A Tamworth school has become just one of eight schools in the country selected as a finalist for the prestigious Australian Education Awards.
St Edward's Primary School last week became the only non-selective rural school shortlisted alongside cashed-up selective schools in the capital cities as a finalist in their category.
Principal Jake Madden said it was the first time the Catholic school had ever been nominated in the nation-wide teaching awards.
"It's a great thing for not just St Edward's, but for our region. When we look at the other schools and the other categories, you don't see very many regional, community schools like ours featuring," he said.
"Amongst all the thousands of school nominations that have been put through, our school is now in the top eight of the year for the non-government sector, which is a wonderful, wonderful affirmation and acknowledgement of the work the staff of the school have been doing over the last few years, but in particular last year, and we're pretty excited by that."
Dr Madden said he was particularly proud the school had notched up the achievement in the year of the COVID-19 crisis, which disrupted both staff and students.
The other seven schools shortlisted for finalist for primary school of the year in the non-government category are: the Canberra Girls Grammar School Junior School, Melbourne's Haileybury, Knox Grammar Preparatory School, Brisbane's private Ormiston College, the Snowy Mountains Grammar School, Living Faith Lutheran Primary School and Oakleigh Grammar Junior School.
"I believe quite wholeheartedly that it's difficult, very difficult in the rural setting for schools to outshine our urban brothers. These schools that are shortlisted with us, they are very selective. St Edwards, we're a rural school, a Catholic systemic school and proudly so, and we are non selective. We are there for anyone who wants a Catholic education," Dr Madden said.
"We have a significant Indigenous population. We have a significant disabilities program. Our families come from Hillvue. We service some very vulnerable people, so to be in the top eight given our circumstances is a tremendous feat against the other schools."
The awards will be announced on August 27 at a dinner in Sydney. The school plans to send a delegation to the event.
Dr Madden joined the school at the start of 2021.
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