About Kew Primary School

All students at Kew Primary School participate in a comprehensive, balanced curriculum from Prep to Year 6.

Some features of our school program are:

  • A nurturing community shared by teacher, child and parents
  • Extensive Preschool to Prep Orientation program
  • Prep/Year 6 “Buddy” support program
  • Broad spectrum of educational opportunities through specialist programs – Visual Arts, Physical Education, French and Music, Learning Resource Centre, Perceptual Motor Program
  • Highly skilled and enthusiastic staff
  • Excellent Before and After School Care Programs 7.30am-6.30pm
  • Holiday Programs
  • Exemplary Thinking Skills Program
  • High level of parent involvement
  • Well established and successful Student Wellbeing Program
  • Literacy and Numeracy programs focused on meeting each child’s individual learning needs.

School History

The traceable history of Kew began with the Wurundjeri where for forty thousand years they had lived in harmony with the land. White settlement all but obliterated these indigenous people and sadly, only ethnographic and archaeological records have found mention of their existence.

Kew Primary School is the oldest school in Kew and was established on November 1, 1870. It predates the commencement of State education with its genesis lying in the year the colony was founded, namely, 1851. Nicholas Fenwick was recognized as the founder of Kew when he purchased an area of 122 acres (Lot 87) on which Kew Primary School now stands.

Mr. Fenwick provided the Church of England with a block of land on which the church established School No.346, on April 1, 1856, which was a direct predecessor of Kew Primary School. On July 1, 1859, the Independent Church established its own school within the same area of land through the aid of a government grant. With an expanding enrolment, and under the leadership of the third Head Teacher, Mr. John Gladstone, School No.356 bought land, which formed part of the present site of Kew Primary School.

On November 1, 1870, School No.1075 (Kew Primary School’s present number) opened, replacing School No.356 and consolidating, in 1875, with the Church of England School.

Kew Primary School is the original custodian of the democratic charter of State education where, on December 17, 1872, the historic Education Act was passed by the Victorian Parliament and State Schools were created with an education that was compulsory, secular and free. Consequently, on January 1, 1873 the Education Department assumed control of the school. The resultant brick school building was characteristic of public buildings of the time. With agitation, which commenced at the end of the last century, a separate building for junior classes was erected abutting Pakington Street, which is now known as the Junior School building.

In 1923 the first major development of the school building facing Peel Street took place with the perfect matching of bricks with those of 1871. This building now caters for senior school classes, Learning Technology, Visual Arts, staff facilities and school administration offices. It was opened on December 8, 1910 in conjunction with the 50th Jubilee of the Kew Municipality. However, the school lost its historical 1909 casket containing a Union Jack, local views, and correspondence students sent from Kew, England, in a fire in the school office in the 1950s.

Kew was proclaimed a Municipality on December 18, 1860, was gazetted a Town on December 14, 1910, was gazetted a City on March 1, 1921, and on June 22, 1994 the City of Kew became, with Hawthorn and Camberwell, the City of Boroondara.

Kew Primary School celebrated its first centenary in 1971. Together with a fund established by parents and assisted by the government, Nos.1 and 3 Pakington Street were purchased and the buildings demolished. In 1973, as part of substantial upgrading of play and ground facilities, The Hon. R.J. Hamer opened a new oval that was a significant improvement in the recreational facilities of the school.

The 1970s brought forth a confluence of initiatives through the Schools Commission and the Education (School Councils) Act 1975, which involved significant funding to the school and the devolution of authority from the Education Department to the local school community.

The Library wing, which contains the school’s canteen, was built in 1981. At the southern end of the school grounds is a Pavilion built in the 1920s and refurbished in 1987 where the current Out of School Hours program is conducted. A Shelter, which was financed by the parents of the school, opened on November 7, 1993 and is located in the centre of the grounds.

Kew Primary School became part of the Schools of the Future program on July 1, 1994 signifying its commitment to the devolution of responsibility to School Councils. In November 1995 Kew Primary School celebrated its 125th anniversary and in 1996 held an Open Day for former students and their families. In 1997 a lift was installed in the main building to cater for students with special needs.

The school is noted for the linguistic, cultural, occupational and economic diversity of its community. It is presently flourishing under the leadership of its current Principal. The school’s current enrolment of 474 students represent more than thirty different national and ethnic groups and is provided with one of the best education programs offered by modern schooling systems. Its four Sporting Houses (Turaku, Allunga, Kalban and Jannali) are a lasting reminder of, and a tribute to, its worthy origins with the Wurundjeri.

Condensed by LAC Cavell, Kew Primary School, March 18, 1999 from A Short History of Kew Primary School by Justice PD Cummins, Kew Primary School 1870-1995: Celebrating 125 years, Kew Primary School, 1995.