About The School

Welcome to McLaren Vale Primary School, nestled between the rolling hills of the lower Mount Lofty Ranges, adjacent to some of South Australia’s best beaches and coastline and in the heart of the well renowned and beautiful McLaren Vale wine region.

McLaren Vale Primary School has a strong and proud history of success with public education being provided in the McLaren Vale Township since 1870 and with the school opening at its current location in 1965.

Our school provides a holistic approach to education for children from Reception to Year 7. It is widely recognised as a high achieving school, providing a friendly, caring and secure environment that nurtures and challenges every child to reach their full potential.

We partner with the Madge Sexton Kindergarten which adjoins the school. We are working towards a vision that sees the kindergarten and school developing an integrated and seamless service enabling continuity for children in their education from preschool to school.

Our school vision is about developing:

A community of creative individuals and resilient learners who take responsibility for making a positive difference in their world.

The relationships we have with our students, our families and our community are at the very core of our work. Our school values respect, integrity and success ... for everyone.

The school is well renowned for its well-maintained buildings and facilities, green playing spaces and ambient gardens. We offer several nature play spaces, a gymnasium, two netball/basketball courts, 3 playgrounds, expansive vegetable gardens and orchards, a bush tucker garden, a five bay kitchen facility, library, well resourced Out of School Hours Care space, computer suites, Performing Arts Centre and a Maker Space. Students are accommodated in a combination of brick buildings and transportable classrooms with some offering flexible learning spaces.

We cater for 550 students in both straight and multi-age year level groupings with provision for 19 classes.

The school’s catchment area is primarily with families residing in the local McLaren Vale area. A school zone exists to allow local children first right of enrolment. As vacancies occur at a particular year level, placements can be offered to families outside of the zone, prioritised by proximity to the school.

Our staff has a blend of expertise and experience with specialist teachers in the areas of Music, Japanese, Science, Visual Art and Physical Education. Teachers provide engaging learning experiences that incorporate differentiated strategies to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities. Specific emphasis is given to development of literacy and numeracy skills, personal wellbeing and encouragement for all students to achieve their very best learning.

Other features of our school include:

  • A safe and friendly environment where the values of respect, integrity and success embed our Behaviour Code and where students develop social and personal capabilities.
  • Transition programs that support continuity of learning from Kindergarten to school and from Year 7 to Year 8 with our main feeder sites.
  • Intervention support for students with special needs in literacy and numeracy with rigorous assessment processes to inform teaching strategies and to monitor progress.
  • Provision of a specialist music program, where students are encouraged to develop their performance skills and to participate in performances both locally and regionally.
  • The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program provides years 3-5 students with opportunities to grow, harvest, prepare and share food. Students have fortnightly cooking and garden lessons where they develop skills to make healthier choices about what to cook and eat, for life.
  • Sections of the school’s grounds have purpose designed garden areas providing an idyllic setting for students to learn about sustainability and the care of local  ora and fauna.
  • Staff commitment to the implementation of ICT with students using Google Chromebooks with 1-1 access for Year 6/7 students and 1-4 access for Years 3 to 5. All students have access to iPads and there is a purpose built computer suite housing 30 desktop computers.
  • A developing focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) with a Maker Space including a 3D printer and associated Makers Empire Software to develop students design thinking skills linking to the Flinders University Centre for Innovation.
  • An R-7 Student Council with our student leaders having an active role in decision-making. The Student Council runs special days, organises fundraising and influences school and classroom priorities.
  • A Pastoral Care Worker supports student wellbeing with programs such as What’s the Buzz, Seasons for Growth and operates a Breakfast Club. Ongoing counselling is provided to students through arrangements with office staff.
  • An Aboriginal Education Team who support our ATSI students with cultural experiences as well as being a cultural resource for the staff and community.
  • Opportunities for students to participate in sport through the school’s PE program and at a regional and state level through the South Australian Primary Schools Amateur Sports Association events (SAPSASA).
  • An Out Of School Hours Care service that provides quality care before, after and during vacation time for children.
  • A school canteen operates daily and provides a fresh seasonal menu aligned to the Right Bite Policy.

