Next generation of scientists and mathematicians


A strong partnership between parents, caregivers, teachers, students and corporate partners underpins the Wickham Maths and Science Centre of Excellence program with all parties playing a key role in helping the students excel at maths and science.

A compact agreement ceremony recently took place at Wickham Primary School and was attended by many of the students’ parents, Principal Katrina VanStraalen and representatives from Rio Tinto and the Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation.

Managed by the Foundation, and supported by the Western Australian Education Department and Rio Tinto, the Wickham program is designed to provide Years 4 – 7 Aboriginal students, who demonstrate aptitude and interest in mathematics and science, an opportunity to excel in these learning areas and choose future science, technology and mathematics learning pathways.

Project co-ordinator Melissa Reimers said that by signing the compact, each partner was demonstrating a commitment that would ensure the participating students would be provided with a unique opportunity to succeed and excel in the mathematics and science learning areas.

Rio Tinto Rail Operations Mainlines Superintendent Michael Flenady said Rio Tinto’s partnership with the Foundation, and its support of the Centre of Excellence, highlighted its commitment to the education of students in the Pilbara.

“It is integral we support the continued development of young indigenous people to ensure they are provided with higher education and professional career opportunities,” Mr Flenady said.

“This year we have a fantastic group of students enrolled in the program,” Ms Reimers said. “The students are taking part in an EngQuest project where they have been given the task of researching, designing and creating a pull-along toy for a child. Once finished, we are planning on travelling to South Hedland and compete with the students of the Hedland Maths and Science Centre.”

“I am hoping to get the students out of the centre as much as I can so that they can experience working in a science lab, and see how we use science and engineering in the real world outside of the classroom.”


Wickham Maths and Science Centre of Excellence co-ordinator Melissa Reimers M: 0412 292 224