WASLEYS Primary School principal Tricia Joseph has only been in her new role for a few weeks, but already feels at home.
The Freeling resident of 30 years replaces former principal Debra Fairey and will lead the small community school for the next five years, following on from five years as principal of the 260-student Balaklava Primary School, and a prior position at the Pines Primary School at Parafield Gardens.
With just 23 students enrolled at Wasleys Primary in 2017, Mrs Joseph said it’s definitely a new experience for her, but also a great fit.
“I don’t know why I’ve never thought about moving to a small school before, because it’s just fantastic,” she said.
“The relationships you can develop are so strong.”
Mrs Joseph, who will also be teaching the school’s two classes for two days a week, said she is looking forward to building on the school’s relationship with the wider community, and rejuvenating the school’s kitchen-garden program.
“There are lots of people ready and willing to support the school,” she said.
“We have the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program here and we have got a dad…who is interested in coming to volunteer and get the kids ready to plant again.
“We have kitchens that they can go and cook in, so I’m thinking we could develop that with the community as well, because it’s important that the kids are involved with the community and have those connections.”
Mrs Joseph said she would also love to see the school’s enrolments increase, in line with the wider development of the town.
While the school’s lack of an out-of-school care facility makes it challenging to attract families, Mrs Joseph said staff go above and beyond to assist, where they can.
“It makes it tricky for working parents, but if the numbers increase we might be able to have an OSHC – it’s the chicken and the egg sort of thing,” she said.
“But the teachers are brilliant.”
Wasleys Primary School has gained six students, including three new receptions, this year, which is still down from the 47 students it had just five years ago.
“We could very easily have another class here, we’ve got the facilities for it,” Mrs Joseph said.
“It is such a beautiful little school, it’s got so much going for it and that community feel and intensive learning support you can give the kids is fantastic.”