The first moves to establish the school at Glen Katherine were formalised in 1986 when St. Helena Secondary College moved out of its temporary premises into its permanent complex leaving a core of relocatable buildings on the present site. Active representation by a group of local parents, with the support of the late Mrs. Pauline Toner resulted in twelve classrooms, an Art room, a Library and an Administration block being designated as Glen Katherine Primary School.
The Ministry of Education along with a selected group of parents and teachers then advertised the position of Principal and carried out the selection process. The newly selected Principal, Mr Ray Carroll, officially commenced in October of 1987. The school took in students for the first time in February 1988 when 120 children were enrolled and grew quickly, reaching 980 in 1998. As the years have gone by, the school's enrolment has tended to reduce slowly due primarily to the fact that Eltham North and St Helena areas are now much more established and not growth areas like they were back in the nineties.
The School Council was formally constituted by the Minister of Education in 1988, with one of its first and major responsibilities to plan and supervise the building of the new Glen Katherine Primary School. The new school was occupied in February 1990, and officially opened in April by Mrs. Joan Kirner, Minister of Education.
The school completed a major building upgrade in 2003. The scope of works included the upgrading of Staff Administration and Amenities, Library Extensions, seven new general purpose classrooms and student toilets. The project was funded jointly through $900,000 Commonwealth, $666,736 State Government and $39,786 school community contributions. The work was completed by October 2003 and students moved into their new facilities early in Term 4, 2003. In 2009, a large shade structure was built over the courtyard (main school assembly area) as a result of 'Schools of the 21st Century' funding initiative. At the beginning of 2011, a new multi purpose facility was completed as a consequence of funds received from the Commonwealth Government's 'Building the Educational Revolution' project. Facilities upgrades/renewal continue to be an important part of ensuring adequate and safe learning spaces for our students.
In 1993, Glen Katherine was in the first group of schools selected to participate in the "Schools of the Future" project. This presented a very challenging but very rewarding opportunity for the School Council, School Staff and School Community to work together in the production of the School Charter. We continue to develop and implement a four year Strategic Plan which forms the basis of our ongoing school improvment.
Substantive Principal appointments since the founding Principal Ray Carroll have been Stan Mitchell, Jill Ramsay, Leanne Tingwell and Gerard Fay.
The community of Glen Katherine has a great deal to be proud of. The facilities and programs offered at the school are as good as any on offer in the state of Victoria. All current and prospective families are invited to participate in the continuous development of Glen Katherine PS, ensuring that it stays an exciting, contemporary and vibrant learning community.
AN EXPANDED PROFILE OF GLEN KATHERINE
Children are drawn from the surrounding suburbs of Eltham, Diamond Creek and Greensborough, and from the next ring of surrounding suburbs of Research, Watsonia, Plenty, Yarrambat and Hurstbridge. A recent traffic survey identified 82% of the students were driven by family car to school, 16 % walk and around 2% use bicycles. No child uses public transport. Parents and children may enter the school from a number of entrances. The school has previously worked with the education department and local government authorities to provide a safe pick up and drop off zone which enables parents to drive off road and drop off and pick up their children in a safe area. The facility also enables buses to enter the school and provide easy access for grades going on excursions, camps and sporting activities. The carpark clears easily within ten minutes providing drivers comply with the short pickup and drop off guidelines.
The area has seen the subdivision of farmland over the last 20 –30 years, and the population has boomed in that time. There are many primary schools in the area: Apollo Parkways, Eltham North, Greenhills, Diamond Creek, Diamond Creek East, Kangaroo Ground, Research, Greensborough, Montessori, St Thomas, Sacred Heart and Holy Trinity. Secondary Colleges include: St Helena, Eltham High, Diamond Valley, Montmorency, Eltham College and Eltham CLC.
The local communities pride themselves on strong historical links when the area was pioneered in the 1850’s when gold, wine and orchards were the main industries. The communities also have strong environmental and artistic links.
Enrolment trends indicate that the baby boom has passed and the school population will slowly decrease to plateau at around 500 students.
The school has a Student Family Occupation (SFO) index score of 0.24. Funding for Student Family Occupation (SFO) is targeted at those students whose readiness to learn is affected by a range of circumstances, including prior educational experiences and family or other personal circumstances. Consequently, SFO funding supports programs that focus on students at risk of not achieving success at school with particular emphasis on students with literacy delay. The SFO component of the Student Resource Package (SRP) provides funding to schools through the SFO Index.
Over the years, School Council has funded the purchase of extra classrooms specifically designated to support the school's programs, including the Early Years' resource room, Science room and Community room, providing a much needed area for our PFA members who oversee uniform shop operations, and fundraising for the school.
Glen Katherine Primary School Council and staff are committed to offering equality of opportunity to all members of the school community. We aim to create an environment in which all members of the school can work together in a co-operative manner, develop a sense of unity, experience enjoyment and success and to ensure all children achieve to their full potential.
SCIENCE AND SUSTAINABILITY FOCUS
The school has a designated Science classroom and has developed an environmental area called the Glen Katherine Gully to support our vibrant Science Program. The school has been part of the School Innovation in Science Program (SIS) and more recently, the Australian Sustainable School's Initiative in which we are working towards 5 STAR recognition. In 2011, the school was also announced by government as a Specialist Science & Sustainability school and awarded a $100,000 grant to continue its recognized work in this field. Over time, there has been significant growth in terms of staff confidence and knowledge of exemplary science teaching together with improved student attitudes and skills in Science.
The GK Gully is located next to the Science Room and is a wonderful resources for students and teachers to use in their environmental explorations. After 10 years of hard work, what was once a dry, forgotten dust bowl in the corner of the school is now a rich environment of biodiversity including a pond, worm farms, composts, hothouse, rain tank and vegetable patches surrounded by native and indigenous plants. The students enjoy their gully time very much and find it a peaceful place to stop and enjoy the natural environment. In conjunction with Banyule Council, students regularly engage in planting indigenous shrubs and plants throughout the school. Every Monday, the Gully Club meets to maintain and continue to improve our wonderful Gully.
Glen Katherine Primary School is committed to maximizing the educational opportunities for all students with staff professional development playing a vital role in achieving this. Valuing children and their learning, striving for continuous improvement and living each day according to our shared values is the challenge we have adopted for ourselves.