Principal Barry Finch OAM

On behalf of the Port School Board, it is with great pleasure that we announce that our Principal, Mr. Barry Finch, has been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia–Meritorious in the Queen’s Birthday Honour Awards for 2022.

Barry has been honoured for his services to at-risk youth and to education. “On behalf of all Australians, I congratulate the Australians recognised in today’s Honours List,” the Governor-General said.

“Recipients share some common traits – including selflessness, excellence and a commitment to service. They’re from different backgrounds, their stories are each unique, and each has served in different ways. This diversity is a strength, and each has impacted their community and made it better. For that, we thank them and, today, we celebrate them. Collectively the recipients, whose achievements span community service, science and research, industry, sport, the arts and more, represent the very best of Australia”

Since Barry’s time at Port School, initially as the workshop teacher and then as Principal following his appointment in 2010, Port School has evolved to become a flagship school of best practice for youth in need. Under Barry’s 11+years of leadership, the School has developed a suite of programs including:

  • An early intervention Middle School Program.
  • A remodelled multi-tiered Senior School so that no student is left behind or unheard.
  • A Mobile Classroom Program for students unable to work within the scope of a classroom program.
  • An Outreach Program for our most difficult to engage students.
  • A Young Parent Centre for teenage mothers to finish their schooling, which is housed alongside an Early Learning Centre for their babies, offering support services and mentors for our young parents.
  • A state-of-the-art commercial kitchen which serves to both feed the school community and to train our students in a real hospitality setting.
  • A wrap-around health and student services team of psychologists, clinical psychologists and counsellors.

All these initiatives have come to fruition in Barry’s time as Principal, transforming Port into a sophisticated hub of re-engagement for students to not only re-engage back into school, but also into their community as active citizens.

Barry will be the first to tell you that it ‘takes a village to raise a child’. He is a modest and quietly spoken man, who shuns the limelight. He values and can identify just the right people for the job and this gift for ‘collecting’ amazing people to work in this school has been behind the outstanding success and development of Port School’s team. Despite the at times very difficult nature of working with Port School students, the School has a very high staff retention rate.

Barry’s vision for the School and his single-mindedness to build something exceptional has resulted in a very special school, that for many students is the family they lack or the support they and their families dearly need. Barry Finch is, in no uncertain terms, a recipient worthy of the values the award within the Order of Australia represents.

Anne Gee
Port School Board Chair

13 June 2022

(08) 9335 6323