Published on 13 January 2022

Community at the heart of new Aldinga school

Aldinga Payinthi College is opening its doors to the community at the start of the 2022 school year.

School’s in at the new Aldinga Payinthi College, featuring thoughtfully designed, state-of-the-art resources for all learners and facilities that will be shared with the community.

Payinthi—pronounced bay-in-di—is a Kaurna Aboriginal word that means ‘to seek, look for, examine, be thinking’.

Located on Port Road, Aldinga, the school will welcome around 600 students, including a full cohort of students from reception to year two, and in years seven and eight. There will be a reduced number of students in years three to six, with many of those children staying at other local primary schools for now, including Aldinga Beach Primary School, one of the largest schools in the southern Adelaide metropolitan area.

Students will be progressively enrolled in new year levels each year, starting with year nine in 2023 and moving up to year 12 in 2026, by which time the student body will have grown to an anticipated 1675 children.

“Aldinga is growing in population and there is a need for additional education resources in the area, particularly a local high school, to take the pressure off other schools in the south,” says Aldinga Payinthi College Director, Community Innovation and Participation Lauren Jew.

The school combines quality education in a contemporary, collaborative learning space, with community inclusion in an accessible hub, allowing the community to use many of the facilities outside of the school hours.

Community use of the school spaces was developed in collaboration with local people. Facilities include courts, an open gymnasium, sporting fields, a 300-seat performing arts centre, entrepreneurial hub, and an art gallery.

“The community is at the heart of the school. Using a place-based approach, we are engaged in ongoing conversations with the community to determine how the facilities will be used.

The buildings were developed using ecologically sustainable development principles that meet a five-star green rating. The school has developed its own sustainability policy in line with its responsibility to minimise its environmental footprint. Active teaching and learning around sustainability will incorporate resources around the school to develop ecologically sound practices.

Aldinga Payinthi College principal Alison Colbeck who, like Lauren, lives locally to the school, says its location among the Aldinga hills offers “a beautiful sense of space”.

“The college is a huge investment in the community. We know the spaces within the school are important to the community, so we’ll be activating the facilities right away for the benefit of local families,” Alison says.

School sport will not be offered at Aldinga Payinthi College. Rather, the children are being encouraged to join local sporting clubs which will take advantage of the new facilities for training sessions and games.

“Aldinga Payinthi College is more than a facility for 9am to 3pm or thereabouts. Students might be here early using the facilities before school hours or spending time after school on their way to sporting commitments,” Alison says.

Ensuring students feel valued and having the community take ownership of the school is important to Alison.

“I’m looking forward to welcoming more of the community onsite and having them see that the college is a game changer for the south,” she says.

Year eight student Ruby is eager to start the new school year.

“I’m looking forward to being part of the school community and I can’t wait for all the exciting sports and recreational activities the school will offer,” Ruby says.

The City of Onkaparinga is contributing funds to the school as the facilities will be available to the community outside of school hours. A capital contribution of $883,000 has helped increase the two-court gymnasium from primary size to senior size, add storage room for community use that can be accessed via the gym, install sports lighting infrastructure for the senior oval and two senior soccer and hockey pitches, and a concrete cricket pitch with artificial turf for the main oval.

Council’s Recreation Services team has been working closely with school staff and the existing clubs from the Aldinga Sports Park to identify opportunities to activate the school facilities for community use.

“The opportunity for students from the school to play sport at their school whilst representing a local club is an exciting way to build a healthy community around sport and link the sports park and school sites to create a true regional sports hub,” says council’s Recreation Services Manager Nick Carr.



Adelaide Payinthi College 


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Year eight student Ruby and Principal Alison Colbeck tour the new school.