From Abu Dhabi to Bremer State High
A THREE-YEAR stint reforming the curriculum in the United Arab Emirates has given Bremer State High School's new principal Richard Morrison a fresh appreciation of life back in his home country.
Without the stifling heat or the cultural differences to worry about, Mr Morrison is prepared to focus on finishing a process that he helped implement more than six years ago; introducing year 7s to secondary school life.
A teaching career spanning a quarter of a century has taken Bremer's new boss into some influential positions of late, including Education Queensland's central office, where he led the process to bring year 7 students into high schools across the state.
As principal of Bremer High - a school that participated in a pilot program for year 7s this year - he will have the privilege of welcoming an additional 300 students at the start of 2015.
Mr Morrison - the school's first full-time principal since Bruce Saxby retired at the end of 2013 - took up office at the start of term 4.
"I had been in Abu Dhabi for the last three years, working as the regional co-ordinator for what was the biggest educational reform in the world," he said.
"I took an offer from Education Queensland while I was in the Middle East. My wife and I felt it was time to come back to Australia.
"For me, Bremer represents an exciting challenge. It's only my second week here, but it has already been fantastic - it's a really good school with a dedicated staff that is full of energy and ideas."
Bremer is a huge school - not just geographically but in terms of student numbers.
This year it boasts more than 1700 students, but that figure will exceed 2000 when the full contingent of year 7s arrives.
"It's going to be a challenge and an opportunity," Mr Morrison said.
"I think these children are ready for secondary school. They are ready for more specialised facilities and a different level of learning."
Mr Morrison said he was impressed with the school's new home at Warwick Rd - the campus that replaced the former site at Eastern Heights in 2011.
He said the school was well-positioned to maintain the focus on literacy and numeracy.
"I want to ensure the children want to come to school here every day - I want to ensure they are happy to be here."