A Short History:
The history of Eltham North Primary is the history of local people working to provide the best education for their children. Eltham North has had seven primary schools, in four different locations. It has been ravaged by fire and adorned by artists. While little material evidence remains of the early history of the school, the evidence of passionate parents, battling to improve and develop the school is evident everywhere.
'Rest-a-while' was the first school opened in this private house on Lower Glen Park Road in 1924
The first primary school at Eltham North was borne out of a rising community concern that the area was being neglected. A local progress association agitated the Education Department, complaining that children had to walk two to three miles to Eltham School or Diamond Creek School. In the early 1920’s Eltham North had no made roads, no electricity, no gas, and no tap water; and no school. The first school opened in a private house, ‘Rest-a-While’ in Lower Glen Park Rd. From the 23rd of May 1924, thirty-seven children sat in a single room and listened to the teacher, Mrs Martha Merrifield. This school opened for seventeen months.
The 2nd School (1925), located on Banks Road, Eltham North
The second school, however, lasted almost thirty years. It was a single room of twenty by thirty feet, transported by horse drawn wagon from Greensborough and located on land in Banks Road. It was for this school that a bell was purchased. The bell was originally hung in the fork of a tree, but the tree fell down. Then, suspended by two posts, the bell rang out the school day and was used to warn of bush fire. Thirty years saw a depression, a world war and a growing school population. By 1952, sixty-two children were now pressed into the same single room. The lighting was poor and the desks were only twelve inches apart.
The Third school was held in the Progress Hall in Wattle Tree Road. Prep, grades 1,2, and 3, spent their day with two teachers in the old army hut, while the headmaster and other grades spent their days in the second school. At the end of the week the lower grades had to stack their desks to one side so that the hall could be used on the weekend. The third school was used for twelve months.
Parents wanted a new school built on the site of the Eltham North Park, but City of Heidelberg engineers condemned the area as being flood prone. So the fourth school was built in Lower Glen Park Road. It was a brand new building; two classrooms each twenty four by twenty four feet and an office cum staffroom. The fourth school was used for 23 years. By 1971 there were three classrooms and an office, then a portable and then the building was extended to six classrooms. In 1976 vandals burnt the school down. The school bell, unhurt by the fire, was hidden under the bed of a school councillor. The fifth school grew out of the ashes of the fourth. For twenty months, up to two hundred children were crammed onto the, now, overcrowded site. Parents, once again, agitated and fought for improved conditions.
The sixth school was a temporary home on the north side of Progress Road. For fifteen months the school marked time while a new school was being built on the current site. The sixth school became an annexe of Montmorency Secondary College and is now housing.
The seventh school, with its unique architectural style, was built with the dedicated involvement of parents and a budget of one million dollars. It was the climax of intense lobbying, effort, enthusiasm and daring. Once again the school bell, having survived the fire and the years, came out from under the bed and was hung on posts in the atrium. A symbol of those enduring qualities; manifested in the school environment but residing in the school community.
Past Principals gather for a photo at our 80th Anniversary celebrations.
In 2014 we celebrate our 90th Anniversary. Here is a summary of special events for the period 2004 ~ 2014.
Detailed summary for the period Since 2004
2004: There was a 5% growth in staffing for the year and a 2 - 3% growth on average each year since. Local merit based selection, enrolment growth, and quality professional development enabled us to complement our existing work force and to build new, professional, high performing teaching teams in each area of the school including the specialist and support area.
The growth in enrolments over the past few years required school expenditure on increasing furniture, literacy books, curriculum resources and computers. The achievement in matching resources to student needs was challenging, financially consuming and organisationally a challenge for master timetabling, communication procedures and office administration. Staff teams rallied and supported each other in an inspiring and professional manner.
