There’s a new neighbourhood in the school

Principal Amanda Parslow and pupils at McAuley Community School (School website)

Adelaide’s first new Catholic school in a decade cost more than $20 million, yet it has no classrooms, no library and no bells. Source: The Advertiser.

By Tim Williams, The Advertiser

McAuley Community School opens today on the former Marymount College site at Hove. Instead of individual classrooms, it has four of what principal Amanda Parslow calls “learning neighbourhoods”.

These are cavernous spaces, each the size of several classrooms, where multiple teachers will collectively look after groups the size of several classes. One is for Receptions only, while the others are for years 1-2, 3-4, and 5-6.

Each neighbourhood has a green screen for video production, shelves full of books in lieu of a whole-school library, quiet “sensory pods” with beanbags and toys, a closed-off “maker space” for science activities, and a meeting room.

Rather than one teacher just taking care of their class, Ms Parslow said “every educator is responsible for the success of every learner” in each neighbourhood.

The school day will start with “discovery learning”, firstly outdoors from 8.30am, then inside from 8.45am with problem solving or “provocation” activities ranging from still life drawing to Lego and coding.

“Let the learning begin from the minute they set foot on school grounds,” Ms Parslow said.

Then the whole school will do maths and English in the first two lessons of the day. Students will be grouped by ability in different subject areas and those groups could change from week to week.

There will be no bells, so students are encouraged to wear watches and take responsibility for being in the right place at the right time.

There’s no traditional library, but there will be a lunchtime activity room, and each neighbourhood will have its own book-borrowing system.

While students will have multiple teachers in their neighbourhoods, each child will be assigned a teacher as a key pastoral care contact for themselves and for parents.

About 240 of the 355 students starting today at McAuley, which has capacity to grow to 520, are from the St Teresa’ School in Brighton, which closed at the end of 2019.


McAuley Community School opens on former Marymount College site (The Advertiser

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