Willyama High School

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Questions and Answers - Willyama High School and surrounding community

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Last updated: 2:00 pm 5 March 2024

Information for Willyama High School families and the communities of Broken Hill High School, Broken Hill North Public School and Morgan Street Public School.

Willyama High School arrangements

When does school commence for my child?

As previously planned:

  • Year 7, 10, 11 and 12 returned to school on Thursday 8 February.
  • Year 8 and 9 returned to school on Friday 9 February.

What will the start and finish times be for Willyama High School students?

Willyama High School students will continue to operate on existing school bell times regardless of which site they are at.

  • Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday: 9:00 am – 3:28 pm.
  • Tuesday: 9:00 am – 2:35 pm.

Where will my child attend school?

Stage 4 (Years 7 and 8) will be located at Broken Hill North Public School in available classrooms. Broken Hill North classes will condense into some of the schools’ buildings utilising previously unused classrooms and making other buildings available for the Willyama High School classes. 

Stage 5 (Years 9 and 10) will be located at Morgan Street Public School on the primary site. Being a split school site, Morgan Street Public School will relocate Stage 2 (Year 3 and 4) students to the K-2 site, allowing Willyama High School students to occupy buildings dedicated to them. 

Stage 6 (Years 11 and 12) and Special Education Classes will start the year at Broken Hill High School, where staff have consolidated the timetable and rooming organisation to provide accessible learning spaces for the Special Education classes and important specialist classrooms and resources for the delivery of the HSC Curriculum.  

How long will Willyama High School students be attending these three sites?

Willyama High School students will move onto the Broken Hill High School site as soon as is possible. This will be by the commencement of Term 2 2024 at the latest.

My child catches a bus. Will there be any changes?

The local bus company have been kept informed of the changes to operations at Willyama High School. Students will catch their normal buses in the morning. The buses will drop students off at each of the sites in the morning. In the mornings, for the first few weeks, we will have staff at the front of the schools to greet them and give any special instructions that they may need.

My child will now need to catch a bus to the new site, how will this work?

Bus Pick Up Locations/ Times

Any student leaving close to Willyama High School will need to catch the bus  at the following sites:

  • The Local Pool Bus stop.
  • Corner of Fisher Street And Mc Culloch street.
  •  Chapple street Near Broken Hill North School.

Approx time of pick up is 8.10am

Bus Passes

You can apply for a student bus pass on the Service NSW website.

Please list the school down that you are located at as being your school. ie if you are in Year 7 you are at Broken Hill North Public School.

While you are waiting on the approval of a bus pass, students can still access bus  travel to their school site by simply wearing their Willyama High School unform, when they are on the bus.

How will my child know what bus to catch at the end of the day?

Students will catch the same buses that they would have caught if they were located at Willyama High School. We will have staff at each site supporting the students in the afternoons just as we have always done at Willyama High School.

Schools will place signage at drop off and pick up points to support students. Signage will also be placed in the bus to let students know where to get off. Bus drivers will also verbally inform students about who needs to get off at each stop.

I have children across multiple sites, is there any assistance/transport options for parents having to do multiple drop off and pick-ups? 

Having multiple sites is not ideal but it will only be for a short time. The schools chosen to host our students are close to the Willyama High School site. We have deliberately made this decision to minimise complexity for our parent community.

What happens if my child is sick during the day?

We will notify you if your child is unwell during the day and normal arrangements will be communicated to you regarding picking them up from the school site.

How do I contact the school? 

Our normal school number 08 8088 1055 can still be used to contact our school. Our school is employing TIPT (a cloud-based phone system) which will enable the user to select which campus their child is located to be put through to the relevant Willyama office staff on each available site.

If you have further questions on general school operations across Broken Hill, please do not hesitate to send them through to ruralsouthandwestod@det.nsw.edu.au.  

The school can also be contacted directly at willyama-h.school@det.nsw.edu.au

Will Willyama executive and administration staff operate out of a separate office, or do we present to the host school front office? 

