Burst­ing at the seams

Midland Reporter - - Front Page - Sarah Brookes

WOODBRIDGE Pri­mary School par­ents say their chil­dren’s play­ground is be­ing gob­bled up by trans­portable class­rooms as the Ed­u­ca­tion De­part­ment scram­bles to deal with in­creas­ing stu­dent num­bers.

P&C pres­i­dent Mau­reen Charles said a rapidly grow­ing pop­u­la­tion in new hous­ing sub­di­vi­sions was putting the school un­der in­creas­ing pres­sure.

“With no ap­par­ent longterm plan to deal with the ris­ing num­ber of stu­dents, the lim­ited play area at Woodbridge seems des­tined to be gob­bled up by nine de­mount­able class­rooms un­less the Ed­u­ca­tion De­part­ment comes up with an al­ter­na­tive,” she said.

“Woodbridge Pri­mary cur­rently has 405 stu­dents on a 2.4 hectare site, far less than the stan­dard 4ha re­quired for a school.

“In 2015, when Premier Mark McGowan vis­ited the school as Op­po­si­tion Leader, he said the de­part­ment’s plan to ac­com­mo­date stu­dents in tem­po­rary build­ings was ‘un­ac­cept­able’. He ap­pears to have changed his mind.”

School board chair­woman Danielle McAuliffe called for a re­al­is­tic plan of ac­tion to man­age the in­creas­ing stu­dent pop­u­la­tion in the Woodbridge and Guild­ford in­take areas, in­clud­ing re­mov­ing the op­tional in­take area north of the rail­way line, in­clud­ing Viveash.

“There is cur­rently an ini­tia­tive be­tween Guild­ford and Woodbridge pri­mary schools in which over­flow stu­dents from the Guild­ford Pri­mary in­take area of South Guild­ford come to Woodbridge. Since Guild­ford Pri­mary School is a her­itage listed site, they can­not ex­pand their class­room area for more stu­dents,” she said.

An Ed­u­ca­tion De­part­ment spokesper­son said while nine spa­ces had been iden­ti­fied as suit­able for trans­portable class­rooms if re­quired in fu­ture, there were no plans to in­stall this many at the school.

“Woodbridge Pri­mary School cur­rently has ca­pac­ity to ac­com­mo­date stu­dents en­ti­tled to en­rol at the school,” the spokesper­son said.

“As a re­sult of in­creased pop­u­la­tion from new hous­ing de­vel­op­ments and chang­ing de­mo­graph­ics in the Midland area, the De­part­ment is in­ves­ti­gat­ing strate­gies to al­le­vi­ate grow­ing en­rol­ment pres­sure at Woodbridge and Guild­ford pri­mary schools.

“This in­cludes ad­di­tional fa­cil­i­ties such as trans­portable class­rooms, man­age­ment of en­rol­ments from out­side of lo­cal in­take areas and ad­just­ments to the lo­cal in­take areas.”

The spokesper­son said the former Midland Pri­mary School, which cur­rently houses the Midland Learn­ing Academy, could be con­sid­ered for re­open­ing.

A pe­ti­tion op­pos­ing the de­mount­able class­rooms will be pre­sented to State Par­lia­ment’s Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil this month by Op­po­si­tion ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing spokes­woman Donna Faragher.

Pic­ture: David Baylis d485400

Woodbridge Pri­mary School P&C pres­i­dent Mau­reen Charles and school board chair­woman Danielle McAuliffe with con­cerned par­ents and stu­dents.

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