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Adelaide Botanic High reveals health, technology and arts vision

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New city secondary school, Adelaide Botanic High, will offer a specialist health sciences mentoring program and intends to go completely paper-free in its first 10 years, its principal has revealed.

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The $100 million school, currently under construction on Frome Road, will offer a specialist health sciences intake and mentoring program for Year 8 students from next year. Of the students to be accepted into the program, 20 will be from outside the school’s intake zone – shared with the current Adelaide High School in the city’s west.

Principal Alistair Brown, formerly of Heathfield High School, said Adelaide Botanic High will partner with neighbouring North Terrace sites, including the University of Adelaide and State Library to develop the school’s curriculum.

He said the school would link students enrolled in the health program with mentors, some of whom would be academic staff and students from the University of Adelaide.

“Next door we’ve got the areas for high-end health and also sciences and that ties in with our special-entry program, which is around health and science,” Brown said.

“We’re already starting to reach out to a whole range of different groups – the university, the zoo, the Botanic Gardens, and the new (UniSA) MOD museum on North Terrace.

“If we don’t engage with that precinct, we’re just wasting the school’s location.”

Brown said while the school would maintain a strong STEM and health sciences focus, it would also collaborate with the Elder Conservatorium of Music to develop its music program.

He said he was also interested in working with the new public art gallery that has been proposed for the old Royal Adelaide Hospital site.

“This (the health sciences program) is a program where it brings students into the school and it has flexibility for the students to flourish in other areas, but if they choose to continue along that health sciences pathway it will give them the greatest options to succeed,” he said.

“It will be unlike a specialist sports program where a person comes in and it’s a specialist football program, for example, all the way through. This program will be a lot more flexible and although the school will have this focus, students will still be able to pursue other interest areas.”

Adelaide Botanic High School will have a “paper light” vision for its first few years, with the majority of student coursework and learning materials to be accessible online.

Brown said he hopes the school will go completely paper-free within 10 years.

“We will be questioning at every level why something needs to be in paper form and working to preference digital over paper,” he said.

“Students will be doing everything on a tablet, and teachers will mark on tablets – so that will massively reduce the paper output.”

Enrolments for Years 8 and 9  have already opened for 2019, with student numbers expected to grow to 1250 by 2021.

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