School earns top marks

Emily SharpSound Telegraph
Calista Primary School's principal Craig Skinner.
Camera IconCalista Primary School's principal Craig Skinner. Credit: SOUND TELEGRAPH, Emily Sharp

A Kwinana primary school can now count itself among the top 12 best in Australia.

Calista Primary School and its principal Craig Skinner received a $45,000 Commonwealth Bank Teaching Award late last month in Sydney.

The awards are an initiative to highlight distinguished Australian educators with a fellowship to encourage them in transforming student lives.

Mr Skinner said he was excited and proud to be a recipient of the award, which acknowledged the students’ achievements.

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“We’ve worked really hard in the past four years to ensure our teachers are teaching at a high level,” he said.

“We have a very consistent approach across the curriculum that has allowed us to achieve some really great results. Our internal assessments show that our students are performing at a much higher level than what they were four years ago.”

Mr Skinner has worked in the education department for more than 25 years, starting in the Kimberley before moving his way through Albany, Carnarvon, north and south metropolitan areas and Mandurah.

He is celebrating his fifth year at Calista PS in 2017 and credits the school’s hard work and the creation of a teaching model based on the top schools in WA, for its success.

“It’s a really rewarding profession, when you can make a difference in kids lives you get a buzz out of that,” he said.

“Our students are on the cusp of achieving Australian national standards on average and I think we can go beyond that and become one of the very high performing schools.”

As part of the award Mr Skinner will travel to Singapore in July for a week to study the school systems there.

“There are some really great things about this award that will enable us to think differently, to work differently,” he said. “We see no ceilings, we’re not looking to getting to a certain point, we need to keep striving to do better.”

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