‣ Disclaimer
This article contains information that is for general information only and should not be used for the basis of making any decisions regarding education or anything else. It is solely the writer’s opinion of the writer’s experience of one open day at the school and the writer’s interactions with the people present on that day. The writer’s article is purely subjective. Facts and information may or may not be complete, accurate, reliable or valid reflection of the school in question.

I encourage you to personally tour the school and meet the educators and students, form your own opinion and leave a comment here.

Best of luck with your search for the perfect school!

Tour Details

The Tour was conducted by a senior staff member Sandra McGregor (Well Being Officer)

The tour had about 7 families (two of them brought their kids with them)

I didn’t have an opportunity to ask questions to the students. They were in their classrooms.

The tour took place on Tuesday 10th October from 9:30am- 10:30am

Vibe and physical layout of Pinewood Primary School 

Lovely gazebo at the entrance of the school leads you to the reception desk. When you enter the foyer there is a fish tank. Something I know my son will appreciate.

The school is tucked behind Blackburn Road and Monash Freeway and the quaint Pinewood shopping strip. You would expect it would be loud and possibly disruptive but I didn’t notice that during the tour due to the surrounding greenery.  And the positioning on top of a hill affords a nice view of the mountains on one side and the city on the other, we were told by our tour guide.

A newly formed oval with 3 soccer pitches. A few playgrounds, I believe Preps have access to their own.

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Principal’s welcome

The Pinewood Primary School school principal, Karen Jenkin, welcomed us with a warm introduction and excused herself from being able to be part of the remaining tour due to a meeting with an architect. This gave me a sense that there is still a fair bit of growth in numbers and also facilities at the school. We were informed of a recent grant the school won in order to further develop their music and gymnasium in 2024.

Currently there are 980 students enrolled from Foundation to Year 6. Each year level has approximately 5-6 classes of up to 23 students each. There are 40 straight classrooms, no composites.

When Karen said “I like happy children. Happy children learn well, we can do the rest” I couldn’t agree more and wish that overall philosophy was adopted by the education system world-wide.  When we walked around the school I could see the kids were happy and also well disciplined.

“We are like a big family… there may be differences or arguments but we teach how to get back in line.” This was also a relief to hear, although I did want to know more about how conflict is resolved in the school and how differences are valued.  But I understand that is something that will be evident if my child attends the school as opposed to what is conveyed in a school tour.

The whole school has recess at the same time; Lunch times are split. Preps, 1 & 2 in one batch and grades 3-6 in the next batch.

With such a large number of students I was curious about how often the whole school comes together. This wasn’t overly clear to me. However, I do believe there are occasions such as Book Week and Football that are celebrated together. The weekly assembly is currently in an online format due to limited space. However, this will be addressed with the building of the new gymnasium which should accommodate the full school.

In addition, they alternate between a biannual full school production or biannual art exhibition.

The principal also mentioned the following:

  • There are 5 specialist areas offered from Prep to Grade 6; Physical Education, Music, Art, French, STEM including robotics/coding, earth sciences and biological studies, sustainability.
  • Computers are supplied (1:1 computer per student)
  • Big focus on sport and physical activity
  • Grades 3, 4, 5 and 6 go on camp
  • Grades 2 have a disco
  • Grades 1 have a night activity to ease them into being away from home.
  • Cultural diversity – across the school there are students from 40 different countries; 38 different languages spoken at home.

Pinewood Primary School tour

Post Principal’s introduction the tour was conducted by a senior staff member, Sandra, who has taught at the school for 22 years and is now a Well-being support officer. She commented on her experience of seeing the school expand from a small school to what it is today.

There is a school nurse onsite every day from 9:30am-3pm.

All students have a “Get to know you” interview in February. This is a chance for parents and students to meet with their teacher and brief the teachers on all things students. I like this!

This is followed by a mid-year parent teacher interview.

There are two school reports; mid-year and end of year.

Pinewood Primary School uniform

The students can choose what to wear, although a T-shirt and jumper are preferred. Hats are compulsory in first and fourth term during hot weather.


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Pinewood Primary School leadership

A leadership board is on display in the foyer. The school prides itself on leadership opportunities. I would have liked to speak to some of the students who held leadership positions at the school.

Pinewood Primary School teachers

The teachers were pleasant. There are a lot of support staff – teachers to support the top 10% of maths students, teachers to support the students that needed extra support to get up to speed in English and maths.

“We expect a very high standard from teaching staff.”

“All teachers are expected to teach 10 hours of English and 5 hours of maths.

There are two French teachers; one full time and one part time. The French classroom is an open plan space within the Grade 1s area.

Pinewood Primary School foundation

Currently the school has 6 classes of grade prep. Each with about 21 kids.

The preps attend school four days a week; Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. On Wednesdays they have an English and Maths interview with a teacher to assess their abilities. They are then differentiated on these abilities.

They do offer a buddy program.


Really well set up facilities for science and technology. Each child has 1:1 access to a computer during technology class. And children are introduced to robotics and coding from Foundation. I feel like a dinosaur!

Pinewood Primary School library

The school has a strong focus on reading. “Reading underpins everything.”

The library had a lovely vibe to it. Windows allowed plenty of sunlight in and the layout was welcoming. Students can request books to be ordered in if they are not already held in the school library.

Grades 3-6 are encouraged to use the book club.

Music and art at Pinewood Primary School

I was impressed by the work and teaching approach in the music and art classrooms. The music students were learning to put tother their own music which would then be recorded. So different to the old school music lessons I grew up with. 

In the art class Grade 6s were designing and preparing their graduation memento, a skateboard. Something that represented them or a design they liked.  How fun!

Extracurricular music classes are also offered. Students can learn an instrument within school hours for an extra cost. The classes run for 30 minutes.


The school encourages the students to join local sporting clubs. These clubs are not a part of the school.

OSH club

After school care and holiday programs are offered. Full details can be found in the school information booklet. The holiday programs offered sounded exciting and kids can enrol in these even if they are not regular after school care attendees.

Overall comments


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I could see that the school was striving for excellence. With a particular focus on academics (English, Maths and sciences) At times I felt that my creative/dramatic arts questions were slightly inconvenient.  Though there was a mention about specialist areas I did feel that the school is largely focused on STEM and that did leave me questioning how students with an interest in other areas would be nurtured.

If you are looking for a school with a close-knit community feel, I am not sure this is that school.

The highlight for me was the Foundation (Prep) area. The class rooms surrounded a shared space with various tanks; a fish tank, a tank with frogs, turtles, a bearded dragon! Fantastic. The kids get experience feeding the animals. Really well set up.

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