February 2010: Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Federal Member for Page Janelle Saffin accepted gifts from Ballina Public School students during Ms Gillard’s visit to the region.
February 2010: Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Federal Member for Page Janelle Saffin accepted gifts from Ballina Public School students during Ms Gillard’s visit to the region. Jay Cronan

Gillard back to school in Ballina

THE children of Julia Gillard’s revolution sat quietly and politely as their revolutionary leader was introduced to them before bursting into a rousing chorus of ‘Five Little Ducks’.

The kindergarten class at Ballina Public School was part of a tour of two schools for the Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister, out to inspect the local progress of the Federal Government’s Building the Education Revolution.

The ‘building’ part of that title was front and centre. Ms Gillard started her tour by opening a million dollar new multipurpose hall and covered outdoor learning area at Ballina’s Richmond Christian College.

At the public school she had to settle for yellow stakes outlining the boundaries of a hall planned to start next month, but across the road at the neighbouring St Francis Xavier Catholic school, steel struts for another school hall could be seen looming high over the fence line.

The real revolution at Ballina Public School was in the school’s unique Kids Excel program, which focuses on developing literacy and numeracy skills, particularly among the indigenous students who make up nearly a third of the school’s population.

Under that program, students had written and published their own book – a dreamtime story called The Moon and The Rainbow – and a newsletter, Numbahging.


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