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Heading back to school at Bourke with a smile

St Ignatius Principal Una Taylor welcoming students back to school for 2023. Photo Twh

Tricia Duffield

Bourke’s youngsters headed back to the classroom this week, with little ones getting their first taste of school and others returning to familiar routines, friendly faces, and new teachers.

There have also been a lot of changes in front of the classroom with new teachers coming back to take up positions, but as with schools across the state, teachers are in short supply.

At St Ignatius, well-known and much-loved Acting Principal, Una Taylor, now takes on the top job as principal, after former principal John Cowan wrapped up his time at the school last year.

“I was in the acting role for three years and I am very happy to be taking on the principal’s role,” Mrs Taylor said.

“I’m looking forward to continuing the good work we already do; I believe we are a very positive school. We are a community of learners, and we value our parent and community partnerships, particularly with organisations such as Maranguka and the PCYC.

“Of course, good academic results are always a priority, and we continue to work towards student improvements.

“We’ve had a quite number of families leave, with people in police, for example, moving on but that’s a natural attrition and our numbers are fairly steady, with 115 students.

“We have five classes, and they are a mix of composite classes, with a fairly small kindy class of 17 and then some combined classes of a Year One and Two and a Year Five and Six,” she said.

Attracting teachers to live and work in remote communities has always been a challenge, but St Ignatius has welcomed two new teachers to its staff - Sarah Ashleigh from Canberra and a familiar Bourke face in Joshua Beer, who spent much of his childhood in Bourke.

“Joshua returns to Bourke after finishing his master’s degree in teaching, and it’s wonderful to have him come back to teach at St Ignatius,” Mrs Taylor said.

“We still have one position to fill, and we are advertising for a support teacher, but securing staff is a problem right across the Diocese.”

The shortage of teachers has also impacted the Bourke High School, with the role of principal vacant after the incumbent principal ended his tenure at the end of Term Four. Rob Bourke has again taken on the role of Acting Principal at the school.

“I’ll have more information for the school community shortly and the position has been advertised,” Mr Bourke said.

“We should have a new permanent principal in March, so we can look ahead to getting someone in the leadership role.

“For the students, parents, and the community it can be disruptive to have these changes, but I believe we will secure someone who has the goods, starting in Term Two.

“In terms of the school, we are looking very carefully how we are programming the ways we teach and working with the kids in the community. […]

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