The Australian Curriculum

Our curriculum provides students with rich learning opportunities aligned to the Australian Curriculum. Teachers integrate the General Capabilities of literacy, numeracy, information and communication technology, critical and creative thinking, ethical behaviour, personal and social competence and intercultural understanding, and Cross-Curriculum Priorities - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures, Asia & Australia’s Engagement with Asia and Sustainability, into each of the eight curriculum areas.

Our emphasis is on the development of core knowledge, skills and understandings in eight required areas of study, which includes:


The study of English is central to the learning and development of every student and underpins all of our work. It helps create con dent communicators, imaginative thinkers and informed citizens. Students learn to analyse, understand, communicate with and build relationships with each other and with the world around them.

Our students are taught reading, writing, spelling, grammar, handwriting, speaking and listening through the 3 focus areas of the English Curriculum: Literacy, Literature and Language.

Enter a classroom at McLaren Vale Primary School and you will see a diverse range of activities.

These may include students:

  • Developing skills in comprehension, accuracy,  uency and vocabulary
  • Recognising and writing texts that persuade, explain and entertain
  • Using correct grammar, including simple and compound sentences
  • Using accurate spelling and punctuation and editing their own writing
  • Planning and making presentations to the class
  • Engaging in discussions to share ideas and information and communicating clearly with others


Learning mathematics creates opportunities for and enriches the lives of every student. Mathematics provides students with essential mathematical skills and knowledge in Number and Algebra, Measurement and Geometry and Statistics and Probability. It develops the Numeracy Capabilities that all students need in their personal, work and civic life. Students are encouraged to become self-motivated, confident learners through inquiry and active participation in challenging and engaging experiences.

Our students are provided with opportunities to apply their learning in everyday situations. Building on from what learners know and guiding them from using concrete objects to representing their ideas in an abstract way is how we manage the mathematics journey from R-7. A typical lesson is based on a four-part framework including a tune in/warm up activity to activate our mathematics thinking, explicit teaching of concepts, guided practice and reflection/sharing.

You may see students:

  • Working individually or as part of a group to solve a problem or investigation
  • Undertaking problems that may have multiple answers
  • Using various strategies within their work
  • Engaging in learning conversations with their teacher and with each other
  • Using mathematical language to re ect on what they have learnt
  • Playing games to consolidate learning

The Arts

Our students are involved in a wide range of opportunities to be immersed in the Arts. Experiences engage, inspire and enrich all students, exciting the imagination and encouraging them to reach their creative and expressive potential. Our Arts program includes learning about and using knowledge, skills, techniques, processes, materials and technologies to explore arts practices and make artworks that communicate ideas and intentions. Students are given opportunities for exploring, responding to, analysing and interpreting artworks.

Typically, students will:

  • In Dance, create dances to tell a story, mood or emotion
  • In Drama, choreograph and develop performances from stories or picture books
  • In Media Arts, use technologies to change images, add words and record sounds
  • In Music, sing and explore beat and rhythm using instruments to create music
  • In Visual Arts, look at an artist’s work and create their own, experimenting with materials

In all five areas of The Arts, students are given opportunities to understand Australia’s histories and traditions through engaging with the artworks, both traditional and contemporary of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

Celebrating our students’ talents whether they are performing, painting or playing is a big part of our school and community life.


The Science curriculum provides opportunities for students to develop an understanding of science concepts and processes, the practices used to develop scientific knowledge, of science’s contribution to our culture and society and its applications in our lives. Our students are provided with experiences based on science inquiry, science as a human endeavour and science understanding in the core areas of biology, chemistry, physics and earth and space.

You may see students:

  • Conducting ‘fair test’ experiments to answer a question or hypothesis
  • Recording their findings in multimodal ways (computer, iPad, photos, aurally or written as an explanation, procedure or in a report)
  • Exploring the action of forces
  • Realising that living things form parts of ecosystems
  • Understanding that actions of humans can have an effect on their world

Languages - Japanese

Learning a second language has many bene ts such as increased learning outcomes across all curriculum areas including literacy in the first language. Language learning provides opportunities for students to make connections between themselves and others and develops an appreciation for all cultures. We have offered Italian up until 2017 and are currently phasing in Japanese to the senior students. In order to link with other feeder primary schools and to the Asian studies program at Willunga High School, as of 2018, all students will be involved in the study of Japanese. Experiences provide opportunities to speak, listen to and write the language as well as immersion in the culture of our nearest neighbours.

