We have come a long way since Mount Hawthorn Junior Primary School began as two classrooms constructed in 1933 for the infants’ section of Mount Hawthorn Primary School. The Primary School, originally known as Hawthorne School, opened in 1906 in the Mount Hawthorn Congregational Hall with 43 students and moved to its present site, Reserve No. 10948, in 1908.
When you mention Mount Hawthorn Primary School to those who do not live in the area they envisage beautiful renovated houses and established leafy trees and gardens making this a superb area to raise children as well as being safe, quiet and friendly.
Determining whether to remove or relocate trees is not made lightly. Any trees removed over the past ten years by the school or the City of Vincent have been due to arborist recommendations or to accommodate much needed facilities for students. These decisions have been made to mitigate risk for students and I am comfortable with the decisions.
Through a rapid growth in student enrolments (see below) the School Council (now Schools’ Board) and P&C have worked with representatives of the Department of Education to ensure the needs of the school community are understood.
As Principal it is my role to make the hard decisions which must always be in the best interests of the children. As parents I am sure you share these concerns, although I appreciate these decisions will not resonate well with some people.
It has become evident that there is not a united view from the School Board and the P&C over the relocation of the Jackson Bay Fig Tree to accommodate the new build. As Principal, and ultimately the site manager I would like to provide some clarity on this.
The Grounds Committee has achieved fantastic results for the school as evidenced by the significant improvements around the school. Their energy and hard work exemplifies the great community spirit this school is renowned for. I will continue to support and appreciate their efforts in the future. I understand the position they have taken on the relocation of the tree. I will also support the committee and wider community if they wish to explore the option of relocating the Jackson Bay Fig to another location within the City of Vincent.
The Schools’ Board has also spent a great deal of time deliberating the possibility of relocating the tree and after much discussion and research has made an informed decision not to support the relocation within the grounds for a number of reasons. The crucial aspect of the feedback from Board Members to me is concern around the safety to children following the relocation of the tree. As you can appreciate it is my responsibility to address any foreseeable risks to students.
I therefore support the position of the Schools’ Board. I do regret the angst this may cause many of our wonderful community members.
8 September 2017
Please see below information from the Schools’ Board, Grounds and Gardens Committee and the P&C: