Student Leaders Advocacy

23 October 2020

Mr. Andrew Parkinson

Executive Group Manager, Business Services Division

Education Directorate

Dear Mr Parkinson

We are excited to write to you today as the student leaders at North Ainslie Primary School. Our names are Isla, Grace, Amy, Hugo, George and Oscar and for the last few months we have been working hard on our school’s playground rejuvenation project. We hope by the end of this letter you will see how excited and passionate we are about this project and you can see how you can contribute to this project becoming a reality much faster than we hope. 

For a bit of background, the current oval is a barren desert only covered by weeds which from a distance may look like grass but in reality it’s just weeds. Our oval only has a small amount of playing area as well as trees and an adventure (bike) track. Everybody has been talking about getting grass for years but we have never got any, as the costs are too high. Our oval is good to enjoy if you are very sporty but lots of people have been digging and just chatting, and there is nowhere for them to do that properly. It doesn’t cater to the wide range of needs of our students, teachers and wider community, which has led to the playground rejuvenation process. 

The process started with us, the student leaders, as well as the green team leaders and the sport leaders. We created a provocation to get the students thinking. 

We then met with Paul, our architect, to talk about a vision and what we want to have on the oval. 

After this we went to talk to all the Years 3-6 students to see what they want on our reimagined senior oval. To do this, we showed them our provocation and gave some ideas about how we should re-do the oval, getting them to think about what they want on it. We then compiled all of our research with Katherine, a parent at the school who is a professional researcher, and we came up with a list of the most common ideas in our school and in the community. 

After this we did a number of master planning workshops with Paul. During these workshops, we incorporated the students’ ideas, what the teachers wanted and the community’s needs, as well as making sure that we included the culture and story of the local Ngunnawal people. 

We are currently working through the decision of the final master plan and providing feedback to Paul and his team. 

This process has been an amazing, exciting and intriguing experience without exception. Working with the architect, his team, the P&C and the school community has been an absolute highlight of being a student leader. We have come so far from beginning ideas and concepts to master planning. Knowing that the hard work put into this project by us student leaders will pay off and benefit future generations of children, has kept us going throughout the long lunches and the exhausting meetings. This journey has been a once in a lifetime opportunity and we hope future students will benefit from our hard work, decades into the future.  

This project will have an impact on the wider community because children and local families come to play on the oval on weekends. Families come and enjoy the bike track (adventure track). People throughout the community use our oval for a variety of reasons. Our school oval is enjoyed and loved by many people, in school time and out. But it would be more enjoyable if there were more creative things and places for different types of people to enjoy what they want to do.

With all this in mind, we would love to see this dream become a reality with your help. As the playground is such a large space to work with, the likelihood of completing all the works next year is pretty low. Our school and the P&C have already done lots of fundraising to start off our rebuild but we need more funding to complete the whole rejuvenation next year. We are hoping that with some additional funding from the Education Department, the completion of our master plan can happen quicker and students and families in the North Ainslie community can enjoy the new space as soon as possible.

If you’d like to discuss this further, we’d love to show you around North Ainslie and take you through the plans we have in place so far.

Yours sincerely 

I**, G**, A**, H**, G** and O**

Year 6 Student Leaders

North Ainslie Primary School

UPDATE

Response from the Directorate (exerpt):

“Dear I**, G**, A**, H**, G** and O**,

Thank you for your letter of 23 October 2020 about North Ainslie Primary Senior Oval Reimagined project. 

The Infrastructure and Capital Works branch (ICW) of the Education Directorate has  keenly watched the development of your Senior Oval project. We can see that there  is a lot of interest from students, staff and families of the school.  

My colleagues and I are very impressed with the work you as School Leaders have  done with your school community, the landscape designer and the local Ngunnawal  community to re-imagine your senior oval. Your high level of commitment and  enthusiasm is a credit to you all and you should be very proud of the work you’re  doing to create a legacy of your time at North Ainslie Primary School.  

I look forward to hearing more about the rejuvenation project very soon.

Yours sincerely,

Executive Group Manager, Business Services 

4 November 2020″

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