Useless Loop Primary School is a remote school like no other, unique that it is situated in a small mining town which is closed to the public. All students are children of employees creating a situation where transiency is a norm due to employment conditions and mining requirements changing. At the same time there is a sense of stability as all parents are fully engaged in employment and generally remain in the community for a few years. Student numbers ranged between 25-34 in 2022.
Useless Loop is a very scenic, yet isolated community located approximately 850 km from Perth, and 450 km from Geraldton. The nearest town is Denham, which is 220 km by road, but 10 minutes across the water by plane. The town has a population of approximately 139 people. Useless Loop is part of the Shark Bay Salt Joint Venture mining lease and as a result there is restricted access to the community by visitors. Shark Bay Salt supplies services and utilities in the town, with the nearest government agencies based in Carnarvon or Geraldton. The school was originally established in 1969 because of the Shark Bay Salt Joint Venture vision of establishing a community by attracting potential employees and their families.
Useless Loop Primary School caters for students from kindergarten through to Year 6. The school is part of the Mid-West Education District and is serviced by the Regional Education Office in Geraldton. Useless Loop PS forms part of the Coral Coast Network which includes Exmouth, Carnarvon, Shark Bay, Gascoyne Junction and Burringurrah. It is part of the Remote Teaching Service which provides financial and leave incentives to encourage staff to remain in the school for up to three years at a time supporting continuity of learning programs.
Small class sizes allows for an individualised approach to learning and promoting a whole school philosophy of success for all students. This is addressed using a targeted approach to teaching, based on a strong regime of standardised assessments enabling staff to correctly identify where each child would be placed in a larger school. Teachers connect with other schools through professional learning opportunities and school visits. Whole school planning ensures that students are provided with work at their current year level, while engaging with students in multi-aged settings provides for remediation and enrichment.
There is a culture of high standards and expectations with all teachers regularly reflecting on their practice using the AITSL Professional Standards in their performance management. There is a culture of open communication using parent information sessions and interviews, reporting to parents, parent meetings and informal conversations.
Student and staff health and wellbeing is addressed through a culture of respect and responsibility providing a safe and supportive environment for everyone. Parents are supportive of the school ensuring positive student behaviour which is reinforced in the community.
Useless Loop Primary School enjoys a sense of community, and the school runs many activities outside of school for both students and the community to strengthen our relationships, such as afterschool sports, AFL, Cross Country training, Swimming, Tennis, incursions, and Netball. The school is lucky to have a very active Parents and Citizens Association (P&C) which meets at least once per term to discuss innovative ideas to actively engage students and raise funds for the school. They regularly assist the school with the purchase of resources, environmental improvements, working bees and student engagement. The School Council provide a strong leadership and direction by linking the community to the school and overseeing the general direction of school management.
The one-line budget has generated opportunity for the school to manage finances differently, with a focus on providing effective teacher allocation regardless of student numbers. There are two classrooms, Early Childhood (K-2) and Senior (3-6). Staffing includes a principal, two teachers, School Officer, Manager Corporate Services (finance), two education assistants and cleaners. Staff have access to professional development opportunities such as Spelling Mastery, Heggerty, Sounds Write, Explicit Instruction and Teach Well (2023).
Specialist programmes consist of Japanese (SIDE), as well as Music, Physical Education, Art, and Coding/Robotics taught by the Principal. A strong feature of the school is the highly experienced staff whose collaborative approach is appreciated and valued throughout the community.
T: 9948 1292