St Ann's School principal Sonny Smith with students Emma Paratene and Oliver Chiarelli.
St Ann's School principal Sonny Smith with students Emma Paratene and Oliver Chiarelli.

New school aims to be hub for families in growing area

HALF of the students who walked through the gates of one of Ipswich's newest school came from families which are new to one of the city's fastest growing communities.

Catholic primary school St Ann's at Redbank Plains welcomed 100 students from Prep to Year 3 today.

The school will grow by one school year at a time until it reaches Year 6, with a final capacity of 780 students and about 50 staff.

Principal Sonny Smith said enrolments were still being received and that number is expected to rise.

"We have refugee students, (students from) defence families and a lot of people moving into the area … that's close to 50 per cent of our families," he said.

"It's unique. Not only are they new to the school but new to the area as well.

"When people are new to an area they look to connect to community and we want to be that place to connect with."

Mr Smith began as principal in August and oversaw work on the 3.2 ha site on Halletts Rd opposite the Cashmere Road Reserve.

St Ann's is the only Catholic school opening in Queensland this year.

"I've been working from an office for nine months," he said.

"It was beautiful to see the smiles on the kid's faces as they came through the gates.

"Every single person coming into St Ann's brings an air of excitement around the history that we're creating."

The finishing touches are still being put on a few of the school's facilities, including the playground, but that is expected to be completed within a couple of weeks.

"We have flexible, contemporary classrooms here. When you go in you'll see a lot of space with multiple areas where the teachers can teach from.

"They're not just anchored to one whiteboard at the front.

"There's the opportunity for teachers to go around the classroom and be really flexible with their learning environments. The before and after school care facility opened (on Tuesday).

"We've got a full size oval and a hall for the kids to play in.

"We're using iPads for our students from Prep to Year 3. We're trying to be innovative, creative and inclusive."

The school is named after the patron saint of miners.



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