A partnership between Murdoch University and Bertram Primary School is certainly reaping dividends for everyone involved.
This year the school’s academic ranks have been boosted with the addition of seven new graduate teachers from Murdoch, all hand-picked to meet the needs of this rapidly-growing, Independent Public School.
Such a high number of Murdoch graduates at a single school is unprecedented in WA, but it is the result of a close working relationship that has been carefully cultivated since the school’s opening in 2007.
Murdoch University’s Rockingham Campus has a strong focus on Initial Teacher Education (undergraduate) and over the past few years has been developing practical placement programs in the local area.
Last year the University took the extra step of funding one of Bertram Primary School’s Level 3 teachers to supervise the placement program one day a week.
Most of the graduate teachers now on staff completed this program and were offered positions at the completion of their studies.
Murdoch’s Placement Co-ordinator (Rockingham) Gillian Turner says this gave the students the benefit of on-site support and mentoring from an experienced member of the teaching staff. It has also enabled them to make a seamless transition into the teaching ranks in 2011.
Bertram Primary School Principal Geoff Hood is very proud of the relationship that has developed between the school and Murdoch University, describing it as a “win-win situation”.
“During their practical placement the teaching students have access to professional development and on-site mentoring, which makes them more confident and prepared when they walk into their own classroom,” says Geoff.
“Most of them also live in the general area and want to work locally, so it works in everyone’s favour.”
Murdoch and the school are now looking at ways to further develop their partnership. This year, education students will be completing short practicums at the school based directly on their current university studies.
“They will be planning specific lessons and tutorials at university then delivering those lessons to small groups of students at the school,” explains Geoff.
“This will give them more opportunity for practical experience and to build their confidence. They will also be able to share their experiences with their fellow students by discussing what did and didn’t work.”