SCOTT Moorhouse is staying put in the Foster Primary School principal’s office, for the next five years at any rate, following his official appointment to the position from the start of Term Three on Monday July 22, 2021.
After all, he has been there as acting head for the past six months already and has gotten to know and like all of his students and their families, and his teaching and administrative colleagues, during that time.
“I’m ecstatic to be here!” Mr Moorhouse said, with a wide grin.
“Foster and its surrounding area has a lovely community, and I’m very glad indeed to have been given a five-year contract, which means we can actually get somewhere!” he said.
“My education philosophy is pretty simple really; I know happy kids produce good results, and I always make myself easily accessible to the whole school community.”
A man of letters rather than one of numbers, Mr Moorhouse is a teacher through and through both at secondary and at primary levels, with a passion for English and for history, especially of Australia, and ancient Greece, too.
He is the son of a teacher, as well; his Dad was a chalkie at Tootgarook Primary School on the Mornington Peninsula where and when Mr Moorhouse himself was a pupil.
He is even married to a teacher, and his scientifically-minded wife Emma Moorhouse is on the staff at Narracan Primary School.
The couple’s 12-year-old daughter Ceana is in Grade Six at Mirboo North Primary, while their son Niall, age eight, goes to school at Thorpdale.
They all live in Trafalgar, and Mr Moorhouse’s weekends are filled with family time, and with the Trafalgar Cricket Club, umpiring AFL football with the Gippsland and Mid Gippsland football leagues and managing the Gippsland Umpires Association.
Mr Moorhouse reckons he’s become quite familiar with the road between home and Pioneer Street in Foster since he got the acting principal’s job there at the start of the 2021 school year.
“Sometimes I’ll stay overnight at friends of our family’s house in Port Welshpool if there’s a very early morning start or an evening meeting,” he said.
Before coming to Foster, Mr Moorhouse was acting principal at Mirboo North Secondary College for a couple of years, where he also taught for a decade or more.
His first posting after finishing his teaching qualification was at Eastbourne Primary School near Rosebud, the Peninsula beachside township where he spent his own childhood.
Then came a stint at Trafalgar Primary, followed by several years at Newborough East Primary School, and secondary teaching at Lowanna College in Moe where he later became assistant principal.
“After quite a long time at Mirboo North I felt I needed a bit of a change from a secondary school, and when I heard Foster Primary was looking for an acting principal I immediately thought that sounds like just the right place for me,” Mr Moorhouse said.
“I’d still appreciate the hearty welcome I was given when I first arrived in Foster in January, and when the news got out that I’ve been appointed as the principal, the warmth of the school community certainly has continued,” he said.
“Currently we have 222 students enrolled at the school, with nine classroom teachers, and three specialist teachers who between them provide classes in Indonesian, art, physical education and in music.
“The COVID-19 situation has been a challenge for all schools, and everyone, including the kids, parents and teachers, had to learn how to cope with the lockdowns initially and then learning from home,” Mr Moorhouse said.
“Here at Foster, we’ve been taking more of a welfare approach rather than an academic one, and there’s going to be gaps in the education that the kids have received, which will have to be filled in the future.
“I think the kids in the younger grades, the Preps, and the Grade Ones, are the ones that are missing out, and the Year 11s and 12s, too.
“The little ones have hardly been at school this year or last year, and in my view, all Grade One students have had the rawest deal of all,” he said.
“During this latest lockdown, we’ve had an average of 32 kids coming to school, whose parents are considered to be essential workers, such as those who work at the hospital here in town, or who are dairy farmers.
‘We’ve had about a third of our teaching staff present at school each day of the lockdown, along with the office staff, and me.
“When all of the students and the teachers are allowed to return to school, our emphasis will be on making sure the kids are happy and healthy, and then the academic rigour comes after that,” Mr Moorhouse said.
“The most helpful thing all parents can do for their kids’ education and overall development, and in particular during these unusual times, is to talk with them,” he said.
“Regular, frequent conversations with your kids, about every topic under the sun, will enrich their use of language as well as their general knowledge, and by doing this, along with reading to and with them, will help them to build strong literacy skills.”