Chewton Primary School is a small school on Hunter Street which began the new school year in 2019 with an enrolment of 86 pupils from pre-primary to Grade 6. In the first term an acting principal is covering whilst the permanent head teacher takes sabbatical leave.
The school itself is classified as a heritage school building, in a rural setting surrounded by landscaped grounds with children having access to hard areas for ball games, artificial lawns, adventure play equipment and natural bushland. Within the school, the library and music/art space have recently been upgraded in style sympathetic to the character of the building.
With a small school roll, it is possible to plan activities in which the entire school can take part. In addition, the school shares extra-curricular activities with other small schools in the area. Trips away from school are arranged to support the learning programmes and include visits to museums, artistic events and performances. To encourage the children to feel part of the wider community, the pupils also participate in local events.
The primary school encourages the children to be independent, but at the same time able to work together with their peers both during lessons and at play time. The school nurtures the values of the wider community and post a weekly newsletter on the school website and share news in the Chewton Chat newsletter with the wider community.
There are four classes in the current academic year, with the curriculum focused on numeracy and literacy skills, whilst also including other standard subjects such as physical education, music, art and STEM programmes. The school has a library, teaches Mandarin Chinese as a language other than English (LOTE) and has computers for both 1-to-1 and shared access.
Chewton’s Primary School has a strong focus on sustainability and has gained its fifth star from Sustainability Victoria through the schools ResourseSmart initiative.
The Primary School has an established gardening and cooking programme supported by local volunteers. Vegetables and fruit are grown in the school grounds, and during term-time, the children take responsibility for the care of the chickens on the school’s grounds. The food produced at the school is prepared to sell at local farmers markets, as the school kitchen is also a food preparation premise. The school also has a wood-fired pizza oven which is at both school and community events. The school has won a State Schools Garden Award.
In 2019, the pupils successfully completed a swimming and water safety programme at Chewton Swimming Pool, which has been running in Chewton since 2011.
Based in the multi-purpose room within Chewton Primary School, Chewton Playgroup is open on Mondays between 09:15 and 11:00 during the school term. Here, the play is relaxed and unstructured to encourage socialisation and play. It also has access to indoor and outdoor toys and equipment at the school. Open to children aged between 0-5, the playgroup is free and always welcomes casual visitors, dads and grandparents.