Arrangements for this will be different at each site. For:

Stage 4 (Years 7 and 8) located at Broken Hill North Public School; a temporary Administration Office has been established in the school’s Health Hub.  Access for parents and carers of students from Willyama High School can be made via the driveway between the school’s back oval and School Of The Air on Lane Street.  At the end of the driveway is a makeshift car park for staff use and for parents and carers collecting their children from sick bay.  A Deputy Principal will have an office in this building as well.

Stage 5 (Years 9 and 10) located at Morgan Street Public School; a temporary Willyama administration office is set up in the far end of the underfloor at the 3-6 end of the school.

Stage 6 (Years 11 and 12) and Special Education Classes located at Broken Hill High School; Parents can report to the Broken Hill High School Administration Office, both Broken Hill High School and Willyama office staff will be able to field any questions and direct you to the correct location or staff member from there.

What should I do if I need to contact my child’s teacher? Will Year Advisors be at the same school as their year groups?

We will locate Year Advisors and Coordinators at each site where possible. We will meet with the students in year meetings on their first day to inform them of these arrangements. We will also send the arrangements to you so that you will have easy access to this information and know how to connect with the right staff. 

Will my child have access to school counsellors?

Yes. The Department and school have organised counsellors to support any student needing help. This information will also be given to the students and in our contact information that we will provide for you. Our student support officers will also be available to support student wellbeing.

My child has items at the school from last year. What will happen to them?

When the students return to school this year, one of our tasks will be to work with them to identify any items that they may have in the school from last year. When we have advice from the independent hygienist, we will communicate with you to let you know the processes that will be followed.

If my child is learning at one of the primary school sites, how will they access specialised rooms and practical curriculum like science, art and TAS?

Our Willyama High School teachers will program lessons that give every student access to the curriculum. All subject areas have a range of tasks that students need to undertake. Where necessary in Term 1, we will work to prioritise the elements of the curriculum based on the specialist equipment available on-site.

My child is supported by an School Learning Support Officer, will that continue?

All students supported by a School Learning Support Officer will continue to have the assistance of our outstanding team of SLSO’s.

My child had a device at Willyama High School. Will they be provided with access to a device at their new location? 

Yes. We have been working with the Departments Information Technology Directorate who have been excellent in identifying new equipment to ensure that our students have every learning opportunity available. 

My child is doing the HSC, what provisions and arrangements have been made to support them?

We have already contacted the NESA Student Support team to create a connection and provide ongoing support as needed. Staff will organise a time to meet with them and work through questions, queries and processes to ensure students and staff are supported.

Our decision to locate Year 11 and 12 at Broken Hill High School was made deliberately to give them access to the specialist facilities and resources required for the HSC.

What are the arrangements for the students studying through Aurora?

We have communicated with Aurora College and will set up access for our students in their Term 1 host school. Aurora College staff are aware of our circumstance and are offering support to ensure that our students don't miss out.

Students in Years 7 & 8 located at Broken Hill North will have a designated space assigned to them so they can continue to engage in lessons through Aurora College.

Will the SRC still run in Term 1? Will Prefects still have leadership duties?

Student voice is going to be more important than ever before. We will be running our normal activities, all be it in an unusual situation. We will be flexible and make sure that we are listening to the needs of our students. Our SRC induction ceremony will take place in Term 2 when we are all on the same site at Broken Hill High School.

Will the high school students have access to school canteens?

Canteen arrangements are different at each site. For:

Stage 4 (Years 7 and 8) located at Broken Hill North Public School, Broken Hill North Public School does not have an operating school canteen. Year 7 & 8 students will need to bring their own recess and lunch to school each day. From the commencement of Term 2 they will be able to access the Canteen at Broken Hill High School.

Stage 5 (Years 9 and 10) located at Morgan Street Public School; Willyama HS students will be able to access the canteen during breaks. The Willyama High School Canteen Manager will assist them with this.