At the commencement of the year we completed the zone development outside the staff room that included a water recycling tank and greenhouse facility. Our ongoing efforts to involve the school community in maintaining, planting out the school and generally improving the sense of ownership and responsibility for the school and the school environment continued during the year. The Environmental Leadership program complemented positive student attitude, pride and values associated with caring for the school environment. A school improvement focus in Science was enhanced by the development of a P-6 environmental program with Edendale Farm. Despite an enhanced and more attractive physical environment, cleanliness and tidiness, genuine care for the gardens, grounds and buildings was a demanding and constant focus.
Parental involvement and support at Eltham North Primary is evident. Not one school day went by without parents being involved in some way. Professional development for parent helpers, together with encouragement and support from staff to become involved, led to record numbers of parents participating in the classroom. Parent helpers in classrooms assisted teachers to better cater for the range of needs and abilities.
The Parent Rep program has been expanded and enhanced to make this group a key link to the rest of the community, leading to improved communication, understanding and support of the school. Through the Parent Reps we tapped deeper into our community for participation in working bees and support for the social activities so vital to the continuation of the social fabric of the school.
School Council has reviewed outdoor education activities. As a result, changes were put in place with emphasis on providing quality camping activities for the Year 5 and 6 students. Previously Year 5 students did not have a camping activity; an adventure style camp was arranged. The Year 6 camp was changed to an improved facility with outdoor activities on Phillip Island. We retained the Mt Evelyn camp for our Year 4 students.
The achievements of the school were many – the ‘Night of Stars’ musical talent evening was a superb example, one of the many attributes the school now presents. Each of these represented a positive step forward for the school’s amenities, which ultimately positions the school to achieve even more academically. In 2004 the highlight of the year was the school’s 80th anniversary celebration, which saw a major display of student talent and the opening of the ‘Rest-a-While’ shelter (named after the house where the first ENPS held classes). The shelter, opened by Jenny Macklin MP, was fully funded by the school community.
During the course of the year a major master planning exercise occurred, resulting in the master plan for two new General Purpose Classrooms (GPCs) adjoining the northeast corner of the existing academic block. Along with the building, the associated relocation of portable classrooms would create a flat play space, to the benefit of the children at the school. Other features of the project included a whole school electrical upgrade, improved car parking arrangements, and the reclamation of previously available play space.
2005: The school enrolment was 439 students. We shared the student population between 18 classrooms during the year. As class ratios levelled out in the mid 20’s we managed to provide additional teaching staff in Physical Education, Music and support teachers.
Significant school funded projects totalling $70,000 included the construction of a new Out of School Hours Care building, a sound proof Instrumental Music room and alterations to create a new classroom in the level 2 area. Government funds totalling $800,000 saw the construction of additional staff car park, the movement of relocatables and toilet block and construction of two new classrooms.
The Environmental Leadership program complemented positive student attitude, pride and values associated with caring for the school environment.
School Council had a very challenging year preparing for the Capital Works Program and the ongoing heavy workload of attaining targets and following through on council projects. The expertise, experience and enthusiasm of the councillors were an enormous feature.
2006: The school enrolment was 454 students. We shared the student population between 19 classrooms. The school’s considerable achievements can be seen through two lenses: Student achievement, and the successful implementation of processes and structures that support teaching and learning. Many of the structural and process achievements are also the very reason why student learning has improved.
The key achievements in student outcomes were:
Improved numeracy and literacy results to above Like School and State averages.
Students becoming more independent learners (e.g. student self evaluation, self reflection, internet access, integrated multimedia, Individual Learning Plans).
Improved student engagement and well being.
Easy and smooth transition of students from pre school to school and from Year 6 to secondary college
Broadening opportunities in the other curriculum areas such as the arts and music.
Structural and process achievements include:
Improvements in pedagogy and teaching skills using thinking tools in the classroom.
Early implementation of government initiatives (VELS, PoLT, Assessment and Reporting).
Accreditation as a Performance and Development Culture school with improvement in the key elements of induction, feedback, professional learning and individual learning plans for teachers.
Better team planning through professional learning teams.
Improved use and expansion of multiple data sources.
Improved support programs, materials and facilities (e.g. Interactive White Boards).
Improved facilities and infrastructure such as time, space, resources and support.
