Celebrating 25 Years

Over the past 25 years Port School has evolved from the relatively simple idea of an alternative community-based education, to a multifaceted, wrap-around service for our community’s most vulnerable and at risk youth.

The teenage journey can be challenging for any young person. Navigating adolescence, coupled with difficult home circumstances, limited opportunities and, for some, the lack of strong adult role models, creates a disorienting experience for our young people who, in many cases, fall into a spiral of rejection, failure and isolation.

Port offers a learning environment that is an alternative for students needing a different kind of school. We value community to build a sense of belonging, empowerment to engender a strong and positive sense of self, diversity to ensure there is a valued place for everyone and growth that helps to map a pathway toward personal success.

“It takes a village to raise a child”. This African proverb suggests that it takes an entire community of different people interacting with children, in order for a young person to experience and grow in a safe environment.

We often refer to our school as a village, a family of carers looking out for one another, uncovering talents, discovering gifts and sparking a lifelong love of learning and purposeful engagement, in the quest for meaningful life journeys.

 

Anne M Gee B Ed, ECE, Dip Teach, ECE/HPE
Port School Chair
Education and Strategic Planning Consultant

Milestones in Port School’s 25-year History

1992 – Port Community High School is established in Leake Street, Fremantle. It is incorporated by a group of parents as an independent high school, based on the freedom-of-expression principles of Summerhill School in England. Kirsty Sadler is the first teacher.

1993 – 15th February – Port Community High School opens to students at 15 Leake Street.

1993  – December – Ms. Margaret Payne is appointed as Co-ordinator. The school is small, with about 50 students.

1995  – June – The school moves temporarily to premises at 178 Forrest Street, Palmyra, but has the opportunity to buy a building (former squash courts) on Carrington Street in Hamilton Hill, made possible by a loan from AISWA and a grant from the State Government.

1996 –  The school moves into the new premises, after conversion of the squash courts to school classrooms. Mr. Kevin Gillan is appointed Principal. The school’s mission evolves to focus specifically on children at risk.

1998 –  Mr. Jim Cregan replaces  Mr. Gillan as Principal. Student numbers remain small, as there is little special funding available for disadvantaged youth.

2000 – Ms. Jane Hawdon is appointed Principal. Enrolment numbers are up, but fee structure is not following suit and there is little money for curriculum materials. Port Community High School encompasses the seven principles of the curriculum framework.

2001-2002 – A new timetable and learning program is introduced and real life learning groups are set up. Second prize of $1,000 is won in the Australian Conservation Volunteers Award. The Olive Grove is planted. In discussions held with Education Minister, Alan Carpenter, throughout the year, the seeds are sown for the philosophy of what would soon be termed CARE Schools (Curriculum and Re-engagement in Education), recognising of the value of of such schools and the need for a new funding model for them.

2003 – Ms. Jane Hawdon resigns.

2003-2010 – Dr. Peter Roguszka is Principal. The term CARE School (Curriculum and Re-engagement in Education) is coined under the Education Ministry of Alan Carpenter, to describe the four AISWA schools in WA that cater for young people identified as being at significant educational risk. Port School receives additional Federal and State funding which assists in the development of a workshop, kitchen and art facilities, and the hiring of specialist teaching staff.

2009 – The Constitution is amended. Port Community High School formally becomes Port School.

2009 – Dr. Peter Roguszka resigns.

2010 – present – Mr. Barry Finch is Principal. Under his tenure the school expands in several areas, and receives additional funding from the Federal Government’s  “Building the Education Revolution” program.

2012 – Mr. Mike Gilbert initiates a school-linkage program with Klang Special School, Malaysia, with assistance of Apex International. This develops into a longterm relationship and lays the foundation for the Port School Student Leadership Program.

2014 – An opportunity arises to acquire neighbouring premises for an Early Learning Centre and adjacent Young Parent Centre. The centre opens in 2016, and by 2017 have a full complement of young mothers completing their education while their babies and toddlers are cared for and given an early education next door.

2015 – The Mobile Classroom Program is established, an initiative seeking to meaningfully engage some of the most marginalised and disengaged young boys.

2016 – Port School becomes a Registered Training Organisation, accredited to deliver nationally recognised Vocational and Educational Training (VET) courses. Port now has the capacity to train senior students to attain job-ready qualifications and assist with their transition to the workplace.

2017 – After negotiations with Main Roads Department, adjacent land is leased for sports facilities, additional car parking and vehicle store. Student numbers climb from 45 in 2010 to over 100 enrolled in 2018.

2018 – Port School celebrates 25 years of Making a Difference to students at risk, nurturing them and helping them to achieve their rightful place in the community.

Providing a real alternative for adolescents who need a different kind of school.

(08) 9335 6323