Stage 6 (Years 11 and 12) and Special Education Classes located at Broken Hill High School, all students will be able to access the Broken Hill High School canteen during designated breaks. EFTPOS facilities will be available. We anticipate and are planning for increased traffic and have pushed out through our Facebook page a request for volunteers to assist. If you can help out please contact the Broken Hill High School office on 80881522. 

Has the Willyama High School canteen manager lost her job? What about cleaners?

No staff have lost their jobs as a result of the Willyama HS mould outbreak, including cleaning and canteen staff.

Will sport still run?

Yes. Sport is an important part of the NSW Curriculum and will still operate for all students.

Are there change rooms at the two primary schools for students when in PE?

 Students will need to wear either their school polo or their sports polo shirt to school to participate in PE lessons. More details will be provided for individual class arrangements by the students PDHPE teacher on return to school.

Will there be an orientation for the students at each of the new sites, so they know where the toilets are, where the office is and other important information etc?

Absolutely, traditionally at Willyama High School we have commenced the year with Year meetings to give students important information. This will occur on the morning of the students first day at school.

What is the phone policy for students?

It is NSW Government policy that mobile phones are not utilised by students whilst at school. We will be enforcing this policy, and it is our expectation that students will not use their mobile phones at school.

At Willyama High School we utilise pouches for storing mobile phones during the school day and all students, except Year 7, have them. We will be ordering new pouches for Year7 and a few extras for replacements as required.

Magnet stations for the pouches will be located at all three sites for use by students.

The school can still be contacted directly by parents and carers, using our usual school number: 08 8088 1055.

Will my child still be taught by curriculum-appropriate teachers?

NSW Government schools only employ qualified teachers. All teachers have the university qualifications to deliver the curriculum. Secondary teachers have specific additional teaching qualifications. Each site will have curriculum coordinators and a range of Year Advisors, Head Teachers, and Deputy Principals to ensure that the curriculum is appropriately taught.

What site will the Principal and the Deputies be working from?

Mr Grant Shepherd, Principal will have an office at Broken Hill High School but will be visible supporting students and staff across the three sites. He will oversee and support Year 11 and 12 students at Broken Hill High School as well as students in the support unit.

Mr Jim Harvey, Deputy Principal will be based at Morgan Street Public School and will oversee and support Year 9 and 10 students at that site. 

Miss Rebecca Millsteed, Deputy Principal will oversee and support Year 7 and 8 students at Broken Hill North Public School.

How much integration will there be with Broken Hill High School Students in term 1 and beyond?

Some of our Year 11 and 12 students already work in integrated Reaching Across the Secondary Program (RASP) classes with students from Broken Hill High School. These classes will continue as normal. 

Outside of these classes, Willyama High School students will operate in their own classes with their own teachers. We will look for opportunities to share resources, curriculum, and expertise where it best meets the learning needs of students.

Will there be a parent information evening to provide more information?

Willyama High School will hold a ‘meet and greet’ for parents and community on Monday 12 March 2024. More information will be shared by the school  in due course.

Arrangements are currently be determined for an earlier ‘meet and greet’ in the first few weeks of term to provide further information to parents. More information will be shared as soon as it is available.

Will there be regular updates and newsletters keeping us informed?

We will be communicating with parents as a key priority. This will be more important than ever in this unusual situation. Equally, we want our fantastic parent community to communicate with us. There will be challenges, we acknowledge this and are very keen to work as a strong school learning community in partnership with our students and their families. Our school Facebook and website pages will also provide key information and updates and staff will be monitoring and answering questions posed via the Facebook inbox. 

Don't forget to access our school events calendar via Sentral. Our ‘Meet and Greet’ is currently scheduled for 12 March 2024.

Will students still be expected to undertake assessment tasks under these Term 1 arrangements?

Term 1 2024 is going to be a period of change and adjustment as we make these interim measures work for our students. We have decided that there will be no take-home assessment tasks for 7-10 students during Term 1. Years 11 and 12 will maintain their normal senior assessment schedules.

Can my child undertake home learning during Term 1 instead?

