Picking alternative schools
Council approves unique ‘democratic’ school for M’bah
TWELVE primary school students will be learning about the world in a new school in Murwillumbah, following Tweed Shire Council’s approval of a new educational facility.
Tweed Shire Council on Thursday supported an application, 6–1, to turn the current tutorial centre on King St, Murwillumbah, into a new primary school, referred to as The Small School in the application.
The Small School director Carla Wilson told Tweed
Daily News the school would be a welcome addition to the community, with many parents looking to alternative methods of teaching.
“The number of home-schooling kids in NSW in the last few years has doubled,” Ms Wilson said.
“The Tweed Richmond area is one of the highest areas where home-schooling has increased. There are a lot of parents saying that their children are dissatisfied or not happy at school.
“We’re hoping to offer an education alternative that’s based on child-centred learning and democratic education.
“Children will have some say in what they learn and they will have some say in how they spend their day in a non-competitive environment.”
Ms Wilson said the school would be the first of its kind in the state.
While the council did share its concerns about potential parking problems, Ms Wilson said the board was making plans to ensure there would be adequate parking.
“The original DA was for 36 students but given the concerns over car parking, we amended the DA to 12 students for the first year to rely on the existing consent,” Ms Wilson said.
“We’ve purchased an additional block for overflow car parking but because it’s on a separate land title, we couldn’t use it for this DA purpose.”
But councillor Pryce Allsop, who voted against the application, said he still held reservations about the impact on surrounding businesses if parking was being used by parents and school visitors.
“While I’m in favour of schools, I’m not in favour of a school being placed in areas with business,” Cr Allsop said.
“I’ve spoken with a couple of the business owners in that area and they’re not excited by any means that they’ll lose a couple of spaces.
“If they have 10 to 15 cars pull up in a short period of time, that is a lot of income they’ll lose over a period of time (if there’s no parking).”