Curriculum Coordinator to support teachers in the classroom.
Welfare Coordinator to support the needs of targeted students.
Increased responsiveness towards student data and surveys.
Broadening of the curriculum to focus on visual arts, performing arts and the
instrumental music program.
Mid year, Eltham North Primary School became just the 10th school in Victoria to receive accreditation as a 5-Star Sustainable School and the 60th school in Victoria to receive accreditation as a Healthy Eating School. This is a great achievement that has involved the commitment of students, staff, parents and wider school community.
Significant school funded projects totalling $90,000 included the construction of a new classroom in the main building and installation of Interactive white boards to nine rooms. Government funds totalling $55,000 saw the construction of retaining walls and pathways in the Prep – 2 area and upgrade of toilets in the main building.
2006: saw the completion of our two new GPCs, which, along with the removal of two older Mod 2’s, has seen the school’s vista and facilities improve wonderfully. During the year ENPS achieved a 5-Star Sustainable School accreditation for which the staff and students can be rightfully proud. This theme is taught to all students, for example students are encouraged to reduce waste by bringing lunch in reusable containers – a practice that drives minimisation practices back to the home as well.
2007: The enrolment in February was 461 students. We shared the student population between 20 classrooms. The school culture was dynamic; change was accepted as normal and innovative programs and activities are implemented rapidly. New initiatives are adopted and quickly assimilated. The culture could be summed up as a combination of pressure and support.
Early in the Year, Eltham North Primary School became just the 3rd school in Victoria to receive accreditation as a Go For Your Life School. In November we won the prestigious Sustainability Victoria: Energy Smart school category for Victoria. This was an outstanding achievement that has involved the commitment of students, staff, parents and wider school community.
Significant school funded projects totalling $70,000 included the construction of two new classrooms in the main building and installation of 3 more Interactive white boards. Government funds totalling $30,000 allowed us to replace carpet in the main building and areas of the administration block. A new BlueScope Steel water tank was installed mid year. School Council was focussed on completing the expenditure of the Investing in Schools grant. The future development of private land across Wattletree Road (has now gone VCAT) and the ongoing heavy workload of attaining targets and following through on council projects.
2008: We expanded extension programs, challenge and student leadership programs.Installation of ICT devices and professional development (e.g. Interactive White Boards, Team Board and Mimio). New Curriculum Coordination to support School Improvement Teams.
Eltham North Primary School is a Go For Your Life School and we continued to embed positive healthy eating behaviours. In November, we were a finalist in both the prestigious Sustainability Victoria: EnergySmart and WasteSmart School categories for Victoria, held at Federation Square. This was an outstanding achievement to be in the final (top 4 schools in Victoria) and this effort has involved the commitment of students, staff, parents and wider school community.
Significant school funded projects totalling $50,000 included the installation of four additional water tanks and replacement of drinking fountains and toilet sets. In classrooms we installed of 4 Team Boards, 3 Mimio’s and 2 Interactive white boards and we spent $50,000 on new air conditioning in the main building.
School Council was focused on the installation of CCTV, marketing of the school and updating many school policies. We monitored the future development of private land across from the school and the ongoing heavy workload of attaining targets and following through on council projects. Our focus was about embedding new literacy pedagogies (Write To Read program) and the introduction of the E5 Instructional Learning Model. The priority was on resourcing literacy and numeracy and maintaining the current achievement levels.
During 2008 we saw continued growth within our community and student capacity having been reached and maintained, resulting in many non-zoned families unable to enter and continuing to be turned away. The year saw many great efforts from our Junior School Council and in particular a project that resulted in a collection of over 1,900 food items to send to poorer countries. The Walking School Bus program was up and operating and encouraged children and parents involvement and promoted the importance of exercise. Staff completed amongst other things, the Write To Read certificate course as part of their ongoing professional development. They also attended the Mathletics PD.
The school experienced vandalism and saw the introduction of surveillance cameras strategically placed that has resulted in the capture of the perpetrators. These occurrences eventually ceased and the integrity of the school was maintained.
