William Duncan State School

William Duncan State School (WDSS) is a state school located Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. The school was opened in 1987 with just 186 students enrolled, which has now grown to approximately 800 in present day.


With a large increase in population of the Nerang area in the 1980s, the Nerang State School, Nerang's only primary school at the time, was nearing capacity. The Queensland Department of Education decided to open the William Duncan State School in Nerang in 1987. The William Duncan State School was named after William Duncan, was one of the first white men to set foot in the area of Nerang in 1842.



The William Duncan State School Hall is now in use and construction was completed in 2006. The Hall contains a projector, lights, a public announcement system, a canteen, a stage, a storage facility and a ticket booth. The Hall has many uses ranging from small sporting events such as ping-pong, to full school assemblies. On "wet days" the Hall is used to host physical education lessons, trivia nights, school discos and other school functions.


Preparatory Year

Specially designed classrooms furnished with equipment that supports the development of interest areas, group and individual activities, and a program of learning through investigations. Each classroom has access to a child friendly kitchen area for the preparation of resources as well as regular cooking experiences. Child sized bathrooms are also in easy access for each classroom

Located adjacent to each prep room, the outdoor play area is easily supervised and designed to encourage the development of the child’s gross motor skills, through the use of climbing equipment, running spaces, and ever changing obstacle courses. Creative play is enhanced by the sandpit and its supporting resources, and a range of ball games, hoops and bean bags are available for hand/eye coordination games.

The curriculum was developed through the collaboration of the Early Years Curriculum Reference Group, trial schools, early education teachers and a consultative network. It is based upon current research into young children their development and the ways in which they learn. The learning statements of the curriculum are based upon the five of the six factors that were identified for preparation for school and for success in later learning. They are, social/emotional competence, health/physical well being, language development/communication skills, early mathematical understanding, and active learning processes. A disposition to learning, as the sixth factor, is embedded in all five statements, as is the development of thinking skills.

Teachers in our Preparatory Year classes have participated in several professional development workshops and seminars in order to develop their knowledge and skills in presenting the Early Years Curriculum. This included both theories and practical insights into various methods of planning developmental programs for individual children, or groups of children in the Preparatory Year.


The school aims for a balance of academic, sporting and cultural excellence, but at the same time ensuring that all children retain dignity even when success is difficult to achieve. A tradition of total participation in sporting activity has been built. Opportunities are extended to children of varying abilities to take part in extra curricular, academic and cultural activities.

Teaching partnerships work cooperatively in an open plan environment to give students the experience of working with both teachers, and allow the formation of needs based workgroups within classrooms. The school promotes a one campus concept where Years 1 to 7 classes, Preschool and the Special Education Unit offer an integrated program in each classroom.

The school has also built a tradition of a family approach to education. While the school conducts split assemblies, each group comprises senior and junior children. The split assemblies occur because there is no facility which allows the whole school to congregate comfortably for school activities. Accordingly the P&C Association is endeavouring to construct a school hall, and is seeking support from outside agencies to raise funds for this facility.

The school community has been encouraged to explore alternative models of flexible schooling as a means of challenging the age/grade structure which has predominated in recent years. It is possible in a school of this size to offer both options in a manageable fashion.

Parent support and pride in the school is quite high, and parents have high ambitions for their children. The school has adopted the Enhanced Option 1 model for school based management, but still has an elected School Council which monitors planning and implementation of school programs and gives advice to the Principal. Parents have been heavily involved in preparation for Human Relationships Education, a Behaviour Management Plan, sporting events, successful fetes, Under Eight's Day and Art Week. Parents and children alike are proud of the William Duncan school uniform and the degree to which the uniform is worn is very high.

Behaviour management is addressed regularly in the school. Community help is being targeted for family support, especially by the visiting school Guidance Officer.

A comprehensive committee system serves the school well in various curriculum areas. The committees prepare aspects of school programs, budget requirements and carry out accountability roles. On an annual basis parents are invited through newsletters and P & C Association meetings to have input into school planing processes.


See also

*Education in the Gold Coast

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