St Aloysius Catholic Primary School opened in Chisholm on 2 February 2015. The school was named by Bishop William Wright, partly in recognition of a previous Diocesan school – St Aloysius’ College, Hamilton - which originally opened in 1915. Our school is enriched by the traditions and teachings of both the Jesuits and the Mercy Sisters. St Aloysius, the patron saint of young students, joined the Jesuits at 17 and died at the age of 23, caring for victims of an epidemic. The Mercy Sisters ran the original St Aloysius College as well as St Francis Xavier's School, the original Morpeth Parish School, from 1883 to 1969.
We are an integral part of the Immaculate Conception Parish Morpeth and the Chisholm Pastoral Region. We recognise the traditional custodians of this land, the Awabakal and Wonnarua people, whose living traditions and lasting culture have shaped our local environment. Our school is a landmark and centrally located in Waterford County, Chisholm. The cross on our chapel is a focal point for the local community by day and night.
Our school was officially opened and blessed on 9 March 2015. Our foundation year was a unique, exciting and inspiring opportunity as we established our identity as St Aloysius Catholic Primary School community. As a new school we are able to dream and create a positive, faith-filled learning culture together. We want to build a school where our students grow both in their faith and as confident, courageous and collaborative learners. Our approach to learning is underpinned by the Four Pillars of Learning – Learning to Know, Do, Be and Live Together. We are blessed to have brand new facilities that create welcoming and exciting places to learn.
The school has been architecturally designed to incorporate the natural landscape into outside learning opportunities. The buildings have been designed around a central courtyard and playground to provide a sense of community. Classrooms are connected to the outside using flexible walls that create indoor/outdoor spaces. Our classroom buildings incorporate natural light and utilise natural colours and many timber surfaces. Flexible furniture, the latest computer technology and unique, interesting classroom features have been incorporated to provide a stimulating and adaptable learning environment. St Aloysius is technology rich, wirelessly linked and staffed by teachers who understand the importance of carefully planned learning that incorporates technology. Our school was designed to meet the needs of contemporary learners, allowing for both collaboration and personalised learning. Effective collaboration by teachers as a Professional Learning Community is enhanced with the inclusion of purpose-built teacher hubs.
Our school opened with 18 staff members. The rigorous merit selection process used to employ our staff has resulted in an exemplary team of well-qualified, committed and passionate teachers and support staff. Our school opened with 223 students transferring from 31 different schools, as well as 25 preschools. Our first intake of students came from a wide area incorporating 25 suburbs. We have a higher than average proportion of non-Catholic students requiring us to be very proactive in incorporating a Catholic perspective across the curriculum.
One of our first priorities has been to create a new school culture as a Catholic school with new and unique buildings and furniture, an evidence-based approach to teaching and learning and a distinct environment. We need to build firm foundations incorporating our Catholic identity, learning culture and as a positive school community. As a staff, we have worked collaboratively to implement a common learning language and processes throughout the school, e.g. the naming of our flexible work spaces as campfires, watering holes and caves.
Our second priority has been building community and opportunities for parents to engage with our school and their child’s learning. This process commenced in 2014, with a variety of events planned to enable students and parents to meet, interact and start building relationships prior to the school opening. The use of technology and social media has been important in building these connections. Our parents have been invited to join one of 20 parent committees to enable all families to support the school utilising their skills and interests in our foundation year.
The second stage of the school’s development was completed in June 2018 and officially opened in November of that year. It includes 10 additional classrooms, three learning commons, a new Administration Block, refurbished Learning Hub/Library, new play spaces and equipment, an extended car park and associated landscaping.
The final stage of building is due to commence in October 2019 with completion scheduled for mid-2020. This building will comprise of five new classrooms, two learning commons, the relocation of two demounatbles, a covered outdoor area, soccer field and landscaping. On completion the school will reach its capacity of 630 children.