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Sunday, 24 February 2019 01:00 pm

Principal prepares children for jobs that don’t exist yet

Apr 11th, 2018 | By | Category: Editor's Picks, Latest News, News

Solway Primary School’s principal, Mark Bridges started his new job in the same year as the school starts its second century.

Solway Primary School principal Mark Bridges believes in juggling hats and mixing with kids to develop meaningful relationships

Centenary celebrations are this weekend.

“It’s been great working with the Jubilee Committee, most of whom are ex pupils of Solway” he says.

“It’s very rewarding seeing the love and commitment from past pupils and the community.”

“Some of the children attending this year are the third or fourth generation in their families. This shows huge commitment to the school.”

This year Mr Bridges is concentrating on modernising the school buildings and plant, including replacing two-thirds  of the school roof.

The other major issue Mr Bridges is tackling is training 21st century learners.

He says children need solid foundations in how the world works, science, life skills, resilience and transferrable skills.

“We are preparing kids for jobs that don’t exist yet,” he says.

“They need to be adaptable learners and they need more than knowing processes.”

Schools today are different environments to what they were 100 years ago.

Today, schools have changed to become a safety net, to view and treat children holistically, to empower the child’s journey through to the next level.

Solway Primary School has changed so much in the last 10 years, he says.

“Twenty-five years ago Solway was a four-teacher, 95-pupils rural school, 10 years ago it was still a small rural school” he said.

Today Solway Primary has 12 teachers, a range of support staff and a roll of 210 pupils. By the end of the year the roll is forecast to be up to 250 students.

Masterton has crept closer and the catchment area is a mix of urban and rural, and with more housing being built in the zoning area, and potentially more students at the school.

Mr Bridges is the 20th principal of Solway Primary School.

He appreciates a stable team of teachers, some of whom attended the school as pupils, and office staff who have both been there for over 20 years.

Mr Bridges has began a project at Solway which he hopes will be a commemorative legacy for the school.

He is creating a list of former students and staff who were killed in overseas conflicts.

He says it won’t be ready for ANZAC Day this year, but it should be ready next year.


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