June 30, 2016

Avondale has a strong focus on quality education, with the school ranking in the top 200 schools in NSW.

SET on the picturesque 17-hectare campus, Avondale School has a long and rich history in the area, dating back to 1897. Principal Dr David Faul has been 18 years at the helm of this impressively modern, technologically-focused school for children aged from preschool to year 12.

“We started as a primary school and have been at this site for 34 years, back when there were only two or three houses on Avondale Road,” says David.

With 960 students, plus 200 children in the early learning centre, David says Avondale has a strong focus on quality education, with the school ranking in the top 200 schools in NSW, and boasting high NAPLAN scores, including promisingly high school-improvement indicators. David attributes the success to his 125 dedicated staff and the school’s strong emphasis on family values and Christian ethos.

“It’s the old cliche ‘it takes a village to bring up a child’. We walk the talk when it comes to our values, and expect that our kids are going to do their very best,” says David.

The school has a history of excellence in sports, with athletics in primary and secondary students shining in basketball, swimming and cross country in particular. It has a 45-strong orchestra and 40-voice choir that toured in NZ last year, says David. The school is big on technology, with students from year 6 each having their own iPads and years 9 to 12 students all working on laptops.

“When we first started using laptops, people asked us why?” David recalls.

“Now, in our digital age it is a necessity. The complexity of work that our students do on their iPads and laptops – particularly in art, technology and maths – requires the speed and capacity of computers,” he says.

Starting his career in teaching as a maths teacher in Sydney, David headed up a private school in Strathfield for 17 years before taking up the position of principal at Avondale School and moving to the local area. He admits that he moved out of Sydney for the same reasons that many others do, primarily the clean-air environment as well as the improved security and community safety.

“People come here because our air is clean,” he says.

“The beauty of the walking trails, the joy of having space and safety is important to people here.”

David says he still loves being part of the classrooms and teaches maths to year 7. His vision is for Avondale to continue to grow.

“I am passionate about improving communications and the total wellbeing of our kids,” says David.

With recent research surveying 19,000 year 10 students showing that stress and body image is a main concern in their lives, David says that he wants the school to be a safe haven.

“I am conscious that school is a ‘still point’ in kids’ lives, that it is well-ordered, organised and calm,” he says.

Avondale School, 119 Avondale Road, Cooranbong. Visit avondaleschool.nsw.edu.au or call 4977 0200.

All About Avondale…

  • Founded in 1897 on the grounds of Avondale College.
  • 15 children attended the original school.
  • Today more than 960 students attend Avondale School.
  • During the 1970s the growth of Avondale College necessitated school management finding a new location and in 1980 Avondale School moved to its present campus at the end of Avondale Road.
  • School is situated on 17 hectares of rural bushland.
  • Avondale School opened the Early Learning Centre in 2003 and Kindy Centre in 2006.
  • The Multi-Purpose Centre, complete with basketball stadium, commercial kitchen, counselling and chaplaincy areas, opened in 2007.

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