto and logo.

With 29 years’ experience in education, the father-of-three said his first principal position was in 1990 at North Baandee, which had just six students.

Mr Gorton said he had been principal at other metropolitan schools, and even taken 18 months out from East Butler to work in a private business.

“I don’t regret trying new things (but) learnt pretty quickly that what we do in education is pretty good,” he said.

His wife Therese is acting principal at Butler Primary School, while son Matt (18) studies at Curtin University and daughters Emma (15) and Sarah (14) attend Butler College.

PARENTS MEETING

What: introductory meeting for parents of future students

When: Thursday, July 16 from 6.30pm

Where: East Butler Primary School, 7 Amersham Crescent

More: andrew.gorton@education.wa.edu.au