Typically, when learning a language, students will be:

  • Participating in routines, interactions and learning activities which involve listening, responding and initiating
  • Learning new words and using familiar vocabulary to make simple statements and ask simple questions
  • Communicating in familiar interactions and situations such as participating in performances and play
  • Exploring the relationship between culture and ways of communicating

Health and Physical Education

Our students have weekly lessons with a specialist Physical Education teacher in our gymnasium and classroom teachers provide additional fitness and skills lessons. R-5 students access a swimming program at Noarlunga Leisure Centre and 6-7 students an Aquatics program at Port Noarlunga beach. A sports day is held annually and is a key event in our community. Staff are committed to our students’ sporting success in a range of arenas including basketball, netball, cross country, athletics, swimming and soccer.

Students also learn about changes they experience as they grow up, valuing difference in others.

Typically, students will be:

  • Talking about challenge, risk, success and failure and how these affect the way they see themselves
  • Keeping themselves and others safe and healthy in and out of the classroom
  • Building positive relationships and become more aware of emotions
  • Understanding their own family background and valuing all people and cultures including their own
  • Playing games in a range of outdoor places
  • Improving their skills in different activities
  • Using rules, scoring, tactics, fair play and teamwork

Technologies - Digital and Design

Technologies ensures that all students benefit from learning about and working with traditional, contemporary and emerging technologies that shape the world in which they live. By applying their knowledge, practical skills and processes when using technologies and other devices to create innovative solutions, independently and collaboratively, they are able to apply their learning to respond creatively to current and future needs.

Typically, students will be:

In Design and Technologies

  • Drawing, labelling and modelling ideas when designing and producing solutions such as creating a toy that moves
  • Re-evaluating and assessing what worked and what didn’t and making the needed changed
  • Planning steps to produce solutions and learning to manage their time In Digital Technologies
  • Identifying and learning how to follow safety rules when working online
  • Identifying problems and solving them, for example, identifying stages of a game and decisions that a player must make to win
  • Learning about the language of coding and how to use it without technology (directional games and hands on activities) and with technology (code.org, scratch, b-bots)
  • Creating a range of digital solutions, such as coding simple interactive games
  • Using the design thinking process to design and create solutions using the Makers Empire program and print prototypes using 3D printing

Humanities and Social Sciences

Awareness of the characteristics of people and places that make up our world and have shaped humanity from the earliest times are features of the Humanities and Social Sciences learning area. Students are taught History and Geography from Reception to Year 7 with Civics and Citizenship introduced at Year 3 and Economics and Business introduced at Year 5.

Our rich and diverse local environment is the springboard for our students to explore society, events, movements and developments in an effort to better understand themselves and others with the focus broadening from a regional to global perspective through the years of schooling.

Typically, students will investigate:

  • Diverse people, cultures and environments in Australia and neighbouring countries; how different individuals and groups have contributed to their communities, past and present
  • Significant days in Australia’s history, such as Australia Day, Anzac Day and Sorry Day
  • Early explorers and British colonisation of Australia
  • Diverse cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, and those who live and lived in the local area
  • Geographic characteristics of Africa, South America and Australia, and how natural resources are used and managed
  • Rules and laws, and how the local government makes decisions and serves their community
  • Groupings they belong to, and how people contribute to the community and the environment through responsible actions

McLaren Vale Primary School has a reputation for being one of the best schools in the region. This success is built on a strong and active school community of students, parents and teachers, who all value the same high standards of education and creative and intellectual endeavour. We see parents as partners in our work and hope you will become very much part of our community and fully involved in your child’s achievements.

We look forward to working with you to provide the best possible education for your child in our care. Please call and make some time to come in and chat to us, meet our student ambassadors and tour our enriching environment for your child’s primary schooling ... and find out why McLaren Vale Primary School provides our students with some of the best days of their lives.