To provide a caring and supportive environment with a broad, balanced, flexible and differentiated curriculum with high expectations to enable all students in our transient population to reach their full potential.
Our school motto is ‘Striving For Excellence’ which embodies the level of commitment and dedication that we ask of all members of our learning community.
The following values are seen as being central to the life of our school and how all members of the school community should conduct themselves: Honesty, Respect, Responsibility, Kindness, Integrity, Confidence, Enthusiasm, Tolerance, Reliability, Caring and Striving for Excellence (school motto). We refer to this as the 3R’s Value Model.
Puckapunyal Primary Values the 3 R’s
- Responsibility for self, for learning and for belongings (reliability, striving for excellence)
- Respect for self, for others and for the environment (tolerance, caring, kindness, integrity, honesty)
- Reassurance of self, abilities, friendships and wellbeing (enthusiasm, confidence, resilience)
As a school we apply these in our everyday dealings with each other and the development of our programs and policies.
The Puckapunyal Primary School was originally opened in 1887. The current site is the third site, the first being on the Heathcote Road when the school serviced the farming community. Then it moved onto the base in 1953 and was situated near the current fire station. In 1956 the current school was built. It is a unique Australian school, being the only school located on an army base. The school student population is mixture of children from defence force families (60%) and other students travelling to the school from nearby towns, or the children of staff at the school. Puckapunyal is situated off the Hume Highway 95km north of Melbourne.
Since being on the current site, there have been at least 4 major extensions and community funded additions, comprising of an art room, general purpose room and a canteen. Major interior and exterior maintenance in 1997 saw the whole school upgraded, a new entrance added and the corridor "opened up" with a perspex canopy above the roofline. In 1999, Puckapunyal was one of 29 Victorian Schools accepted into the 'Self Governing Schools' program that gave it the authority to stand alone but with increased authority to both the Community and the State. A change of government after 9 months ended that program. In 2009, the school completed a major upgrade with an extension of 6 larger classrooms and a roofed outdoor learning area. In 2011, the school used the Building the Education Revolution Program funds to refurbish student toilets, cladding for the front of the school and a new 615sqm Multi-function building. The new BER building (the Pitman-Coffee Centre) comprises 2 classrooms, school kitchen, cleaner’s room, computer server room and a very large multi-purpose hall.
Puckapunyal Primary School is one of 11 schools that form the Southern Mitchell Cluster. All cluster schools work closely together to ensure effective delivery of Professional Learning for all staff. Several Professional Learning Teams provides opportunities for all schools to create networks of Professional Learning and support.
The high level of mobility has a significant effect on continuity of school programs and consequently student achievement. For instance, very few children who began school in Foundation in 2019 will be at the school for 3 or more years. It is difficult then to be specific about Academic Performance Targets when, for the 4-year life of a Strategic Plan, the school will be dealing with a different cohort each year. For instance, only 12 out of 32 Year 5 students who completed NAPLAN in 2018 were at our school in Year 3 two years earlier. Even yearly, Annual Implementation Plans can potentially deal with a 50% turnaround of students from year to year.
Coupled with this mobility, students arrive from a range of educational settings. In 2019 students arrived from each State and Territory of Australia, Great Britain, New Zealand, USA, and Malaysia. Prolonged absence of the military member of the family (usually male) during parts of the year, due to the nature of the military roles, can lead to impacts on the social and emotional development of students. This has led the school to develop an individualised program for each child. We aim to provide a caring and supportive environment that enables all individuals within our population, to reach their full potential.
Enrolments at the school have fluctuated throughout its history from 200 to 500, almost entirely due to posting cycles of defence force families and location of key military regiments on the base. This makes planning for staffing, class structures and specialist programs problematic each year. The current enrolment is 260 students.
There are currently a small number of students at the school funded under the program for students with disabilities (PSDMS). There are also small numbers of students of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) background and small numbers of students from an English as Another Language (EAL) background.
The school atmosphere at Puckapunyal is supportive and friendly, where a child’s education is an enjoyable experience. The school believes that children learn most when they feel secure about their home and school environments, and at the same time are developing skills to face unfamiliar situations in the future. The school offers individual attention and special support to all children. Each child’s whole education should continue to be valuable to them throughout their life. The school commits all its physical and human resources to help achieve this. A flexible approach to teaching and learning, including the use of multi-age and team planning, ensures that learning experiences facilitate this achievement for all students.