The 28th March 2022 marks 40 years since the official opening of the Aberfoyle Park Primary School Campus unique venture and the first of its kind in Australian Education. The history of the Campus began in 1978 when 3 people from 3 different education sectors sat down for an information discussion from which a notion of 3 systems working together on one site was born. This idea was then advanced from a concept to a steering committee and in the middle of 1981 a Campus Conference Management group was established. The Aberfoyle Park Primary School Campus was born with 4 schools (Spence and Heysen – Education Department, School of the Nativity – Catholic Education and Pilgrim – Uniting Church) educating children from Reception to Year 7.
The Foundation Stone was laid in September 1981 with the four inaugural Principals, Peter Bartram (Nativity), Gavin Haslam (Pilgrim), John Scuds (Heysen) and Val Laidlaw (Spence), being appointed at this time to work and plan together.
By February 1982 and the commencement of the school year not all buildings were completed and the site was a hot dust bowl. However, school began with 360 children across 4 schools. Children were able to begin school in Nativity, Pilgrim and Heysen with Spence students sharing the Heysen and Resource Centre buildings. The aspect of sharing began right from before day 1 with staff and parents helping to move furniture into 2 of the schools (Pilgrim and Heysen) and Pilgrim students using the toilets in Nativity. The courtyard was piles of dirt and there were only 2 asphalt areas to play on when school started!
By March 28th 1982 however the spirit of sharing and working together became reality with the Official Opening Day attended by the Moderator of the Uniting Church, the Catholic Bishop of Adelaide and the Minister of Education. On this day a Time Capsule was buried under the Foundation Stone. The Pilgrim and Spence Schools were only completed a few days before the official opening.
The spirit of the Campus in the early days was one of camaraderie and a determination to make the project succeed. This is represented in the logo that highlights the co-operation and understanding while preserving the unique elements of each sub-school. These distinctive elements should not be viewed in isolation rather as a blend, a reflection of the educational philosophy of the total Campus. It emulates the spirit of appreciation of others’ points of view, and the unlimited potential for sharing human and material resources.
While the Campus has grown and changed over the last 40 years from its beginning of 360 students to a peak of 1300 students in the early 1990s to the current day where we now have students from Reception to Year 6 and the Aberfoyle Park Kindergarten onsite with Spence and Heysen now one school called Thiele, the vision does remain from the founding days.
The Aberfoyle Park Primary School Campus was and still is an innovative and unique school where children can grow and learn together sharing resources across schools and working in a community together.