A proposal to build an ICT centre multi functional space was developed. The school participated in Tournament of the Minds and achieved honours in Maths, Engineering. The district athletics was well attended with 14 children competing in the zone level and achieving second overall. The year culminated with the year 6 graduation that was a great success as an enthusiastic group of young adolescents left the school for the last time well prepared for their next educational journey into secondary school.
2009: The enrolment in February was 519 students. Significant Federal and State funded projects totalling $265,000 included the installation of Solar Panels ($65,000), National School Pride funding($200,000). Using school funds some classrooms installed of Team Boards and 30 computer work stations. We purchased another 50 imac computers.
School Council funded the installation of two CCTV cameras (total = 6), improved visual marketing signage and the updating of school policies. We monitored the future development of private land across Wattletree Road and the ongoing heavy workload of attaining targets and following through on council projects.
Our School Council team was challenged by the announcement of substantial BER and NSP funds for a two storey building development and small projects to improve our school grounds. We had to modify processes for project teams and worked collaboratively to adhere to short timelines and maintain effective communication with the wider school community.
2010: The enrolment in February was 525 students. A significant Federally funded project totalling $3,000,000 included the round 3 BER project Building project, State Government Roof Replacement Program ($400,000). The school contributed ($120,000) towards the BER project and school funds also went to the installation of Team Boards and 50 computer workstations. Additionally in January 2011 vacation we purchased another 50 imac computers.
The first half of the year saw School Council focused on ensuring the new ICT / Library building under the Building Education Revolution (BER) program became a reality. It was a long process with design, budget program issues putting the project at risk. After much hard work, by mid-year we finally had the project signed off and a builder appointed. Achieving the desired outcomes of the final design came at a significant financial cost to the school. School Council was simply not prepared to compromise the development. By the end of 2011 Eltham North was reaping the rewards of adding a wonderful new development to our core infrastructure.
The second half of the year was largely dedicated to the implementation of a new initiative called the PFA (Parents and Friends Association). School Council had recognised disengagement through the school community and was one of the driving forces behind this exciting new community involvement program. Early indicators of the success of this program were very positive.
2011: The enrolment in February was 515 students. Eltham North Primary School was one of the first three schools to attain a 5 star Leadership School certification under revised Resource Smart Aussie Victoria Programs. This accreditation acknowledged the ongoing commitment of our school to embed environmental education in all aspects of our school and our leadership in and beyond the school community. In the ‘Go For Your Life’ and ‘Healthy Eating’ School programs we continued to embed positive healthy eating behaviours.
A State Government Roof Replacement Program ($400,000) was engaged and a federally funded BER project totalling $3,000,000 was completed in November. The school contributed ($120,000) towards the project and our community completed the landscaping and provided the furniture fit out, computers and IWB’s for the building. School funds also went to the installation of IWB’s in level 3 and 50 computer workstations. Additionally in January 2012 vacation we purchased another 50 imac computers.
School Council funded the installation of two CCTV cameras (total = 9), improved visual marketing signage and the updating of school policies. We continued to keep our community fully informed about the development of land across the road and the Eltham North Adventure car park and oval. Council focussed its commitment and put a lot of energy into the BER project.
Parents and Friends Association had a fabulous year. The philosophy of ‘if you attend ENPS then you are a member of Parents and Friends’ is beginning to have an effect on our school community, we are all responsible for the well being of our school.
Our outstanding results achieved in literacy and numeracy this year again reflect our wonderful teachers, specialists and support teams and their ability to deliver a strong curriculum in every year level to an amazing standard.
2012: The enrolment in February was 537 students. We implemented quality specialist programs from Prep to Year 6 in Physical Education, Visual and the Performing Arts, Italian LOTE, ICT and Coaching in Independent Reading & Café Menu, Four Pillars of Numeracy and Sustainable Schools. Our leading teachers worked on an innovative project to clarify our curriculum design for future needs. Supportive learning initiatives and programs include Literacy, Maths and Science Support and Extension, Reading Recovery and the Program for Students with Disabilities were aimed at ensuring each child has the opportunity to reach their potential. Additionally, we supported students with an outsourced Speech Therapist and educational Psychologist and Department resourced hearing, physical impaired specialist teachers.
