Premier Jay Weatherill visited two of the region’s schools yesterday as part of the Labor Party’s Education Week blitz.
Murray Bridge High School (MBHS) and Meningie Area School (MAS) were two of the 100 schools around the state that the party visited as part of an Education Week blitz.
Mr Weatherill toured the high school’s science areas, trade training facilities and disability unit where he engaged with some of the unit’s high-tech learning robots.
Mr Weatherill said the programs on offer at MBHS were wonderful and that he was looking forward to seeing the forthcoming $20 million dollar Building Better Schools upgrade.
“This is a fantastic school with great leadership and we’re very much excited about the expansion plan that have been revealed,” he said.
“The upgrades will help better service not just Murray Bridge, but also the wider region.”
Mr Weatherill said the school was at the forefront of disability education programs, and commended unit manager Dr Christine Roberts-Yates.
“She’s clearly at the cutting-edge of using technology to assist people with disability to lead fuller lives,” he said.
“What was fascinating to hear is how the use of robots are actually able to play a role which is – to some degrees superior – than just solely having interactions with teachers.”
School prefects Bonnie Pulic, Hannah Smith, Paris Holland-Long and Kai Li all said they were surprised at how down to earth the Premier was.
“We could just talk to him and show him around the school,” Ms Smith said. “He seemed to have a genuine interest in everything that everyone showed him.”
“I don’t know what I expected, but I expected a bit different,” Ms Pulic said. “I found him very approachable, very chatty and like he could be warm and welcoming.”
Mr Li said it was a great experience to meet the Premier and he enjoyed watching him operate.
Ms Holland-Long said she felt prevailed to meet him and to show him around the school.
Mr Weatherill paid a visit to the Meningie Area School during his visit to the region.
During his visit Mr Weatherill was taken on a tour of the site at the school which will be redeveloped in the near future.
Mr Weatherill was led by a number of Year 11 and 12 students who had been involved in the planning process of the new redevelopment which has been proposed for the school.
Mr Weatherill was then invited to a question and answer session with students from the primary school.
Students showed Mr Weatherill a 3-D model of the school and were told he would answer “any questions that they might have.”
One student asked Mr Weatherill if ‘the lake would dry up again” to which Mr Weatherill responded with an explanation of the Royal Commission which is set to take place.
“The plan is to put water back into the river where they’ve taken out too much,” he said.
In response to a question posed about whether the planned release of carp herpes virus will go ahead “the short answer is, we don’t know,” he said.
“We still need to look at the environmental consequences and what the flow on effect might be.”
Mr Weatherill ended his tour of the school with a visit to the reception class to welcome the new students to schooling life.
Before departing he presented them with a copy of the classic children’s book ‘Possum Magic’ by Mem Fox and read them the story.