High school num­bers swell

Pilbara News - - News - Alicia Per­era

The pop­u­la­tion of Kar­ratha Se­nior High School has soared past 1000 stu­dents, mak­ing it the sec­ond­biggest pub­lic high school in re­gional WA.

Most other lo­cal schools also recorded ei­ther grow­ing or steady num­bers.

De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion se­mes­ter one en­rol­ment fig­ures re­leased last week show the Kar­ratha high school now has a record 1040 stu­dents, an in­crease of about 60 on the same time last year.

Only Al­bany Se­nior High School has a big­ger re­gional stu­dent body, with 1100 stu­dents.

The school was last year the fourth-biggest re­gion­ally, and with 983 stu­dents at the time was close to en­rol­ment num­bers at Kal­go­or­lie-Boul­der Com­mu­nity High School and Esper­ance Se­nior High School.

Kar­ratha Se­nior High School board chair­man John Lally said the school’s con­sis­tent growth in stu­dent num­bers showed a change in lo­cal de­mo­graph­ics, with more peo­ple mov­ing to the wider Kar­ratha area as res­i­dents with their fam­i­lies in­stead of be­ing tran­sient fly-in, fly-out work­ers.

“In 2011, there were less than 500 stu­dents, and now there’s just un­der 1200,” he said.

“What’s be­hind it is that now buy­ing hous­ing and renting hous­ing is af­ford­able.

“Fam­i­lies are buy­ing houses as owner-oc­cu­piers, whereas pre­vi­ously over 70 per cent of all houses in Kar­ratha were owned by ab­sen­tee land­lords.”

KSHS prin­ci­pal Jen­nifer McMa­hon said the growth re­flected the qual­ity of ed­u­ca­tion and lead­er­ship at the school and com­mu­nity recog­ni­tion of its achieve­ments.

She said the cam­pus had orig­i­nally been built for 1027 stu­dents and some ar­eas had since been mod­i­fied to in­crease space for stu­dents.

De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion num­bers for other City of Kar­ratha pub­lic schools showed en­rol­ments at Bayn­ton West Pri­mary School con­tin­ued to rise as it took on an­other 60 chil­dren, tak­ing num­bers to 628.

Tam­brey Pri­mary in­creased by about 40 stu­dents, Wick­ham Pri­mary shot back up to 259 and Roe­bourne Dis­trict High School had an ex­tra 30 chil­dren en­rol this year.

Catholic Ed­u­ca­tion WA data put St Luke’s Col­lege en­rol­ments at 373 stu­dents and St Paul’s Pri­mary at 424. Stu­dents num­bers at other schools in the City and Shire of Ash­bur­ton were all steady on re­cent years.

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