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Burdekin School

Burdekin School was originally known as the Ayr Opportunity School, opened mid-year in 1974 with Mr Bruce Lane as the founding Principal. The school has had a number of name changes over this time with it now currently being known as Burdekin School.

The administration and teaching block of Burdekin Special School as we know it today was officially opened by Honourable K.V. McElligot M.L.A. (Minister for Health) on 25 October, 1991. Cyclone Aivu destroyed the former building in April, 1989. Staff and students moved in on Thursday, 15 November. An open day was held for the Burdekin community on Tuesday, 4th December, 1990. Mr Ron Nuttall was the Principal at the time.

Burke Park in Wilmington Street and Burdekin Special School in Young Street worked together under the ownership of the Endeavour Foundation to deliver a range of programs for students with specialised needs for many years. Burdekin Special School was taken over by Education Queensland prior to cyclone Aivu.

The delivery of programs for students at Burdekin School has changed and grown from:

A “Life skills” approach to learning, aligned to individual goal setting to:

The acquisition of skills and knowledge promoting self-advocacy and independence, aligned to the Australian Curriculum and Key Learning Areas.

A review was held in 1999 when the future of Burdekin Special School was uncertain. After a lot of community consultation and support, the school remained open and the school has now added 2 new buildings. D block (officially opened in February, 2012) funded from Australian Government funding – The Building Education Revolution Funding round; and E block relocated in 2013 from the South East corner. The students at Burdekin School can now access a library and have a designated technology area within the school.

Mr Ron Nuttall was a long standing Principal at Burdekin Special School with a “Changing of the Guard” (as stated in the paper at the time) was replaced by Ms Kim Irwan, followed a number of years later by Mr Peter St James and the position currently held by Mrs Rhonda Hillyard.

Burdekin School will continue to deliver an individualised, educational program highly structured to cater for an identified cohort of individuals who have the desire (as do all young people), to lead an active and informed lifestyle within the Burdekin community.