THE first inspection of the new multi-million dollar Bridgewater and Southern Midlands Learning Federation sites was undertaken at an official ceremony marking the start of the gymnasium for the complex, this month.
At the same event, Council re-signed its partnership with the Tasmanian Government and it was also presented with $1 million worth of government funding for a major street and public space landscaping project for Brighton (see story this page) and Bridgewater.
The new state-of-the-art Federation will house a primary school, middle school and years 9-12 in a revolutionary new education model that has been adopted for the local community. It will also include a birth to four centre, a children and family centre, three kindergarten to grade four sites and a Learning and Information Network Centre (LINC).
It follows a major review by a dedicated taskforce the Bridgewater and Southern Midlands Educational Renewal Taskforce (BASMERT) under the chairmanship of Brighton Mayor Tony Foster. Nine of the taskforce’s 11 recommendations were adopted by the Tasmanian Government last year.
As a result, the Bridgewater and Southern Midlands’ community will have access to lifelong education and training opportunities within the community in the education model that is a Tasmanian first.
Work is already underway on the $2-million gym for the primary school, funded by the Federal Government. The next stage of construction includes a grade five to eight middle school, grade nine to 12 and adult learning facility, a gym and a science centre, all funded by the Tasmanian Government. The Bridgewater High site will house the middle school. The grade nine to12 component will be set up as big picture schools that focus on individualised teaching offering a more personalised approach to learning in the classroom and the community.
A $2-million science centre funded under the Federal Government’s Science and Language Centres for the 21st century program will also form part of the big picture school. A nearby trade training centre will provide a base for training in trades ranging from automotive, engineering and construction to horticulture and rural industries.
“This concept aims to smooth the transition from primary to high school by providing a challenging but supportive learning program and facilities that are specifically designed for pre-adolescent and adolescent learners,” said Premier David Bartlett.
Mayor Foster said the Federation was a major development for the region and was already being touted as a world-first.
“Respected educationist, Professor Brian Caldwell said that what we are doing here in terms of this model and the curriculum is not only the best in Tasmania and Australia but is world, leading-edge education. We should be justly proud that we in Brighton are leading the way in the provision of education from birth to adulthood and which will become the benchmark for others to follow.
“We will have a curriculum that is second to none from birth to adult, offering everyone in our region an opportunity for the very best in further education,” he said.
The State Government landscape funding was made available through the Urban Renewal and Heritage Fund and will include landscaping works along the East Derwent Highway. The landscaping project is part of a wider package of rejuvenation happening in both Bridgewater and Brighton.
The State Government-Council partnership agreement will allow collaboration in five key areas, economic development, community safety, community wellbeing, education, and communication.
As part of the partnership agreement an urban renewal plan will be developed for the suburbs of Bridgewater, Herdsmans Cove and Gagebrook (see story page 2).