A focus on community relationships is key for new St Jo’s principal

Back to school: St Josephs School Northam principal Andrea Woodgate says she is settling into her new role well. Photo: Eliza Wynn.
Back to school: St Josephs School Northam principal Andrea Woodgate says she is settling into her new role well. Photo: Eliza Wynn.

There is a new face in the top job at St Joseph’s School Northam, with newly appointed principal Andrea Woodgate settling in well to the 2019 school year.

Mrs Woodgate comes to the school with a wealth of knowledge in the Catholic education system, working as an associate principal for 16 years and a principal for two.

She said the move to the town from Perth has been smooth.

“We feel like people have embraced us as a new family,” Mrs Woodgate said.

“There is nothing that I have missed from Perth.

“I think the fact that it is close enough to Perth that we can go to family events is a real plus for us.

“The proximity was a bonus. It’s the best of both worlds.”

Mrs Woodgate said she is passionate about building relationships with the students and community groups, leading the way for the pupils to follow by example.

“We’re really trying to look at where we are involved in the town and if we can be more involved,” she said.

“Getting our children involved in community service more is a big one for me.”

Mrs Woodgate said she is excited to join the school and is thrilled with the academic potential shown in the past and current students.

“We had six ATAR students last year and they had really good results,” she said.

“Our top student got 94.8, followed by 91.8.

“All the students got into the courses they wanted to and we got one certificate of distinction and a certificate of merit.”

As of this year, the school has around 700 children on the books from Kindergarten to Year 12.

The Year 11 and 12 cohort have a combined number of 70 students.

Mrs Woodgate said there are benefits to being part of a smaller year group.

“I think they get much more individualised attention from their teachers in a smaller group,” she said.

“Especially if those kids are doing ATAR there may only be five or six students in that class and they get a whole teacher to themselves.

“We have been able to look at providing online learning where there is a teacher in Perth connected to our students who many not have been able to do it with our resources.

“We are looking closely at what else we can provide for the non ATAR students so that in the future we can provide a lot more options for the students.”