Pilbara schools abuzz as students head back

Alicia Perera and Tom ZaunmayrPilbara News

Uniforms were pressed, lunch boxes packed and bulging backpacks zipped up tight last week as children across the Pilbara headed back to school.

In Karratha, Tambrey Primary was a hive of activity on Wednesday morning as parents dropped off their children for the first day back — especially at pre-primary, where children were starting full-time schooling for the first time.

New pre-primary student Mila Clarke, 5, said she was nervous about starting classes with a new teacher and having to make new friends. Her mother, Sharelle Clarke, said it was a big occasion for her daughter and her peers.

“I’m excited for her,” she said.

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“It’s a big step in her life.”

Tambrey Primary principal Troy Withers said he was pleased to see a “buzz of excitement” around the school on the first day back and advised students and parents to start the new school year with a positive mindset.

“There are always hiccups but now that the kids are back, it’s best to focus on the positives,” he said.

Pilbara traffic police have been out in force at schools across the district to ensure drivers do the right thing and slow down through 40km/h school zones.

Officer-in-charge Sergeant Paul Arnold said police were targeting speeding and mobile phone use.

“With speeding, even small km/h infractions contribute to braking distances, so even the smallest amount of speed over the limit could potentially have devastating effects,” he said.

“Phones are also a common theme ... if you’re looking at a phone on your lap, your reaction time will suffer, your breaking distance may suffer, and you may hit that child crossing the road when it could have been averted.”

Sgt Arnold said the police presence would be very visible and they were asking drivers to be drive safely for the protection of schoolchildren.

Meanwhile, Baynton West Primary School principal Lisa Ledger said it was a thrill to see the buzz around school as children and staff returned.

“We had lots of hugs and smiles, and happy parents I have to say, a lot of them were going out to lunch afterwards,” she said.

“The teachers were so excited, they are pinching themselves because the children are amazing and our community is so supportive.

“It does take a community to raise a child and I am privileged to work closely with a proactive school board and P&C.”

Four new classrooms were installed at the school over the holiday period, and all are already being used.

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