Wattle Grove Primary School has a long history, dating back to July 19th 1915, when it opened in a hall on the corner of Welshpool Road and William Street, with its first teacher Miss Amy Fitzgerald. There were 19 children ranging from infants to sixth standard. The hall was unsealed, unlined and was extremely cold and draughty, with the rain and piercing wind blowing in through the weatherboards. It was prone to flooding in winter, but in summer, the temperature soared, with the heat striking through the hot iron roof. Lessons were conducted on slates and water came from a tank when it was available.
In 1940, the school was relocated to 639 Welshpool Road, with one brick and tile classroom and a verandah, at a cost of 850 pounds. It opened with 37 children. Then in 1952 a second classroom was established.
By 1960 the school population peaked at 180 students and so further extensions were made, with the addition of another two classrooms and a staffroom. Students of this era read “Happy Venture Readers” with Dick and Dora, Nip and Fluff. They drank bottles of milk supplied to them daily and spent countless hours unpicking incorrect sewing stitches. By 1975, the school population had returned to approximately 115.
The 1980s and 90s saw further changes to the school buildings, with the purchase, in 1985, of a transportable classroom, through the fundraising efforts of the P&C. This classroom was used as a library until 1992, when it was destroyed by fire. A new permanent library building and canteen were then established in 1993. Continuous fundraising by the P&C, enabled all classrooms to be air conditioned.
The new 21st century saw the subdivision of the semi-rural land within Wattle Grove and, subsequently, new housing estates were established. This led to many more students and new buildings for the school. A large new undercover area and new toilets were established in 2001, followed progressively by the location of eight extra transportable classrooms, a new and very modern administration extension, a new staffroom and the introduction of kindergarten classes. In 2006, the school successfully gained an “Investing in Schools” Grant from the Federal Government, for the building of an Arts Studio for specialist art and music lessons. During this time, enrolments increased from 104 to 298.
In 2008, the Minister for Education announced the building of a new school for Wattle Grove and the relocation of the old school to a new site on St John Road. The new school was completed in November 2010 and the relocation of resources and equipment from the old school took place at the end of the 2010 school year.
A new chapter in Wattle Grove Primary School’s history began at the beginning of 2011, with 359 students commencing school at the new school site. Features of the new school included thirteen permanent classrooms, three early childhood education classrooms, a library/resource centre, a covered assembly area and canteen, music and art/craft facilities, dental therapy unit, administration, staff facilities and the latest in computer technology. As part of the Federal Government’s, ”Building the Education Revolution”, the new school also has an additional computer/science laboratory.
In 2012, Wattle Grove Primary School became an Independent Public School, with a School Board to oversee the long term planning of the school. In 2014, the school was awarded the WA Education Award for Primary School of the Year. This was an enormous acknowledgement of the school and the outstanding work of the children, staff and community. In 2017, the school was once again acknowledged. This time the Director General of Education presented the school with the Exemplary Study Report for its continued high performance and achievement.
Wattle Grove Primary School has an extensive history that has been built up over the decades by the students, staff and families of this community. We look forward to continuing that history into future decades, as an Independent Public School, and building upon that sense of “Wattle Grove Community” that has existed for over 100 years.
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