A 15 hectare corner lot is the foundation for one super school which opened on 27 July, 2011.
This co-educational campus in Gepps Cross is one of three campuses forming the Roma Mitchell Secondary College (RMSC); the others being a girls-only campus and a special education campus.
It is the largest of six super schools and explores the concept of ‘schools within a school’.
In 2016, the co-educational campus boasted an enrolment of 1,301 students who were initially transferred from surrounding schools that were liquidated to make way for this super school.
The Gepps Cross campus hosts an amalgamation of students from Gepps Cross Girls High School, Enfield High, Ross Smith Secondary and the Gepps Cross Senior School.
Principal Sandy Richardson has led the RMSC since 2011 and has been witness to the school’s steady progress over those years.
The RMSC recently joined the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) and is authorised to offer the Middle Years Programme (MYP) to Year 8, 9, and 10 students.
The diverse language programme includes Italian, German, Japanese, Persian, Arabic, Hindi and Vietnamese, with the Kaurna language as a possible offering in the future.
The Mark Oliphant College (MOC) in Munno Parra is another super school which opened 2 May, 2011.
It has 5 sub-schools including the Children’s Centre, Early Years, Primary Years, Middle Years, and Senior Years.
Executive leader of the MOC, Craig Brown, emphasised that his school is a unified college with small and effective teams within the sub-schools.
Brown is proud that the Birth-to-Year-12 structure can strengthen the long-term rapport teachers can have with their students.
“Kids come through and develop the relationship the whole way through… primary staff can see their former students graduate in Year 12… it makes this place really special”, Brown says.
Brown has worked at Gepps Cross Girls High School during its transition into RMSC. He leads the MOC Middle Years and Senior Years sub-schools with approximately 800 students and 54 staff in his care.
The MOC once embraced a ‘less is more’ educational philosophy endorsed by the former principal, Lynne Symons.
“This is an unofficial motto”, Brown says explaining the changes in college leadership over the past few years.
The philosophy has now evolved to “narrow and deep… [we’re] really into literacy and numeracy”, Brown explains.
A core curriculum limits the subject choices that students have until Year 9.
“The Australian Curriculum is important but trying to address all those items is very difficult because it is very broad”, Brown says.
Through the “narrow and deep” approach, more time is spent on fewer subjects with an emphasis on literacy and numeracy.
The MOC boasts a fibre-optic broadband network facilitating fast access to the internet, provided by SABRENet.
There is a 1:1 policy on iPads from Primary Years to Middle Years and 1:1 Macbooks in the Senior Years.
The buildings are arranged in a circular configuration to create the sense of a village.
“You can follow the path in a circle and see the whole school; I really like that concept”, Brown says.
Award-winning construction company Hansen Yuncken built all six super schools.
The co-educational RMSC campus boasts state-of-the-art facilities including commercial grade kitchens, open plan spaces, natural lighting, a large gymnasium, a performing arts centre, extensive wireless network access, and a university-style library.
Designed by Thomson Rossi Architects, the development is sustainable with vegetation, solar-panels, and rainwater storage.
The super school facilities have been beneficial to students like Bella Hanson, a Year 10 student at RMSC Girls Campus, who was recognised with an academic excellence award in 2017.
Her mother, Sandra Hanson, encourages Bella to make the most of all manner of educational opportunities on offer.
“Bella has engaged in various activities including sporting teams, STEM programs, School Musicals, Children’s University.” Hanson says.
The cutting-edge facilities notwithstanding, there are some classes that students cannot participate in across campuses.
“Unfortunately, she misses some chosen opportunities only afforded to those in the co-ed campus, as some of the classes are not offered within the girls campus,” Hanson adds.
Hanson’s experience as a parent of a student in a super school has been generally positive.
“Overall, I have been pleased with the school, as I have had regular correspondence with teachers, and the students have plenty of opportunity for assistance through a number of homework clubs”, she says.
The South Australian Government announced further infrastructure funding to state schools in October 2017. A record $690 million boost will be allocated to public schools across the state.