No. We know from the recent COVID Pandemic how important it is for students to be at school with their teachers and friends. We also understand that many parents must go to work and are not home to assist their children’s learning. Our outstanding teachers will be working hard to adjust their teaching programs to suit our temporary arrangements, they will not have sufficient time to  develop learning-from-home resources. 

We have a great learning community and culture at Willyama High School and although it will be different, we are looking forward to being in classrooms with our students.

How will school photos be organised with students at three different sites?

School photos will be available. When school resumes for 2024 we will discuss this with our school photographer and provide you with the arrangement.

I do not have uniform yet for my child starting Year 7. What should I do?

Willyama High School does not have a uniform shop located at the school. Our school uniform is available from Totally Workwear, Fast Print or Barossa Knitting Mill stores in Broken Hill. If parents need support in accessing uniform our usual supports are available to assist. 

All students will still be required to wear the Willyama High School uniform on their return to school.

Broken Hill High School arrangements

We are proud to be in a position where we can support Willyama High School through this difficult time for their school community. 

We have specialist classrooms and resources for practical subjects and accessible adjustments like a lift and ramps to assist learning support classes. This means that we are in an ideal position to help Willyama High School.

During Term 1 we will host Willyama High Schools Year 11and 12 students along with the students in the schools Support Unit. We are adjusting our timetable to make spaces available and will assist in any way we can to support the learning of all public high school students in Broken Hill.

For the start of the school year on 8 February 2024, (for Years, 11 and 12) and 9 February (for Years 8, 9 and 10) Willyama students in Stage 6 (Years 11 and 12) and Special Education Classes will start the year at Broken Hill High School, where staff have consolidated the timetable and rooming organisation to provide accessible learning spaces for the Special Education classes and important specialist classrooms and resources for the delivery of the HSC Curriculum. 

This consolidation includes.

  • Allocation of 3 classrooms in E Block to support 3 Willyama High School Special Education Classes.

  • Designating 7 classrooms (5 Block, 2 D Block) to provide learning spaces for year 11 & 12 classes.

  • The temporary conversion of the F Block Gym into 2 classroom spaces.

  • Allocation of some office space to support Willyama High School Administrative staff and executive.

  • Consultation will take place to support access to practical spaces including Woodwork, Metal Work, Kitchens and Science Laboratories once timetables are set so as to avoid distraction and interruption to Broken Hill High Schools practical subjects.

  • Due to our student bathroom upgrade a Bathroom Trailer has been installed in G Quad at the back of the Hall as our bathrooms undergo construction work.

  • Special education students from Broken Hill High School will remain in their normal classrooms and school will operate as normal for them.

  • Canteen arrangements will operate as normal for all students.

  • Broken Hill senior students will have the same break times and be situated in the same playground areas as senior students from Willyama High School.

During Term 1 2024, demountable classrooms will be located on our school site which will allow Broken Hill High School to host all of the students of Willyama High School from the commencement of Term 2 2024. 

Broken Hill North Public School arrangements

Our school will host 10 classes for students from Willyama High School.  

All of C Block will be allocated to Year 7 classes, with the Community Centre having a wall installed to separate this space in to two classrooms.  C Block will accommodate 5 classes.  The hall will also be utilised for 2 classes as will all of the bottom of A Block, where the Zen Zone and Library were located in 2023.  

Students from Willyama will need to walk across the playground to access the ramp for A Block to access their classrooms.  This will be under teacher supervision for all transition points.  This space will provide Willyama HS with an additional 4 classrooms. 

Students in Years 5 & 6 will be reallocated to a vacant classroom at the top of A Block and we have created two classroom spaces upstairs in D Block, our Administration Building.

Our school Library has moved to a Resource Room in the Kindergarten block which faces the infants play gym.  Students will be able to access the Library and the wrap around verandah as a quiet space during recess and lunch times.

We have structured the school site to be ‘split down the middle’ with students from Willyama entering the school via the gates closest to C Block and students from North using the gates outside A Block and the gates along McCulloch Street.  

