A new primary school in Muswellbrook, NSW, that is founded on the vision of the late conductor and passionate music educator, Richard Gill, is currently accepting enrolments. Due to open in 2021, the Richard Gill School will start out as a K-2 school that caters for 50 students but is expected to grow in successive years to become K-12 with a capacity of around 400 students.
Wearing the motto “Through music and movement we flourish”, it will be a full curriculum school with music and physical education as special areas of focus. Gill devoted much energy to establishing the school in the early stages before he succumbed to cancer in October 2018. Music Australia wrote about the school just before his passing. His view was that every child in Australia should be given access to a high quality, fully sequential program of musical learning, and to that end this founding school says its mission is to “see our students grow musically, physically, socially, emotionally and intellectually, developing life foundations of responsibility, confidence, resilience, purpose and performance,” to quote from its prospectus.
The Richard Gill School was anticipated to start in 2020 but has had to wait for development approval for refitting the Muswellbrook Shire Council administration building – which will be its home – and construction of adjacent play areas. Work is expected to begin on this in October following fast-tracking by the NSW Government to count the school as a Major Project. Meanwhile, teaching staff are being sought in readiness for Term 1 next year.
Chris English is the school’s founding principal. Hailing from nearby Newcastle, he and his family have moved to Muswellbrook during the planning stages, and he has been running a series of pop-up information booths in Muswellbrook to inform the local community about the school. He was able to provide this update on how the school is progressing:
“We are excited to have recently been announced by the State Government as one of six Major Projects to have their Development Application (DA) fast-tracked. This is wonderful news for the school, region and local community as, whilst it does not guarantee DA approval, it is a positive step in right direction and will lead to the employment of many local contractors throughout the construction phase.
Construction of the Richard Gill School will commence on Monday October 19 following Muswellbrook Shire Council’s departure from the building on Friday, October 16.
We are edging closer to confirming our inaugural classroom teacher and hope to announce the successful candidate in the coming weeks.
We are about to launch a complementary Early Childhood Music program at five local preschools. We are working hard to give back to the local community through all that we do and know that this program will be a lot of fun for the children and of great educational value for both the children and educators.
Other exciting news is that preliminary plans are in the works for a documentary to be made about the school, and we currently have eight enrolled students which I expect will increase even more over the coming months.
On Wednesday September 2 we will be hosting our first physical information sessions at the school for prospective and already enrolled students and their families. Registration for this event is required due to COVID-19 restrictions. Further information can be found on our website.”
Richard Gill School’s Prospectus and enrolment forms can be found here.
We look forward to seeing how this wonderful new venture plays out in the months and years to come.