School num­bers defy gloom

Pilbara News - - News - Ali­cia Perera ■

The min­ing boom may have waned, but school en­rol­ments in the City of Kar­ratha tell a dif­fer­ent story.

Though of­fi­cial fig­ures are not out yet, most schools in the area have so far re­ported in­creased or steady stu­dent num­bers this year, in­di­cat­ing that for all the peo­ple leav­ing town, many are stay­ing on.

Kar­ratha Se­nior High School re­ported the big­gest in­crease. Last month, en­rol­ments were up from 950 in 2015 to 1100 this year, a rise of more than 15 per cent.

If the fig­ures stay steady, they will make it one of the largest high schools in re­gional WA.

Bayn­ton West Pri­mary School also re­ported a big jump in num­bers, gain­ing about 60 new en­rol­ments this year.

Prin­ci­pal Lisa Ledger said al­though it was not un­usual for num­bers to rise ev­ery year in a new school in a new sub­urb, this was a par­tic­u­larly steep in­crease.

“We’re the big­gest we’ve ever been,” she said.

“I think that there’s a tran­si­tion from FIFO to res­i­den­tial liv­ing, and that’s re­ally great.

“Peo­ple some­times come up and get a feel for the place, and then just de­cide they re­ally love it.”

Kar­ratha, St Paul’s, Millars Well, Dampier and Wick­ham pri­mary schools and Roe­bourne District High School all re­ported slight in­creases or steady en­rol­ment fig­ures.

Pri­vate high school St Luke’s Col­lege had a slight de­crease, which prin­ci­pal Alanna Ot­way said was a re­sponse to the town’s eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion.

Pil­bara MLA Bren­don Grylls said he was pleased the ini­tial fig­ures showed the Pil­bara’s pop­ula- tion was be­com­ing more res­i­den­tial, es­pe­cially for young fam­i­lies.

“I think it shows the vi­sion we had for Pil­bara Cities, to make the cities live­able, which had never been done be­fore,” he said.

“I al­ways say that school fig­ures are one of the best ways to mea­sure pop­u­la­tion growth, be­cause it’s real. It’s real time when kids go back to school at the start of a new year.

“I hope it’s send­ing a good mes­sage to small busi­nesses that there is some hope out there.”

Of­fi­cial Depart­ment of Education en­rol­ment fig­ures come out later this month.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.