City private school lodges education application

Elite private school Scotch College has lodged an application to open a commercial early learning centre in Mount Gambier, to meet the growing need for childcare and early years education in the region.

Beyond Early Learning will share the same educational philosophies as Scotch College in Adelaide and will cater for children from six weeks of age to school, recognising there is currently a long waiting list for childcare places in Mount Gambier.

Scotch Enterprises, a separate commercial subsidiary of Scotch College, was established to explore commercial opportunities without distracting from the day-to-day core operations of the school in Adelaide.

The South East was identified as an ideal location due to the current demand for childcare places and the connections the college had already established with the region through its well-established boarding offering.

The Beyond Early Learning approval process is still in its early stages, with Scotch Enterprises currently seeking its Approved Provider Licence through the Education Standards Board.

Scotch International Education Director of Operations Dr Kelly Sharp has strong family connections to Mount Gambier and through her local knowledge played a key role in creating this opportunity. She has also been instrumental in setting up the first South Australian school to licence its brand to an international educational organisation in Vietnam – Scotch College Australian Grammar School.

Chief Operating Officer Richard Stone said the Beyond team had also been working for some time with local real estate agents to secure a site, along with holding discussions with Mount Gambier-based planning consultants, engineers and builders.

“When Scotch Enterprises was developed as a commercial division of the college, we realised we could take the learnings from our own amazing Early Learning Centre and create a new childcare centre, enabling us to positively impact the lives of many more children,” Mr Stone said.

“There is a significant shortage of places in the region and while we’re a new operator in this sector, we know that we can bring 100 years of experience to the South East to share our educational culture and support those who need it the most.”

Beyond Early Learning Head of Operations Tania Darling said the new centre would have a strong focus on connecting to nature and enhancing wellbeing.

“Our youngest children often prefer to learn outside in a nature-based environment, where there are so many new and exciting things to investigate,” Ms Darling said.

“By creating an environment where children have choice over where, how and what they learn we can more effectively enhance their wellbeing and this is at the core of our early childhood learning philosophy.

“Our future Belong centres are cleverly designed to enable a natural and welcoming flow between the indoors and outdoors at all times.

“The attention to detail in design ensures that all children have agency whilst being fully supervised. Wellbeing and Flow Learning will be a focus of Beyond Early Learning.”

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