We coordinated the Kids Teaching Kids Conference for local schools at Edendale Farm and enviro leaders participated in a number of showcase presentations for schools. We acknowledge the ongoing commitment of our students to embed environmental education in all aspects of our school and our leadership in and beyond the school community.
Additional Maintenance funding ($29,500) was directed to drainage, wooden posts, retaining wall and external wall repairs.
School council won the battle with DEECD and the outcome meant a lift was installed inside the empty lift shaft within the BER building. Ramps were installed. Two new project teams were formed for Sports and the Performing Arts. Both teams are now offering much needed support to our extra curriculum.
Compass School Manager software program was introduced to improve communication with parents; we received a NAB impact award; classroom cuisine lunch order system was introduced; the school principal was re-appointed.
2013: The enrolment in February was 528 students. School funds were used to produce an outdoor stage in the assembly area and lay synthetic grass outside the BER building. The Science and Enviro Cooking lab was renovated and office zone painted. School funds also went to the installation of IWB’s and 50 computer workstations. In total $315,000 was spent on these types of improvements. Our Year Prep and year 1/2 musical performances were a huge success. We trialled the introduction of science, enviro cooking and ICT coaching programs to further engage and inspire student learning.
Our School Council team was challenged by the need to financially prioritise landscaping and building works around the BER project. School funds redirected to the BER set back our plan to complete small building refurbishments in the cooking lab, but we did manage to effective set up our staff room, kitchenette and conference room ($20,000). We had to modify processes for project teams and worked collaboratively to adhere to short timelines and maintain effective communication with the wider school community. Parents assisted and added value to the school in many ways including committing their valuable time to help their children learn at school.
The students are great. They support the positive culture of the school and are ambassadors for the school. A key feature of Eltham North Primary School’s success is the active involvement in students in the life of the school. The provision of opportunities for students to participate in Student Leadership is provided through a range of programs and initiatives. School Captains, House Captains, Junior School Council and Enviro leaders are all in place. Our current School Captains are an inspiration and role model for all students at Eltham North.
2014: We commence the year with 538 students in 23 classrooms. Our art room refurbishment was completed and we moved in the main building to refit cabinets, wall units and carpets. Programs delivered in term one included Life Education, Parent, Student Teacher Conferences, School, District and Regional Swimming events, year four and six students have completed their outdoor education camps at Mt Evelyn Recreational Adventure Camp and Phillip Island Camp. An enormous amount of planning and effort goes into organising our special initiative and events and we congratulate our teams for their fine efforts.
What a wonderful inspiration our teaching staff are us. They are the spark that ignites a student’s learning, through communicating their passion for their subjects and touching not just students’ minds, but their hearts and thoughts. Each member of our staff is uniquely experienced to offer the diversity of skills required to bring out the best in the students in our care. Beyond curriculum, technology, or community partnerships, our teachers are the single most important factor in the student’s learning. Go Eltham North !
2015: Student growth continued and we constructed a new classroom in the Prep area. In 24 classrooms we housed 576 students overall. External painting of the main building, new carpets and a major fit out of cabinetry was undertaken in the Prep area. Synthetic grass was laid on the Prep -2 basketball court. The computer, science and environmental cooking programs were in full operation.
2016: We had a growth spurt with up to 589 studentsand formed 25 classrooms. Additions to playground equipment was prioritised and synthetic turf was installed in the atrium. We upgraded interactive whiteboards and cabinetry in the main building
2017: We started with 596 students. Over the Xmas break we redesigned the two storey building and fitted out four classrooms on the lower level for year 5 and moved our year 4 students up to the relocatables at the top section of the school. The year 4, 5 & 6 teams each have a spare room available to them for support and extension. The ICT lab and Library were relocated down to the main area near the front of the school.