Schools feel the pres­sure as stu­dent num­bers swell

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Ali­cia Perera

Boom­ing en­rol­ments at the City of Kar­ratha’s big­gest pri­mary and sec­ondary schools are putting grow­ing pres­sure on fa­cil­i­ties.

In the past few months, Bayn­ton West Pri­mary School and Kar­ratha Se­nior High School have sep­a­rately ap­pealed to the State Gov­ern­ment for more fa­cil­i­ties to ac­com­mo­date their con­sis­tently ris­ing stu­dent num­bers.

With about 750 stu­dents, Bayn­ton West has been grow­ing each year since it opened only 41⁄2 years ago with a stu­dent pop­u­la­tion of 341, prompt­ing school board mem­bers to meet with Min­is­ter for Ed­u­ca­tion Sue Ellery in Perth last week to dis­cuss op­tions for ac­com­mo­dat­ing them.

Kar­ratha Se­nior High School has also re­ceived ap­proval for more de­mount­able class­rooms from the Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment af­ter this year be­com­ing the sec­ond-largest public sec­ondary school in re­gional WA, ex­ceed­ing the 1000-stu­dent ca­pac­ity its cam­pus was built for.

It comes in the wake of 2016 Cen­sus fig­ures which show more fam­i­lies are call­ing the Pil­bara home.

Bayn­ton West school board

chair­woman Bec Smith said the “un­prece­dented” rate of growth at their school had al­ready led to 14 de­mount­able class­rooms be­ing in­stalled on cam­pus — eight more than orig­i­nally planned for.

“If en­rol­ment num­bers con­tinue to rise at the cur­rent rate, the en­rol­ment pres­sure on Bayn­ton West Pri­mary School will echo the en­rol­ment pres­sure on lo­cal schools back in 2010 which be­came the cat­a­lyst for the de­vel­op­ment of (our school) in the first place,” she said.

“The cur­rent is­sues that the school is fac­ing . . . (in­clude) in­creased class sizes, dis­rup­tion to stu­dents from the fre­quent ad­di­tion of de­mount­able class­rooms . . lim­ited green space for play, and of­fice space for our teach­ers.”

Ms Smith said so­lu­tions would be dis­cussed when Ms Ellery vis­ited the school on Au­gust 4.

Kar­ratha Se­nior High School is due to re­ceive more de­mount­able build­ings from early next year.

Kar­ratha Se­nior High School board chair­man John Lally, who is also the City of Kar­ratha deputy mayor, said ris­ing en­rol­ments re­flected a de­mo­graphic change to­wards more fam­i­lies in town which was ex­pected to con­tinue.

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