Play time areas will be allocated to “only North” and “only Willyama” areas with no playground spaces crossing over.  

Students from North’s playground will include the Outdoor Learning Area (COLA), outside the canteen area, all of the playground space outside of the Kindergarten classrooms and down and around to the Back Flat.  Part of the back flat will be fenced off, similar to that of COVID times, where students from Willyama can access some grass play space.  The concrete area from the COLA along the fenced inclusive and accessibility playground, along the path and behind the Health Hub, along the makeshift carpark and to the hall will all become a playground for students at Willyama High School.  New bubblers or water fountains will be installed outside of A Block for students from North to use.

Before school, students from North have traditionally lined up under the Covered Outdoor Learning Area (COLA) for morning messages and then move to their classes.  This will continue for the first day of school, and from then on, new lining up areas will be allocated for classes closer to their classrooms.  Those classes who are located at the top of A Block will use the front of A Block doors to enter and exit the building.  These arrangements are similar to those that were in place during COVID times.  

We recently installed a new bell and intercom system and we will use this to communicate messages across the school.  We are also have the capabilities to ‘block out’ classrooms for messages and bells to be rung.  This will be important to reduce any interruptions to students at North, as the bells for period changes will only be rung in those classrooms occupied by students from Willyama HS.  

As our morning Assemblies will not be held, as stated above, students will move straight to their classroom lines near their buildings, messages will be communicated across the site (for whole school information) or to specific classrooms at approximately 9:10am each day.  We are working through the organisation of Assembly.  We anticipate that Assemblies will be held, only for students, staff and community members of Broken Hill North PS on Fridays, These will most likely be held under the school’s Covered Outdoor Learning Area (COLA). 

Our school’s Health Hub has been temporarily transformed into a makeshift Administration Building for Willyama High School students and staff.  There is also an office for the Deputy Principal and sick bay.

As there is limited parking around our site, temporary staff carpark has been created between the hall, old school bell, Dog Park, SOTA and Health Hub with entry via the driveway in Lane Street between our Back Flat and SOTA.  This car park will be used by Willyama High School staff only to ensure staff who are moving between sites have a space available to park.  Parents and carers of students from Willyama High School may also use this car park when picking up students from Willyama High School’s sick bay, located in the Health Hub.

On the first day of school, Thursday 8 February, when the bell rings for learning time, students from Broken Hill North will line up under the COLA in their 2023 class lines.  They will then be informed of their classes and teachers and move to their classrooms for 2024.

Students from Willyama High School will meet in the school hall on both Thursday 8 and Friday 9 February where staff from Willyama High School will direct them to their learning spaces.

The only time where we anticipate students and staff from both schools could potentially join together would be if there is an emergency that would result in an evacuation.  An emergency evacuation drill will be conducted early on in the school year.

Morgan Street Public School arrangements

To support the interim placement of Stage 5 (Year 9 and 10) we have made some changes to our operations and further arrangements will be made as we move closer to welcoming our students back on Thursday 8th February. 

Ongoing changes will be communicated to our school community.

Willyama HS students will make use of all of Building B (Year 3/4 classrooms in 2023) and Building C (Year 5 in 2023), the computer lab and the 3-6 Underfloor has been split into two classrooms. Office space for Willyama HS has been made at the end of the 3-6 Underfloor. .

An office has been made available for a Willyama HS Deputy Principal to use in the main school office. Signage will be in place to direct people to the appropriate area.

Morgan Street PS will accommodate all of our Year 5/6 students in Building D (building with library and 2023 Year 6). Our Year 3/4 classes will move into renovated spaces on the K-2 site, Building 3 (Building closest to Morgan Street) and the K-2 Underfloor.

We identified very early in our planning the need to provide separate toilet facilities on the 3-6 site for our students and Willyama HS students. Our students will use the existing toilets and Willyama HS students will use the additional toilets that will be brought onto site. These will be placed well away from the current toilets. Class teachers will make accommodations for students going to the toilet during class, ie go in pairs.

Revised bike storage areas for Year 5/6 students are being finalised and will be communicated. It will be separate to Willyama HS students. Year 3/4 students can store their bikes at the designated area near the office on the K-4 site. All bikes need to be secured with a chain / bike lock.

Playground areas will be separate for Year 5/6 and Willyama HS students. Morgan Street students will have access to the oval and the usual play space that operates out of the 3-6 Underfloor will be moved to the Hall for all Morgan Street students to access. Specific arrangements for separate playgrounds will be communicated closer to school starting.

Our school installed a new electronic bell / PA system during Term 4. This system will be utilised for messaging and has the capacity to ring in specific rooms / areas of the school which will accommodate the varied timetables of the two schools.

The top car park off Union Street can be utilised by staff and parents. There will be an increased pressure on access to car parks at the now K-4 end of the school for end of day pick up. Please discuss a meeting point with your child, staff will be around to help.

Morning assemblies will continue for K-4 and Year 5/6 students under Covered Outdoor Learning Areas (COLA) in the usual spots. Variations may occur for recess and lunch; this will be clearly communicated if changes do occur. Further information will come detailing the suggested gates that Year 5/6 students should use.

The oval will be used for PE and sport, its use will be negotiated. There will be no Willyama HS students on oval during the Morgan Street lunch break or any contact between K-4 and Year 9/10 students.

Our canteen will be open as usual for our students to order lunch and Year 5/6 students to make purchases at recess. We are working through a process to allow K-4 students to make purchases at lunch. We have been very fortunate to gain the assistance of the Willyama HS Canteen Manager.

Was the mould under investigation present inside Willyama High School, prior to the commencement of summer holidays?

Importantly, we can provide assurances to the school community that there is no evidence that mould was present before the school holidays commenced.

Furthermore, proactive inspections of other schools in the area showed no traces of mould in the school environment, meaning the circumstances to which mould has developed inside Willyama High School are unique.

Based on preliminary advice, it is likely that routine carpet cleaning, ventilation and condensation and hot and humid conditions may have been contributing factors in the outbreak.

General Questions for host school families

Will there be separate toilets used for the high school students?

Morgan Street PS - Yes, there will be separate toilets. Primary students will use their normal toilets and Willyama HS students will use the additional toilets that will be placed on the school site.

Broken Hill North PS - Our school’s permanent toilet arrangements will be maintained.  Portable toilets will be installed for students from Willyama to use.  These will be located near the school water shed, within the Willyama playground area.

How long will the high school students be at our primary school?

Our aim is to move all Willyama High School students and staff to Broken Hill High School as soon as possible. To achieve this, Broken Hill High School are already in the process of making rooms and spaces available. Additional facilities have been sourced from across the State and will be located as soon as possible at Broken Hill High School. Willyama High School will be operating from Broken Hill High School no later than the start of Term 2 2024.

Will the high school students be joining our school assemblies?

No, the High School will operate as a separate school. We are proud to be able to support them but understand that there will be challenges. We want you to let us know of any concerns that you have so we can solve them and let you know the arrangements that will be put in place.

If my child has any concerns, who should I talk to?

This has not changed. The first point of call for your child is their class teacher or another adult within their primary school. It will be explained to our students that our staff roles haven’t changed, we are here for them and provide the support needed.

Will the high school students use our school canteen?

Morgan Street Public School – Yes. Local arrangements will be made to allow all students an opportunity to access the canteen. The Willyama High School Canteen Manager will assist this.

Broken Hill North Public School - There is no canteen available at Broken Hill North Public School, however, throughout 2023 our school’s P&C have been seeking support from our school community to get a canteen up and running. We will keep you informed.

Will having the high school students at our school mean that our students will miss out on anything?

No, in fact our outstanding staff at Morgan Street PS and Broken Hill North PS are thinking about ways to use this forced change to be innovative and do things even better. We will only be supporting Willyama High School for a maximum of one term, but we will use it to our advantage to make learning better for our students.